AMES – The Iowa Beef Industry Council (IBIC) recently participated in an Iowa meat trade mission to Singapore and Malaysia. Iowa beef representatives on the mission included Janine Moore, beef farmer from What Cheer, IA and Chris Freland, executive director of IBIC.
Why Singapore? Singapore is key as the world’s second largest port. Understanding the opportunities for U.S. Beef into the Southeast Asian markets is critical for import as well as re-export opportunities. “Southeast Asia has a growing middle class who are excited to have high quality U.S. beef,” said Moore. Singapore is a small country that relies heavily on imported products as its source for meat products. Moore added, “Not only quality, but the safety of U.S. beef are key drivers for demand of our products in this region.”
The Iowa trade team met with meat processors, government agencies and importers in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The group toured foodservice operations, retail supermarkets, wet markets, meat specialty stores, and processing plants. The most desired cuts for import are high quality steaks, short ribs and shoulder cuts.
Freland’s observations primarily focused on opportunities to grow the global demand for beef for the farmers her organization serves. “Understanding our main competition in this market being Australia is critical to the conversation. What Australia has to offer in regards to quality and price will be key factors. We must find our competitive advantage by continuing to set ourselves apart in the marketplace. Grain-fed, well-marbled and safe beef is that competitive advantage in today’s markets there, from what we could readily identify.”
U.S. Beef was welcomed back to Malaysia during the recent visit. The U.S. Embassy in coordination with U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) hosted an event featuring U.S. beef that is able to meet the halal certification standards required in the predominantly Muslim country.
The Iowa Trade Mission was organized by the International Trade Office of the Iowa Economic Development Authority. The U.S. Meat Export Federation’s in-country team supports Iowa by organizing meat focused appointments and sharing their insight on the markets. Other participants in the mission included members of the Iowa Pork Producers Association and Iowa Corn Promotion Board. Partial funding for the mission was provided by the beef checkoff.