WASHINGTON- According to the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) opportunities to market and sell beef and pork in convenience stores extend well beyond US borders.

The trade association cited a 2019 retail sales report by Euromonitor focusing on convenience stores, which concluded that per-capita spending on foodservice products at convenience stores increased 14 percent worldwide between 2013 and 2018 and it’s expected to grow another 11 percent by 2023.

USMEF said it plans to use funding from the USDA Market Access Program (MAP), the Beef Checkoff Program and the National Pork Board to promote US beef and pork products. The group hopes to reach various meat consumers in domestic and international markets over the next few years.

“USMEF recognizes the scope of this opportunity and the enormous demand that is driving it,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “As the convenience store sector has taken off in various parts of the world, suppliers realize they need products to help meet the demand for these meat snacks and packaged meals.”

The largest growing market for convenience store purchases is South Korea, which grew 142 percent in per capita convenience store foodservice spending from 2013 to 2018 with another 47 percent increase projected by 2023. Euromonitor’s data also said Japan, Taiwan, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region and Mexico are fast-growing markets. The established convenience store markets of the US and China are also expanding into premium and imported food offerings.

Halstrom said USMEF staff around the world report encouraging developments in this sector, including the fact that convenience stores in many Asian markets not only offer high-quality food but allocate considerable shelf space to beef and pork items such as pre-packaged lunch boxes and beef bowls.

Euromonitor also said that in 2018, average American consumers spent $44.50 on foodservice items at convenience stores, which is fourth in the world. Japanese consumers ranked first with an average of $240.80, followed by Taiwan at $80.70 and Norway at $72. South Korea spent $39.70 last year but is projected to grow to $58.40 by 2023.

If that holds, Korea would move ahead of the 2023 projection for the US of $54.60.

“Obviously there is tremendous potential for US beef and pork in the convenience store sector, but competition is intense, so we must focus our efforts on identifying ways to highlight the advantages of US products,” Halstrom said. “The quality and consistency that US beef and pork deliver in processed products are really what set us apart.”