One of this year’s best-performing regions for U.S. pork and beef exports has been Central and South America. Through February, pork exports were up 23 percent in value ($34.8 million) and beef exports had nearly doubled in value ($21.8 million) over the record pace of 2011.
Dan Halstrom, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) senior vice president for marketing and communications, explains that one of the reasons behind this growth is that the region has rapidly matured from being strictly a “commodity” destination into a market that imports higher-quality, valued-added U.S. pork and beef cuts. Halstrom says this is a strong indication that USMEF’s efforts to educate importers, retailers and restaurateurs about the quality and diversity of U.S. red meat have paid dividends in this region.
USMEF held its first major product showcase in the Central and South American region last summer, staging a very successful event in Panama City. Halstrom says a similar showcase is planned for July 2012 in Bogota, Colombia, where he expects a strong turnout of buyers from 10 to 12 different countries in the region.