U.S. pork, beef in big demand in the Philippines

by Bryan Salvage
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DENVER – The Philippines is one of the hottest emerging markets for U.S. pork and beef exports. Through June, U.S. pork exports (including variety meat) to the Philippines increased 78% in volume over last year (to 32,620 metric tons or 71.9 million lbs.) and nearly doubled in value to $62 million. Beef exports increased 66% in volume and nearly 50% in value, totaling 4,873 metric tons (10.7 million lbs.) valued at $12.9 million.

To further build demand, the 10th annual World Food Expo 2010 (W.O.F.E.X.) was held there earlier this month. U.S.D.A. Choice beef items displayed at W.O.F.E.X. included tenderloin, top blade muscle, bottom sirloin flap, tri-tip, chuck roll, chuck tender and hanging tender. Prime cuts included ribeye roll and beef ribs. Processed U.S. pork items displayed included smoked brats, hot links, Polish sausages, cooked brats and cheddar smoked sausage.

More than 50,000 visitors from the region attended this event, including approximately 35,000 food-industry representatives. With support from the Pork Checkoff and Beef Checkoff Programs and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market Access Program (M.A.P.), this was the U.S. Meat Export Federation’s (U.S.M.E.F.’s) second time at W.O.F.E.X. — one of 820 exhibitors participating.

“We’re very bullish on the Philippines,” said Joel Haggard, U.S.M.E.F. senior vice president for the Asia Pacific. “There’s a lot of optimism with a new president [Benigno Aquino III, sworn in June 30] who has pledged a new economic track, and confidence in the economy is growing.

“There is a wide profile of meat buyers here – from processors all the way up to high-end steak houses,” he added. “So interest is strong in both U.S. beef and pork. But competition is also becoming more intense in the Philippines, so it’s very important to have a consistent presence at W.O.F.E.X. and maintain strong relationships with buyers and traders.”

U.S.M.E.F.-A.S.E.A.N. also held a training seminar for supermarket staff in Manila, explaining the attributes of U.S. beef and pork and the proper handling and storage of imported meats.
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