The Beef Checkoff Program’s Export Growth Committee met Friday, Feb. 3 at the Cattle Industry Annual Convention in Nashville. The committee’s role is to set priorities for the Beef Operating Committee and provide direction regarding export market development programs funded by the beef checkoff.
After being called to order by co-chairs Hugh Sanburg and Clark Price, the committee was addressed by USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng, who provided an overview of current international market conditions and the export outlook for 2017. Seng’s full remarks are available by clicking on the photo above.
Greg Hanes, USMEF assistant vice president for international marketing and programs, reported on market development activities in the major destinations for U.S. beef, including leading market Japan. Hanes noted that in the pre-BSE era, Japan’s per capita beef consumption was 25 percent above today’s level, so this presents an excellent growth opportunity for U.S. beef. Hanes highlighted USMEF’s efforts to accommodate the needs of Japan’s major importers and distributors, some of whom turned to alternative sources when U.S. beef was in short supply. Hanes also highlighted foodservice promotions that showcase U.S. steaks and other thick cuts of U.S. beef, which are increasingly popular in Japan.
Dan Halstrom, USMEF senior vice president for marketing, addressed the exceptional growth U.S. beef has achieved in South Korea, especially in the retail sector. U.S. beef promotions in supermarkets and other retail outlets helped drive U.S. exports to Korea to a new value record in 2016 of $1.06 billion – more than 20 percent above the previous high. Halstrom also touched on some newer food purchasing trends in Korea – such as online sales, home meal replacement and food trucks – and the growth opportunities these outlets present for U.S. beef.
The committee was also addressed by John Butler, CEO of Beef Marketing Group and a member of the USMEF executive committee. Butler served as co-chair of the working group that developed the Beef Industry Long Range Plan for 2016 through 2020. He gave an update on the aspects of the plan that deal with driving beef export growth, which was identified in the Long Range Plan as the industry’s top priority. Butler said the beef industry is making advancements on most aspects of the Long Range Plan but noted that greater progress is needed on the issue of animal traceability. Full details of the plan are available online.