Meeting of Minds: Ag Leaders Keep an Eye on Mexico

US - Leaders from the US red meat industry have been visiting Mexican processing plants, food out-letting services and freight forwarders, in order to better understand what makes the industry tick, and how the US meats industry can better integrate itself into that system.
calendar icon 31 March 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

“Mexico is a critical export market for both U.S. beef and pork, and has huge upside growth potential,” said U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Philip M. Seng. “As a result, the export market to Mexico is equally important for U.S. corn and soybean growers who provide the feed to support our livestock.”

Mexico remains the leading destination for U.S. beef and beef variety meat exports, with exports totaling 792.4 million pounds during 2007. The United States supplies more than 80 percent of Mexico’s beef imports. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture projections, the beef market in Mexico is projected to grow a modest 2 percent in 2008, followed by a 15 percent jump in 2009, with imports expanding 91 percent over the next 10 years.

The Iowa Beef Industry Council's Tom Hotz listens to a Gigante meat department manager

Mexico was the second largest destination for U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports in 2007, with exports totaling 609.3 million pounds. Again, the United States dominates Mexico’s pork imports with 87 percent to 90 percent market share, and the market is expected to grow 30 percent over the coming decade.

"USMEF is constantly analyzing where they’re spending money to make sure they’re getting the most bang for our buck,” said Tom Hotz of the Iowa Beef Industry Council. “It’s extremely important to do that analysis to ensure they’re promoting areas that can move more U.S. product – and make us more money. I see a lot of opportunities here (Mexico) for both ends of the spectrum: some high-quality product for the restaurants and some of our underutilized cuts that could be used at retail.”

USMEF promotes U.S. beef and pork exports to Mexico through a variety of programs, including product promotions with Mexico’s leading supermarket and food service companies. In addition, it trains sales force personnel of processors, importers, distributors, and retailers of U.S. red meats in Mexico. It is implementing 56 seminars in Mexico in 2008 to better inform “influencers” (including physicians, nurses, dieticians and nutritionists) about the nutritional benefits of including red meat in a balanced, healthy diet.

USMEF also conducts seminars to better inform culinary students, chefs and distributors about the attributes of U.S. beef and pork to help build demand. It also is developing new commercial relations with potential customers in Mexico’s meat processing and meat boutique segments of the market.

“USMEF is allocating relatively more resources to Mexico’s supermarket, distribution and meat processing sectors, reflecting their importance to U.S. exports,” said Chad Russell, USMEF regional director for Mexico and the Dominican Republic. “In addition, USMEF is working with new customers, including regional supermarket chains, medium size processors and meat boutiques, to further build demand for U.S. red meats.”

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