Meat demand strong in growing economies

Do societies that have a strong economy tend to purchase more meat? Well, it might not be true in all cases, but take a look at Peru, it seems that there is a clear correlation between a growing economy and a continued demand for beef, pork and poultry.

The country’s gross domestic product grew by nearly seven percent in 2012, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), making it an ideal target for more U.S. meat imports. A robust economy typically translates into increased food demand for protein-rich diets.

But it’s more than a Peruvian desire for meat.

“The U.S. label is well received in Peru,” said Joel Thorsrud, United Soybean Board (USB) Domestic Opportunities target area coordinator and a soybean, corn and wheat farmer from Hillsboro, N.D. “U.S. meat has a very good reputation in South America for being good quality and a safe product.”

It is proudly marketed in restaurants and supermarkets, and many consumers want to buy these U.S. imported products.

Thorsrud, along with fellow USB farmer-leader David Hartke from Illinois and other pork, beef, soybean and corn farmers, recently attended the USMEF Market Expo in Lima, Peru and Panama City, Panama. They met with importers of U.S. meat and learned about USMEF’s meat-marketing efforts that are being funded by various checkoffs, including the soy checkoff.

Meat exports support U.S. animal farmers and soybean farmers alike. Growing exports for U.S. meat also means growing demand for U.S. soy meal to feed those animals.

“The fact is we’re all working together,” said Thorsrud. “Industry leaders in corn, soybeans, pork and beef are collaborating to make a difference, which is moving product and creating extra demand for all our commodities.”

With its growing economy, Peru has been a consistent customer of U.S. beef for the last several years. In 2012, the country imported nearly 12.9 metric tons, valued at $29.7 million, according to USMEF. South Americans also enjoy offal and other underutilized cuts such as beef tripe, heart and knuckle.

Peruvians are huge poultry consumers. U.S. pork is relatively new to the country, but Thorsrud said the people just need time to become more familiar with the product.

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