Three National Pork Board officers and two members of the senior leadership team have returned from an Asian trade mission centered around elevating U.S. pork as the global protein of choice. The team representing the Pork Checkoff toured Japan and China from Sept. 5–16, visiting with pork processors, distributors and retailers, as well as importers and traders.
“Pork is the No. 1 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 firsthand 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 U.S. pork.”
The U.S. is facing record-breaking pork production in 2017. The Pork Checkoff is committed to grow demand, not only in the U.S., but also among top customers in Asia. In terms of pork volume (pounds), China/Hong Kong and Japan are currently the No. 2 and 3 export customers of the U.S. Combined volume in these areas is 534,953 metric tons (or about 1.18 billion pounds). In terms of pork value (U.S. dollars), Japan is No. 1 and China/Hong Kong is No. 3, with a combined value of nearly $1.6 billion of exports, both according to the most recent (through July) USMEF data.
“Marketing pork comes down to building long-term relationships and having a safe, dependable, high-quality product that is presented well to the buyer,” said Pork Board President Terry O’Neel, a producer from Friend, Nebraska. “Consumers are encouraged to experience U.S. pork through fun events and social activities.”