Audio: Value and Convenience Drive Strong Demand for U.S. Pork in South Korea

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One of this year’s top performing international markets for U.S. pork is South Korea, where exports (through April) are up 28 percent year-over-year in volume (65,743 metric tons) and up 37 percent in value ($178 million).

Jihae (pronounced JEE-HAY) Yang, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) director in Korea, says the country went through some political turmoil earlier this year with the impeachment of its former president, but consumer confidence and economic activity bounced back quickly. Although Korea’s domestic pork production is steady, it is not keeping pace with consumers’ growing demand for pork.

Yang notes that online shopping is extremely popular with Korean consumers, especially those looking for convenient foods and home meal replacement items. This bodes particularly well for U.S. processed pork, as well as for U.S. raw materials exported to Korea for further processing.


Joe Schuele: One of this year’s top performing markets for U.S. pork is South Korea. In this U.S. Meat Export Federation report, USMEF Korea Director Jihae Yang explains the country’s economy has bounced back quickly from the recent impeachment of its former president and consumer confidence in on an upward trend.

Jihae Yang: The economy is getting better in Korea. After the election we are going back to normal life. So there’s no impact as far as the pork demand or pork consumption. The domestic production is quite steady and for the first quarter of this year it showed a 1 percent increase. And on the demand side, it’s very strong because of the preference for high-protein meals. People like protein-based meals, and the home meal replacement, processed meat and e-commerce are all driving forces behind the strong demand in the Korean market. Joe Schuele: Yang says Koreans’ growing preference for online shopping, especially for convenient foods and home meal replacement items, bode particularly well for U.S. processed pork.

Jihae Yang: Korean people are using more and more online shopping malls. Korea is a small country, so everything is delivered overnight. So many of the retail stores are developing their platforms for e-commerce. It’s a very fast growing sector, so they are threatening the traditional market right now. For the single household and the young generation, looking for the convenient food and the home meal replacement, that’s where we are seeing the benefit, in terms of U.S. processed pork. We do a lot of promotions with the e-commerce platform.

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