Dan Halstrom, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) senior vice president for marketing and communications, is in Paris this week for SIAL 2014 – one of the world’s largest food exhibitions. Held every two years, this five-day event attracts about 150,000 participants from more than 100 countries. While the majority of attendees are from the European Union, SIAL also draws a large number of buyers and other food industry professionals from Russia, the Middle East and Asia. USMEF’s participation in SIAL is supported by the USDA Market Access Program.
The U.S. red meat industry is well-represented at SIAL. Exporters supplying beef from non-hormone treated cattle (NHTC) to the European Union are exhibiting, along with several processors approved to export pork to the EU. Halstrom notes that the EU has a high degree of self-sufficiency in pork production, and Russia’s current ban on pork imports from the EU (in place since January, due to African swine fever) has significantly depressed the European pork market – making it an even tougher environment for foreign suppliers. But he says U.S. exporters view the European market from a long-term standpoint, and want to be well-positioned to capitalize when market conditions improve.