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US pork board study highlights export opportunities

The National Pork Board has published new reports on opportunities for diversifying US pork exports to Asia.

9 December 2020, at 8:40am

Two new reports detail how US can become supplier of choice for pork to Vietnam and the Philippines.

As US pork exports continue to break records in 2020, new reports from the National Pork Board demonstrate opportunities that may diversify US pork exports in Vietnam and the Philippines. The reports also show how African swine fever (ASF) outbreaks in Asia have impacted both countries’ pork industries and related supply chains.

The two new pork market assessments were prepared by Gira, a global research firm, with funding from the Pork Checkoff and the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Emerging Markets Programme. They share critical insights on how US pork can position itself for long-term success in the Vietnamese and Philippine markets – two Asian markets with increased demand for pork consumption anticipated in the next decade.

“The annual Pork Checkoff producer survey identified diversification of US pork exports as a top priority,” said Norman Bessac, vice president of international marketing for the Checkoff. “These reports will help exporters position the US pork industry as a supplier of choice in both countries, helping to expand our export options and create even greater value for the more than 60,000 pig farmers here.”

According to Gira’s research, as Vietnam and the Philippines recover from COVID-19 and ASF outbreaks, pork consumption and import demand will increase. This projected increase is counter to other key markets, where pork consumption is expected to shrink by 2030. The predicted growth in these two markets is based on the rise in the middle classes and pork’s popularity in Vietnamese and Filipino cuisines.

 Facts about Vietnam:

  • Pork is the most common protein in Vietnamese cuisine, and as a result, total pork consumption in the country has more than tripled, from 31 pounds to 72 pounds, since 2000.
  • The country’s population will soon reach 100 million, boasting one of the fastest-growing economies in the world – even faster than China.
  • The Vietnamese population is quickly becoming urban, as new jobs are drawing rural residents into cities with higher wages, which will increase demand for pork.
  • In Vietnam, complete recovery to pre-ASF production levels will not be achieved until after 2025, creating an opportunity for imports to help meet demand.

Facts about the Philippines:

  • Pork is prized in the Filipino culture – both for special occasions and as an everyday staple – with consumption at 40 pounds per capita.
  • Rising demand for pork, fuelled by an expanding population and increasing disposable incomes are significant drivers for the future.
  • By 2028, a majority of Filipino residents will be urban. This change will help drive growth for imported pork as urban consumers have higher incomes, consume more meat and are exposed to modern retail.
  • The Filipino pork sector will not fully recover from the ASF outbreak until after 2030, requiring a reliable source of imports to meet domestic demand.

“These reports show how the Checkoff is committed to listening to producer feedback, collecting market insights and implementing programs with the goal of adding value for US pork producers through exports,” said Curtis Meier, a pork producer from Iowa. “Exports are one of the greatest opportunities for our industry’s future success, but it’s also our greatest risk if we rely too heavily on a few international markets.”

According to the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF), exports accounted for nearly 30 percent of US pork production from January to September, with over 20 percent of production exported to just three markets – China, Mexico and Japan.

“This market research and future studies will provide information that may help develop new markets and create stable opportunities to generate value for our product internationally,” said Meier.

These two new reports build on the success of the Pork 2040: China Market Assessment, released in 2019. The China Market Assessment identified ongoing volatility and short-term opportunities in the world’s largest pork market. Intelligence gleaned from these market assessments will help inform key decision-makers as they work to define and develop marketing strategies for US pork in these markets.

The Pork Board has created free marketing toolkits based on these studies, including ideas US pork exporters can use to build the US pork business in Vietnam and the Philippines. The full report is available to download here.