Many of the participating suppliers featured sample products that were introduced for the first time in the Korean market. USMEF provided display space and the equipment needed for sample tasting demonstrations. Interpreters allowed suppliers to meet one-on-one with prospective buyers interested in their products. For suppliers visiting Korea for the first time, USMEF held a pre-meeting the day before the showcase that included a market briefing and retail tour.
“The timing of this showcase could not have been better,” said Jihae Yang, USMEF-Korea director. “Suppliers are excited about the new range of opportunities the Korea-U.S. FTA affords them, and the interest in processed products among Korean buyers is really remarkable.”
Feedback from participating suppliers showed a high level of satisfaction with the event, with many indicating that they had secured promising trade leads. They were especially complimentary of the well-targeted slate of buyers USMEF invited, allowing for a very effective use of time and resources.
“The format of this event and the quality of attendees were very impressive,” said Rick Lowry, vice president of sales and marketing for Jones Dairy Farm. “We are pleased with the results of this showcase, and excited to see similar events held in the future.”
Buyers were also pleased with the quality of the showcase.
““Meeting with several exporters in one venue is very beneficial for our company,” said Seung Chul Kim, purchasing manager for Shinsegye Food System, one of Korea’s largest importers of processed pork products. “This event provided the kind of ‘one-stop service’ that is hard to find in our industry.”
Yang added that enthusiasm for the showcase remained high even after the event ended.
“We have continued to receive contacts and expressions of interest from both buyers and suppliers,” she said. “That’s exactly the kind of feedback we like to see in the days following this type of event.”
While year-over-year pork exports to Korea are sharply lower in 2012, this is a function of last year’s record-high demand for imported pork as Korea recovered from a major foot-and-mouth disease outbreak. January-October totals (including both muscle cuts and variety meat) are well below last year (119,786 metric tons, -26 percent, valued at $340 million, -19 percent) but still far exceed the pace of exports to Korea in 2010.