WASHINGTON – Exports of US muscle cuts of pork and beef during the month of August surged past the volume during the same period last year while exports of variety meats lagged, according to the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Muscle cut volume increases were fueled largely by US shipments to South Korea and Taiwan, where volume rose 3.5% (89,148 tonnes) and value bumped to $611 million.

Shipments of muscle cuts to Canada also showed positive increases in August and new records were established in exports to Indonesia and China.

Pork muscle cut exports in August of more than 180,000 tonnes represented an increase of just 1% with values declining by 11% to $448.7 billion. Due in part to labor shortages in the United States, exports of variety meats decreased for the month compared to a year ago. The combination of beef and beef variety meat exports of 109,752 tonnes for the month was 4.5% lower than the same period a year ago. Export value of $673.8 million was 2% lower than last year, but represented the highest point in 2020 since March.

While the monthly exports of muscle meats showed increases, year-to-date volume lagged last year’s by more than 627,000 tonnes (down 6%) and volume decreased by $4.38 billion, a 9% slip. The record pace of pork continued, up 22% for the year at 1.68 million tonnes in volume and up 20% in value, at $4.45 billion. Pork and pork variety meat export volume was up 17% at 2 million tonnes and a value of $5.13 billion, up 18%.

“Record beef shipments to Korea, Taiwan and China show the kind of rebound US beef can achieve as the foodservice sector gradually recovers and adapts, and we are excited to see demand strengthen further entering the fourth quarter,” said Dan Halstrom, USMEF chief executive officer. “Pork demand is also recovering in some of the regions hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions, and we see continued export growth in countries where domestic production has been impacted by African swine fever. US pork is also making significant gains in Japan, including dramatic growth in ground seasoned pork and strong demand for chilled US pork cuts in the regional retail sector.”