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Beyond Hams – Broadening the Range of U.S. Pork Cuts Bound for Mexico

Published: Jan 23, 2023
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You may download the audio file here

U.S. pork exports to Mexico reached new heights in 2022. Through November, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), shipments to Mexico were up 9% from a year ago and nearly matched the full-year record achieved in 2021. Export value has already set an annual record at $1.84 billion, up 20% year-over-year. In both October and November, exports topped $200 million in value.

While hams make up a large portion of these record-breaking shipments, support from the National Pork Board and the USDA Market Access Program is helping create opportunities for other cuts such as jowls and loins. Gerardo Rodriguez, USMEF marketing director in Mexico, discusses a recent project that developed a chicharrón – a very popular food item in Mexico – made from pork jowls. During a six-month period, a large importer estimated its sales of these chicharróns equated to one metric ton – about 2,200 pounds – of pork jowls per hour.

The pork loin is also a key export item, and Rodriguez adds that a successful series of seminars promoting U.S. loins has been expanded to additional cities in Mexico. The seminars began in Tijuana and Ensenada, expanded to Cancún and Mexico City, and seminars are now being planned for Monterrey. These sessions showcase loin recipes specific to each region and feature activities such as cooking demonstrations and wine pairings.