Chilled Beef's Rising Popularity in Asian Market Creates Opportunity to Add Value to US Meat ExportsTue, 11 Apr 2017 11:07:48 CDT
As Australia begins to retain cattle and rebuild their herds on the tail end of a recent drought, the US gains a competitive advantage in the beef export market - especially into Japan.
Growing in popularity across Asia, chilled U.S. beef rather than frozen adds value as it is shipped direct from packing plants to foreign markets in containers kept near the freezing point.
“Any time you freeze something and thaw it, you're breaking down the cells, you have more cooking loss, less water-holding capability,” said Dan Halstrom, Senior Vice President of Marketing for the U.S. Meat Export Federation. “So, the fact that it's chilled, the image is of much higher quality beef. So, a lot of these programs, not all, but a lot of them are centered around bringing in chilled to the Asian market.”
Some cuts like short plates are not popular in the U.S. but readily accepted overseas, even bringing premiums as high as 15 dollars per head.
“One of the cuisines they have are like a thin slice of a marinated short plate on a bed of rice into these bento boxes in Japan. It's a real specialty item that's targeted towards the convenient stores of Japan,” Halstrom said. “Now the convenient stores are not all that big, but they're high-quality, and there's 55 thousand of them in Japan. So, if you add up 55 thousand of them, it's a huge opportunity.”
Convenience stores in Asia have high-quality perishable sections with a freshness focus. In Japan, processors pack items into those quick-shopping stores several times daily.
“So, for the most part these bento boxes are being consumed the same day they're packed - very, very high quality,” Halstrom said. “So once again it's a big contrast to what we think of as convenience stores here.”
Breaking into foreign markets takes patience. After 40 years in Japan, the US Meat Export Federation is just getting to a time when it can reach out directly to consumers, which will drive retail demand.
“To be involved with a consumer, as you know, is very expensive,” Halstrom said. “There's not unlimited funds. But the good news is, the closer you can get to the consumer, the more payback for the industry. The more margin there is for our industry.”
To watch a video featuring Dan Halstrom, Senior Vice President of Marketing for the USMEF discuss factors that add value to and drive the market for US beef exports to Asian counties, click or tap the PLAYBOX below.
Source - Certified Angus Beef
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