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U.S. Pork Shines at Fine Food Australia

Published: Sep 21, 2012
USMEF promoted U.S. pork products at Fine Food Australia, the country’s largest food and hospitality trade show, in Melbourne earlier this month. The event attracted more than more than 20,000 visitors from Australia and throughout the Oceania region and 1,000 exhibitors from 38 nations. USMEF’s participation was supported by the Pork Checkoff and the USDA Market Access Program (MAP).

Despite regulatory restrictions that limit U.S. exports to cooked and processed pork products and chilled/frozen pork destined directly for designated cooking facilities, Oceania is a rapidly growing region for U.S. pork. Exports to the region hit an all-time high last year of 70,765 metric tons valued at just under $225 million. In just the past two years, pork export value to the region increased 70 percent.

While exports to Australia are down slightly this year (through July, volume was 1 percent lower at 41,494 metric tons and value was down 6 percent to $142.3 million), it has quickly developed into an excellent growth market for U.S. pork. The first significant year for U.S. pork trade with Australia was 2005, when U.S. exports totaled 20,349 metric tons valued at $54.3 million. By 2011, export volume surged to 59,553 metric tons and value more than tripled to $191.5 million.

U.S. products on display at Fine Food Australia included whole slabs of smoked pork belly bacon, fully-cooked pulled pork in barbecue sauce and roasted boneless pork loin. The USMEF booth was visited by U.S. Ambassador to Australia Jeffrey Bleich, who took great interest in the products displayed and spoke with USMEF member companies about their business prospects in Australia.

“From large retail chains to the small, family-owned processors, our pork products drew strong interest from buyers,” said Sabrina Yin, USMEF-ASEAN director. “Despite the limited range of products eligible for export to Australia, demand for U.S. pork in this region is very high.”

The next Fine Food Australia trade show is set for Sept. 9-12, 2013, in Sydney.

Note: One metric ton = 2,204.622 pounds. Pork export statistics refer to muscle cuts plus variety meat, unless otherwise indicated.