Providing a close look at industry efforts to build demand for U.S. pork in key Asian markets, USMEF helped connect a National Pork Board (NPB) trade team with importers, distributors, processors and retailers in Japan and China. The NPB trade mission, which included attendance at USMEF’s 40th anniversary celebration in Japan and the China Swine Industry Summit, was an opportunity for pork industry leaders to see how U.S. pork is promoted to consumers and to suppliers serving the retail and foodservice sectors.
USMEF President Dan Halstrom joined the NPB team for a tour of AEON, a major Japanese retailer, as it was conducting a U.S. chilled pork promotion that featured materials introducing Gochipo, the mascot and centerpiece of a marketing campaign extolling the virtues of high-quality U.S. pork.
Another key stop was at Starzen International, a major importer, distributor and further processor of U.S. pork.
“The team received a thorough explanation of the Japanese market that focused not only on the opportunities for U.S. pork in Japan, but also the efforts of key competitors to the U.S. pork industry, such as Mexico and Europe, as well as Japan’s own domestic pork industry,” explained Halstrom. “We were able to show our pork industry leaders how USMEF approaches the Japanese market and how we maximize value opportunities. We were also able to provide insight into the challenges that lie ahead for U.S. pork in this critically important market.”
In China, USMEF Senior Vice President for the Asia Pacific Joel Haggard and Ming Liang, USMEF marketing manager in China, accompanied the NPB team on retail visits and to meetings with Chinese traders and distributors. The team also toured cold storage facilities, a pork processing plant and received a briefing at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.
The Swine Industry Summit included participation by Haggard, along with presentations by NPB President Terry O’Neel and NPB CEO Bill Even.