Strong supporting role

by Erica Shaffer
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WASHINGTON – Higher volumes of variety meat exports offset lower exports of beef and pork muscle cuts, the US Meat Export Federation reported.

Volumes of meat muscle cuts slipped 2 percent to 76,472 metric tons, although export value jumped 19 percent to $596.5 million, according to USMEF. Variety meat exports for October increased 14 percent in volume to 33,386 mt., while export value surged 39 percent to $90.6 million.

The rise in variety meat demand offset declines in lower volumes of muscle cuts. October exports of beef climbed 2 percent compared to a year ago, while export value reached a record $687.1 million, a 22 percent increase from a year ago, USMEF reported. Beef exports for the month totaled 109,858 mt. Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO said that while the slide in muscle cut volumes is concerning, October results were solid overall.

“Although global demand for beef and pork muscle cuts remains strong, the US industry is facing some headwinds,” Seng said. “Lower slaughter numbers have impacted available supply, and the US dollar continues to strengthen relative to the currencies of a number of our key competitors and import customers. On the pork side, we continue to see large volumes of European product entering Asian markets at lower-than-normal prices. This is likely to continue until the EU’s trade impasse with Russia is resolved.”

Strong variety meat demand also tempered declines in volume of pork muscle cut exports, according to USMEF. Variety meat exports in the pork segment advanced 24 percent in volume to 51,440 mt. and 23 percent in value to $101.9 million compared to a year ago. Export value is on a record pace, USMEF noted, up 13 percent to $5.61 billion.

Pork exports in October slipped 2 percent in volume to 182,363 mt., but still achieved a 5 percent increase value ($567.2 million).

“Strong demand for variety meat is very positive news for the industry because these products contribute significantly to the profitability of US producers and processors,” Seng said. “USMEF has also heightened the focus on alternative muscle cuts in many of our educational workshops and seminars. Familiarizing buyers with these economically priced cuts has been helpful in addressing price and exchange rate concerns.”
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