The five members returned Stateside with a “clearer vision on how to elevate US pork as the global protein of choice”, according to the National Pork Board.
The five National Pork Board members toured Japan and China from 5 to 16 September, visiting pork processors, distributors, retailers as well as importers and key regional traders. Several Asia-based workers from the US Meat Export Federation also linked up with National Pork Board staff.
“Pork is the number one most-consumed protein in the world, and that was certainly obvious as we toured parts of Japan and China,” said National Pork Board CEO Bill Even.
“It is important for us to see first-hand how pork is raised, processed and promoted in Asia. The Asian customer and consumer culture is unique, and we need to understand the global motivation to purchase US pork.”
The US has been riding a wave of record-breaking pork production this year, with China and Japan representing its second and third most important markets, by volume. Collectively, China, Hong Kong and Japan spent $1.6bn on US pork in the seven months to July 2017.
“China is a huge market in terms of volume and opportunity,” noted Pork Board vice-president Steve Rommereim, a producer from South Dakota.
“While China is 98% self-sufficient in pork production, we need to further our outreach efforts here. The economic growth and infrastructure development we saw in China is intimidating, to say the least. This level of growth points to a greater dependence on foreign market imports, with price a key buying criterion.”