The team’s visit, which was supported by the Pork Checkoff and the USDA Market Access Program (MAP), included plant tours at Indiana Packers Corporation, Pine Ridge Farms, Cargill Meat Solutions, JBS USA, Tyson Foods and Smithfield Foods, highlighting each company’s chilled pork production facilities. A number of retail stores on the itinerary demonstrated U.S. chilled pork packaging and merchandising practices.
Following the tour, Meat Journal published an 8-page article in its November issue titled, “U.S. chilled pork to start a new era of brand sales.” The article noted that most Korean consumers are currently unfamiliar with U.S. chilled pork brands. But this is about to change, because these large retailers are committed to increasing Korean consumers’ perception and awareness of U.S. chilled pork.
The article details the U.S. pork industry’s commitment to swine welfare and pork quality assurance programs that are well-known in the Korean meat industry. The programs are praised for their positive contribution to the safety, quality and consistency of U.S. pork.
Another key aspect of the Meat Journal article is that it vividly captures the positive experiences of the buyers during their U.S. tour. The buyers made several positive comments on their impressions of the U.S. production system and noted the subtle differences in each company’s production methods and practices.
The buyers tour is part of USMEF-Korea’s concerted effort to expand the presence of U.S. chilled pork, which also includes supplier seminars, retail promotions and high-season (May-August) consumer communications through radio and subway platform advertisements. USMEF-Korea also enlisted the services of Shin Hyo-seob, one of Korea’s best-known celebrity chefs, to help showcase U.S. chilled pork.
Domestic and imported pork inventories are rather high in Korea now,” said Jihae Yang, USMEF-Korea director. “This makes it all the more important that we differentiate U.S. chilled pork by showcasing its unique attributes and the quality dining experience it delivers. The exposure U.S. chilled pork is getting as a result of this buyers tour and Meat Journal article has been very beneficial.”