A team from Pork Checkoff toured Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Macau, meeting with pork processors, distributors and retailers, importers and traders, as well as in-country staff responsible for promoting US pork in the region.
Pork Checkoff is an organisation that promotes, educates and conducts research into US pork. The organisation is committed to growing pork demand both domestically and in international markets.
It said that Singapore and Vietnam were developing markets for US pork and presented huge opportunities for export growth. In 2017, US pork exports to Singapore increased almost 20% from 2016, reaching $17 million (m). Last year, the US also exported over $11m of fresh/chilled/frozen bone-in hams and shoulders to Vietnam.
“Pork is the No. 1 most-consumed protein in the world, and that was obvious on this mission,” said Bill Luckey, a pork producer from Columbus, Nebraska, and chair of the Pork Checkoff’s International Marketing Committee.
“As the committee allocates Pork Checkoff dollars to international marketing, it is important to see how these dollars are working today and how we might better target producer resources in emerging markets in the future.”
Meanwhile, Craig Morris, Pork Checkoff’s vice president of international marketing, said that consumers in Vietnam and Singapore were rapidly increasing pork in their diets with its consumption set to overtake seafood consumption in both markets
He said: “This provides a great opportunity to capture a rapidly increasing market share, but we must first understand the changing consumer and retail landscapes in these countries to meet consumer needs and expectations.”
While in Singapore, the committee said it learned that US pork was positioned as a premium product, with the high-end product selling for three to five times more than the price of competitors’ products.
“US pork can succeed in Singapore by delivering a high-quality product, packaged in small portions and in convenient, ready-to-cook formats,” Morris said.
In Vietnam, the committee said US pork was also being marketed as a superior product in terms of taste and quality. It was also heavily featured in restaurants throughout Vietnam.
Morris said: “We met with 40 of the largest importers who play a key role in deciding what will be sold in retail stores, featured on restaurant menus and traded with other countries in south-east Asia.”
Luckey called the Asian trade mission a great success.
“Not only were we able to see the many different ways that pork is being promoted in these countries, but we came back with insights into how to grow our market share,” he said.