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USMEF plans retail presence expansion in Colombia

Photo courtesy of U.S. Meat Export Federation

Leaders with the U.S. Meat Export Federation are hoping U.S. pork and beef exports to Colombia can bounce back in 2021.

The year 2020 was difficult for U.S. red meat exports to Colombia, where COVID-19 took a major toll on meat demand and consumer spending. U.S. pork exports to Colombia in 2020 totaled 67,000 metric tons valued at $147 million – down about one-third from 2019. Beef export volume also dropped by nearly one-third to 4,553 metric tons, valued at just under $20 million – a 20% drop.

USMEF Colombia representative Don Mason says with demand expected to rebound this year, the organization is looking to expand retail presence of U.S. pork and beef in Colombia.

“Informal markets are going to continue to dominate,” Mason said. “Colombia is a country where way more than 50 percent of the shopping is done in wet markets and the traditional sorts of markets. Some of our importers are looking at ways to tap into that by adding points of sale. Several importers have told me about their willingness to highlight U.S. product. We had to be careful in previous years in Colombia about going head-to-head with Colombian pork producers. These guys are shedding that, and they are a lot more willing to highlight the U.S. product.”

Mason says the retail presence expansion efforts include a new education and training initiative for Colombian butcher shop owners and their employees, funded through the USDA Agricultural Trade Promotion Program, the National Pork Board and the Beef Checkoff Program.

“We are looking to do a butcher shop point of sale consulting project,” Mason said. “We’ll work with new and existing points of sale off our mid-sized importers, give them expert assistance on their technical and marketing processes, improve their product management and transformation, and their marketing and sales efforts.”

For more information, visit usmef.org.

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