U.S. Red Meat Exports Continue To Increase In 2006

US - The year-end numbers for U.S. meat exports for 2006 don’t lie – they show continued record breaking in U.S. pork export volume for the 15th year, rebounding U.S. beef exports and increasing totals of U.S. lamb exports.
calendar icon 21 February 2007
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The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) reports U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports to countries around the world totaled 1.26 million metric tons (mt), a 9 percent increase over the previous year. Value also increased 9 percent in 2006, reaching more than $2.86 billion.

Although a great deal of attention was focused on resumption of U.S. beef trade in Japan, it remained the No. 1 market in value for U.S. pork and pork variety meat with a value of $1.04 billion. Although value dipped 4 percent from 2005, Japan was the only market to exceed $1 billion in U.S. pork sales in 2006.

USMEF activities included cooking events to inform consumers and chef on the best ways to cook U.S. pork cuts, in addition to seasonal recipes tailored to holiday events and traditions in Japan. “Consumer response to the taste, tenderness and texture of U.S. pork at USMEF activities has been extremely positive,” USMEF Japan Director Greg Hanes said.

Mexico led all markets in volume of U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports at 356,418 mt, a 7 percent increase over 2005. USMEF encourages U.S. pork purchases through retail promotions, cooking classes, appealing retail marketing and education on U.S. pork’s role in overall health.

“We have had success with events that cultivate future customers of U.S. pork while imparting important information about quality meat as part of a healthy diet, particularly for young, growing children,” said Chad Russell, USMEF regional director of Mexico and the Dominican Republic. “Not only are we increasing U.S. pork exports, but we are also helping create sustained growth from an increased focus on health and diet.”

Other areas that showed growth in 2006 include South Korea, Russia and the Caribbean. Meat prices in South Korea are at an all-time high, so USMEF showed consumers how the taste and quality of U.S. pork is similar to domestic pork, but at a lower price. U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports to this market in 2006 increased 52 percent in volume to 109,198 mt and 50 percent in value to $232.1 million compared to 2005.

“A favorable price has encouraged more consumers to try U.S. chilled pork, but once they try it, they purchase it again because of its good flavor and high quality,” said Jihae Yang, USMEF Korea director.

For a breakdown of export statistics by market, see U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports for 2006 on the USMEF Web site.

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