ASEAN Buyers Connect with U.S. Red Meat Industry
To connect exporters and importers and create interest in alternative cuts of U.S. beef and pork, USMEF hosted 11 leading meat buyers from the ASEAN region for an educational tour of packing plants in Colorado and Iowa. The team’s visit, which also included a stop at a cow-calf operation and face-to-face meetings with packers and traders, was funded by the USDA Market Access Program (MAP), the Beef Checkoff Program and the Pork Checkoff.
“These buyers are from countries with growing red meat consumption, including Vietnam, Singapore and the Philippines, so we wanted them to have the opportunity to get a better understanding of how meat is produced in America,” said Sabrina Yin, USMEF ASEAN director. “Team members, many of whom were making their first trip to the U.S., met with packers, fabricators and traders to discuss business opportunities and communicate their company’s needs, strategies and current challenges. We were able to give them a look at each step of the process – from production, slaughter, to processing and fabrication of U.S. beef and pork.”
Among the topics highlighted were the availability and value of alternative cuts – those U.S. red meat cuts that are commonly underutilized in the domestic market and have potential for profitability overseas.
“Our hope is that these meat buyers will go back and share this information with their customers and we will see an increase in demand for the alternative cuts,” explained Yin.
Additional information was shared on the team’s visit to USMEF headquarters in Denver, where the buyers heard an update on the U.S. beef and pork industries by USMEF Director of Market Access and Export Services Travis Arp. Jessica Spreitzer, USMEF trade analyst, provided the latest red meat export statistics.
Other stops in Colorado were at Colorado Premium, a meat purveyor based in Greeley, and the Cargill beef processing plant in Fort Morgan. The team also visited the cow-calf operation of Kevin Ochsner in Kersey and the Magnum Feedyards in Wiggins.
In Iowa, stops were made at Iowa Premium in Tama, Pine Ridge Farms in Des Moines and the JBS processing facility in Marshalltown. Team members also learned about the quality of feedgrains at a meeting with Iowa Corn in Johnston and visited retailers in Des Moines to learn about meat case presentation.
To give the ASEAN buyers an opportunity to meet with U.S. exporters, USMEF held a “Meet the Buyers” events in West Des Moines.
Yin noted that USMEF recognizes how trade visits broaden and strengthen the connection between U.S. meat suppliers and meat buyers from around the world.
“We packed a lot of information into the trip, but the buyers were rewarded with a greater knowledge of the U.S. red meat industry that will be of help to their everyday operations back home,” said Yin. “The experience and knowledge will also help each team member assess the products offered by our competitors. The reaction to the trip was that these buyers are looking forward to building a better business relationship with U.S. beef and pork exporters.”
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