While China has been a booming market for U.S. pork exports this year – up 336 percent over 2010 – much of that product has been anonymously consumed through the processing and catering sectors. A new US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) promotion with Walmart in Beijing is aiming to boost the recognition of U.S. pork in the largest pork-consuming nation on earth.
Illinois Corn Marketing Board invests Illinois corn checkoff dollars with the USMEF to help advance meat exports. The livestock market is a vital customer of corn in this country. Helping to create strong export demand for pork is good for U.S. pork farmers and in turn, Illinois corn farmers.
A Walmart store in southwest Beijing is working with USMEF on a trial promotion that prominently features U.S. pork in a stand-alone island display to help to entice consumer trial and purchase. The cuts are fabricated on-site from defrosted U.S. carcasses. While management at the store, one of the chain’s 12 in the capital, said it will evaluate sales in the coming week to determine whether to expand the promotion to other outlets, early feedback indicates solid consumer receptivity.
USMEF has been actively cultivating new U.S. pork users in China this year. Earlier this month, USMEF lead a mission of Chinese meat processors to the United States. In November, USMEF will host a team of chain restaurant chefs to view U.S. concepts. USMEF also will participate in two trade shows next month, and continues to promote U.S. pork at a number of restaurant chains.
“The rapid growth and evolution of the Chinese economy is creating new opportunities to build consumer recognition for U.S. pork,” said Joel Haggard, senior vice president for USMEF Asia-Pacific. “The surge in building of mega-stores, like Walmart, provides a cost-effective channel for reaching a broad swath of the growing Chinese middle class, so it is critical that we continue to cultivate those relationships.”