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Audio: U.S. Beef Exports to South Korea Continue to Soar

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U.S. beef exports to South Korea set a new monthly value record in June of $178.3 million, pushing first-half exports 15% ahead of last year’s record pace. With a strong second half, exports to Korea could approach $2 billion in 2019.

USMEF Korea Director Jihae Yang (pronounced Jee-hay Yang) says the U.S. beef industry is supplying a wider range of cuts to the Korean market, expanding U.S. beef’s presence in emerging venues such as convenience stores and e-commerce platforms. She notes that since the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) began lowering tariff rates on U.S. beef in 2012, per capita beef consumption in Korea has increased from 22 pounds per year to 27.5 pounds. Yang adds that home meal replacement items are very popular with Korean consumers seeking convenience, and U.S. beef is capitalizing on this rapidly growing opportunity.

A detailed summary of U.S. beef, pork and lamb exports through the first half of the year is available from the USMEF website.

U.S. beef exports to South Korea set a new monthly value record in June of $178.3 million, pushing first-half exports 15% ahead of last year’s record pace. With a strong second half, exports to Korea could approach $2 billion in 2019. USMEF Korea Director Jihae Yang (pronounced Jee-hay Yang) says the U.S. beef industry is supplying a wider range of cuts to the Korean market, expanding U.S. beef’s presence in emerging venues such as convenience stores and e-commerce platforms. She notes that since the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) began lowering tariff rates on U.S. beef in 2012, per capita beef consumption in Korea has increased from 22 pounds per year to 27.5 pounds. Yang adds that home meal replacement items are very popular with Korean consumers seeking convenience, and U.S. beef is capitalizing on this rapidly growing opportunity. A detailed summary of U.S. beef, pork and lamb exports through the first half of the year is available from the USMEF website.

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Transcript

Joe Schuele: U.S. beef exports to Korea set a new monthly value record in June at more than $178 million. For the first half of the year, export value to Korea is 15% ahead of last year’s record pace. In this U.S. Export Federation report, USMEF Korea Director Jihae Yang discusses some of the factors behind this trend:

Jihae Yang: U.S. beef has been successfully established in Korean retail and foodservice markets, but it’s also rapidly gaining popularity in ecommerce sector. So recent export growth is not only in the typical Korean items like short rib or chuckeye roll but in other underutilized cuts like the short plate, brisket point, clod and even the round, because end users recognize the versatility and affordability of high quality U.S. beef and Korea-U.S. FTA accelerate the market demand and beef consumption in Korea. Since KORUS’s implementation in 2012, per-capita consumption of beef has increased by 5.5 pounds.

Joe Schuele:The U.S. beef industry is also capitalizing on Korean consumers desire for convenience:

Jihae Yang: Single households take up more than 30% of total households. For women, labor market participation is about 53%. They don’t have much time to cook at home. Home-meal replacement includes a wide range of products so like a simple steak with vegetables or short plate or brisket-point stir fry so now in Korea the quality of home-meal replacement is almost equivalent to restaurant-food quality — it’s not TV dinner type of quality in Korea. Price point of home-meal replacement is about 40-50% of restaurant menu price. Meal kit for example costs about $10-12 for two people. Local beef cannot meet this price point so U.S. beef is capturing this fast-growing opportunity.

Joe Schuele: For more information, please visit USMEF.org. For the U.S. Meat Export Federation, I’m Joe Schuele.