Despite the presence of ongoing earthquake aftershocks and tens of thousands of displaced citizens, the U.S. Meat Export Federation’s Japan office is continuing with the vast majority of its scheduled programs in the No. 1 export value market for U.S. pork and No. 3 beef market. At the same time, it is actively involved in the relief effort.
Retail giant Aeon, which has 1,550 stores and annual retail sales of more than $58 billion, recently partnered with USMEF on an American Pork Fair that included the introduction of “Gotouchi Gourmet” (regional cuisine). The promotion featured several U.S. pork items: Texas-style baby back ribs, North Carolina pulled pork sandwiches and Iowa chops.
In addition to the American Pork Fair, Aeon is partnering with USMEF on a new joint promotion for U.S. beef and pork products in the Yamanashi region.
USMEF has utilised broad-based industry support for the Aeon promotions, with funding coming from the Iowa Beef Industry Council, Iowa Corn Promotion Board, Iowa Corn Growers Association, United Soybean Board, Minnesota Soybean Board, Ohio Soybean Council, Kentucky Corn Board and USDA Market Access Program (MAP).
USMEF also has been actively involved in the relief effort in Japan, collecting more than $500,000 for use in helping feed those affected by the disaster. Beyond that, it sees a larger challenge in supporting the revitalization of Japan’s economy.
USMEF has forecast that exports of U.S. beef and pork should remain on track during 2011, and results through February have been positive. Beef exports for the first two months of 2011 are up over 2010 levels by 75 percent in volume and 81 percent in value to 20,359 metric tons (44.9 million pounds) valued at $106.2 million.