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South Korea helping fuel record US beef export pace

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF)

U.S. beef exports are on a record pace in 2021, reaching $5.58 billion through July. The U.S. Meat Export Federation says South Korea is this year’s leading value market at $1.29 billion, up nearly 30% from a year ago and likely to top $2 billion for the first time in a single year.

USMEF Weekly Audio Report: President & CEO Dan Halstrom

In remarks to beef industry leaders at the recent Cattle Industry Annual Convention, USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom highlighted U.S. beef’s success in Korea’s rapidly growing e-commerce sector. He notes that Korean consumers were already purchasing high-quality U.S. beef online prior to COVID-19, but the pandemic has accelerated sales through existing e-commerce platforms and many new vendors are featuring U.S. beef.

“Korea is booming at the seams with these platforms,” said Halstrom. “Most of them have 24-hour delivery capabilities anywhere in Seoul. In fact, there is one platform that recently rolled out where you can deliver anywhere within one-hour in Seoul, Korea. Anybody familiar with the traffic in Seoul knows that something as simple as going around the block could take 20 minutes at rush hour. With warehouses around the city, and a fleet literally of hundreds of motor scooters to weave in and out of traffic, they are able to guarantee less than an hour – and in a lot of cases less than 30 minutes – delivery of your US beef products.”

Halstrom added that through support from the Beef Checkoff Program, Korean consumers are better educated about the safety of U.S. beef. Consumer confidence was very low when the Korea market reopened following BSE, but a recent survey showed that more than 65% of respondents are now confident in the safety of U.S. beef.

A detailed summary of the latest red meat exports results is available from the USMEF website.