Red meat exports saw double-digit growth in 2008

Pork achieved its 17th consecutive year of increased export numbers in 2008, and beef and lamb products also grew, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. In 2008, pork exports grew 57 percent to more than 4.5 billion pounds, and its value grew 55 percent to nearly $4.9 billion.


Total U.S. beef exports grew 28 percent to nearly 2.2 billion pounds, and values jumped 36 percent to $3.6 billion. Lamb exports dropped 17 percent to 17.3 million pounds, but value for lamb and mutton sales (plus variety meat) rose 44 percent to $25.3 million.


Erin Daley, USMEF economist, said that the key export markets for U.S. red meat continue to perform consistently. Mexico remains the dominant market for U.S. beef, and Japan is the largest market for pork. Japan’s pork exports amounted to 31.6 of total U.S. pork export volume in 2008, or 996.2 million pounds, valued at $1.5 billion.


There are several countries that are areas of concern, Daley noted. “With 35 U.S. pork facilities delisted, exports to Russia could face a rough start in 2009, not to mention the challenging economic situation and the devaluation of the ruble,” she said. However, Russia has increased the United States’ tariff rate quota from 111.8 million pounds to 220.5 million pounds, allowing for more pork to enter the country at 15 percent duty instead of the over-quota rate of 75 percent.


China, which was the #2 market for U.S. pork, is expected to expand its hog herd, which may lower hog and pork prices. Daley added that it is too soon to tell how issues raised by country-of-origin labeling laws (COOL) will affect beef exports to the key markets of Mexico and Canada.


Source: U.S. Meat Export Federation

Store-brand product sales growing

The Private Label manufacturers Association announced that more than 30 percent of customers polled in a new study indicated they were buying more store-brand products compared to a year ago. The study also showed that nearly three out of four say current economic conditions are important in deciding to buy more private-label products, and that the percentage of people who buy private-label products “frequently” has grown to 55 percent, up from 41 percent in 2006 and 12 percent in 1991.


The results of the study were published in PLMA’s “Store Brands and the Recession” report taken of nearly 800 main household grocery shoppers, conducted by GfK Custom Research North America. The study also indicated that more shoppers are going beyond traditional supermarkets for their main grocery shopping and visiting more stores to get the lowest prices. Nearly half the respondents said they expect to prepare more meals at home.


Source: Private Label Manufacturers Association

Brazilian beef exports drop 35 percent

Brazilian beef exports dropped 35 percent in January, compared to the same period last year. The Brazilian Beef Exporters Association reported the country’s meat producers shipped 90.2 million tons of product, down from 137.5 tons for January 2008. The export sector took in $256.7 million for its January shipments, down 45 percent from 2008.


According to AP reports, Otavio Cancado, BBEA executive director, said that the drop is due to frozen credit for international beef buyers and is not tied to a drop in global consumer demand.


Source: Associated Press