A recent trade mission hosted by the U.S. Meat Export Federation to Asia focused on telling the story for U.S. Producers. USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom says the region is a top market for U.S. beef.
“The Asian markets, Japan and Korea in particular, are our bread and butter on the beef side. (They were our) first and third largest markets last year, and historically, that is usually where they fall. Very important on the pork side as well.”
Having a USMEF trade team of producers abroad to see their checkoff dollars at work, Halstrom says, is just as important as the trade in these markets having the chance to see who is producing these U.S. products.
“We always have huge success bringing the producers themselves into the markets and having them help us tell the story to our very important customers, not only in Japan and Korea but all over the world.”
As for marketing U.S. meat products during the USMEF Trade Mission in Asia, Halstrom said the team utilizes two main strategies.
“One is a short-term strategy, and that is using our producer group to really help tell the story. It is very effective, and in the discussions we had in Korea earlier this week, the first topic was never about price. It was more about, tell me about how the production practices, how does it work, what do you guys do on the farm.”
Halstrom says they have had the opportunity to show these customers short-term options that would be a good replacement for parts of the carcass that will not be as readily available.
“This is another strategy, to show the customers other options that will be short-term answers, but hopefully will turn into long-term options when the cattle supply does improve,” Halstrom said. “We are seeing success in this area for both Korea and Japan.”
Still feeling the impacts of COVID, food service continues to struggle in these Asian markets, Halstrom added, so there is room for growth in that area later on.