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Chef Competition Showcases U.S. Pork Quality in Vietnam

Published: Oct 04, 2023

In Vietnam’s price-sensitive market, the U.S. pork industry is working to differentiate U.S. pork as top quality with the trade and consumers.

Already the preferred meat in Vietnam with annual per capita consumption near 60 pounds, pork consumption is projected to grow 3.1% per year through 2030, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Strong pork demand, combined with domestic production challenges following the discovery of African swine fever in 2019, are factors behind the U.S. pork industry’s interest in this developing market. U.S. pork exports to Vietnam are up sharply this year. The U.S. shipped 2,666 metric tons mt of pork and pork variety meat to Vietnam through July, nearly one-third more than the same period a year ago. 

Eight finalists competed in a livestreaming competition to select the ultimate “Porkstar” in the second annual chef’s competition in Vietnam.
Three culinary experts judged the Porkstars chef competition, which was supported by the Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn Marketing Council.

U.S. pork has achieved gains despite a competitive disadvantage, as many countries enjoy more favorable tariff status. Russia, which has been a leading supplier of pork into Vietnam, enjoys zero duty access to the country while Canadian and European pork enter Vietnam at reduced duty rates.

"We have work ahead of us as Vietnam is price-sensitive and consumers typically think of imported pork as lower quality. We are working to differentiate U.S. pork and its quality through chefs and other influencers on social media," " says Le Van Anh Tu, USMEF Vietnam representative.

A centerpiece of this diffentiation campaign is the Porkstars chef competition, which returned for a second season in Vietnam.

More than 100 Vietnamese chefs submitted original pork recipes for the competition. The top 20 chefs recorded videos of their creations, which were featured on USMEF social media. Public feedback, with input from culinary experts, whittled those entries down to eight finalists who competed in a livestreaming competition to determine the ultimate “Porkstar.” See video.

Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn Marketing Council provided funding support for the competition while several representatives attended the event and ensuing trade reception in Ho Chi Minh City.