New figures from Meat and Livestock Australia regarding the return of U.S. beef to major Korean supermarkets have put the re-entry into perspective.
U.S. beef was officially launched in Korea on July 13 under a promotional campaign with the slogan 'U.S. Beef, It's Better'.
Despite the vast media coverage, U.S. beef remains in relatively limited volumes in the market, and Lotte Mart sales for the launch period were limited to five tonnes. According to MLA, custom cleared imports of U.S. beef in June were 202 t, or 1% of total beef imports for the month, and Australia retains a 75% market share.
The hype ensured the low volumes available sold out quickly, helping support U.S. claims that its product is living up to the slogan. But MLA says U.S. importers have also aggressively discounted prices to promote the product.
U.S. beef was priced at about half that of local 'Hanwoo' beef, and was around 15-25pc cheaper than Australian beef.
Another 30t of U.S. beef was to arrive in Korea last week and more retailers hope to work together to prevent similar problems with civic groups and cattle farmers once the additional product hits the shelves.