Consumer demand in China is returning, as a COVID wave eases and residents respond to the government’s elimination of most COVID-related restrictions. This increased activity, paired with economic strength for the Chinese consumer, points to a strong second quarter for red meat demand, according to U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) staff in the region.
USMEF China Director Polly Zhao observes that consumers have returned across a wide range of business sectors, with restaurants seeing increased traffic and growing wait times.
USMEF Senior Vice President for Asia Pacific Joel Haggard notes that Chinese consumers built up savings during the COVID lockdown and they are now ready to spend, which should bode well for pork and beef consumption.
Haggard is retiring later this year and is working closely with USMEF Vice President for Asia Pacific Jihae Yang – USMEF’s longtime Korea director – to develop a new strategy for the China market focused on the evolving needs of the market’s consumers.
In 2022, the U.S. exported 243,500 metric tons (MT) of beef to China at a value of $2.2 billion, setting value and volume records. Pork exports to China last year totaled 534,500 mt, valued at $1.4 billion.