Audio: Record Pork Exports to South America Driven by Tremendous Growth in Colombia, Peru

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2018 was a record year for U.S. pork exports to South America, driven in large part by strong increases in pork muscle cut shipments to Colombia and Peru, which increased about 40 percent year-over-year.

Even with December data still to be reported, U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports to South America already exceeded the previous highs set in 2017, with volume increasing 24 percent to 120,059 metric tons (mt) and value up 17 percent to $292.3 million. For pork muscle cuts only, exports to Colombia were up 39 percent to just over 83,000 mt, while the volume shipped to Peru climbed 40 percent to 5,240 mt.

Jessica Julca, USMEF South America representative, explains that U.S. pork’s popularity with Colombian processors is the main factor behind the United States being Colombia’s leading pork supplier, but U.S. pork is also making strides in Colombia’s retail and foodservice sectors.

In Peru, USMEF has worked with the domestic industry to help overcome negative perceptions about pork, leading to gains in pork consumption. Improvements in cold storage and distribution facilities have also made consumers outside the Lima metropolitan area more accessible, and U.S. pork is capitalizing on these opportunities.

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The U.S. Meat Export Federation ( is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry. It is funded by USDA; the beef, pork, lamb, corn and soybean checkoff programs, as well as its members representing nine industry sectors: beef/veal producing & feeding, pork producing & feeding, lamb producing & feeding, packing & processing, purveying & trading, oilseeds producing, feedgrains producing, farm organizations and supply & service organizations.