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Korea remains top destination for U.S. beef

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“Korea remains a very competitive and favorable market for U.S. beef,” according to Jihea Yang, U.S. Meat Export Federation – Korea director. United States red meat exporters see Korea heavily import beef, while its domestic production remains slow to steady.

“From January to August, the U.S. exported 164,000 metric tonnes (of beef), up eight-percent, and $1.2 billion worth, up 10-percent, making Korea the second largest export market,” Yang said. “U.S. beef recorded 52-percent market share, while Australian beef took 41-percent. Chilled beef exports continued to grow. The share in the chilled beef market is higher, at 62-percent.”

Yang identifies a couple factors contributing to increased shipments of U.S. beef to Korea.

“One factor affording U.S. beef exports to Korea is growth of home meal replacement products,” Yang said. “This market is mainly driven by demand for convenience and high quality food, cooked at home. More home meal replacement products are available, (which) are being marketed in major retail, as well as online and in the delivery sector,” Yang said.

“Such meals present a unique opportunity for United States beef,” according to Yang, who relays the home meal replacement products offer high value cuts at a better price. 

eCommerce is also meeting consumer demand for added convenience.

“eCommerce is expanding by adopting the only morning delivery. When a customer places a purchase order by midnight, the products are delivered no later than 6 a.m.,” Yang said. “This changes the structure of fresh food sales, and was possible with improved distribution and packaging.”

USMEF sees United States beef, particularly chilled beef, capitalizing on this opportunity. U.S. chilled tomahawk steaks, for example, are now offered as a signature item through China’s largest eCommerce platform.