The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Market Expo, a market education program that allows producers and other USMEF members to observe international market development activities for U.S. pork and beef, concluded earlier this month in Tokyo. The delegation also traveled to Shanghai, China.
The Tokyo segment was highlighted by a visit to FoodEx — Asia’s largest food exhibition. FoodEx attracts nearly 3,000 exhibitors from 80 countries, and more than 77,000 attendees over four days. The USMEF delegation came away impressed with the strong presence of U.S. pork and beef at FoodEx and the enthusiastic manner in which U.S. products are received by buyers in attendance.
“Being here at FoodEx really drives home for me of just how badly all of these suppliers want to be in the Japanese market,” said Jennifer Houston, a cattle producer from Sweetwater, Tennessee, who serves as chair of the Federation of State Beef Councils. “Japan is extremely important for them, just as it is for the U.S. meat industry, so the market is intensely competitive. But the buyers I have met with are just thrilled with U.S. beef and interested in purchasing more, which is gratifying to see.”
Her views were echoed by Karen Grant, a pork producer from Meadow Grove, Nebraska, who serves on the Nebraska Pork Producers board of directors.
“One thing I ask all the buyers I meet is, ‘Are we sending the product that you want?’” Grant said. “And every answer has been a very definite ‘Yes.’ They are very pleased with the quality of U.S. pork, and as a producer that makes me very happy.”