Study: Opportunities to differentiate US pork

22-12-2021 | |
Illustration: Shutterstock
Illustration: Shutterstock

A new report from the US National Pork Board (NPB) details how US pork can differentiate to continue to increase its global market share.

The report, available for free for US pork producers, was prepared by Gira, a global consultancy and research company, with funding from the Pork Checkoff. The report shares 3 crucial areas where US pork can stand out among its competitors in 6 key markets: Japan, Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Canada and Hong Kong.

The relevance of the new report relates to a previous Checkoff-funded research, in which it was detailed how African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreaks in China and other Asian countries caused a gigantic shift in the global meat trade. By 2025, China and others will continue their ASF recovery, ultimately displacing pork imports.

Dr Clay Eastwood, director of international market development for the National Pork Board (NPB), said, “China’s ASF recovery means there will be increased competition over the next 5 years. US pork will need to differentiate itself beyond being a low-cost supplier to continue to grow its market share and increase the value of pork exports,”

In what areas can US pork stand out?


International customers want to know more about US pork’s commitment to sustainability. This includes understanding pork producers’ commitment to transparency, continuous improvement and education about production and processing standards differentiating US pork from competitors.

Quality, consistency and service

US pork has long been a low-cost, high-volume supplier but can differentiate itself by being seen as high-quality and highly consistent, both from a product and customer service standpoint.


Understanding cultural differences and expectations in business and delivering communication accordingly will position US pork as a valued supplier. Specifically, international customers (importers, foodservice and retail) want to know more about order status and US production and packaging standards.

Pork 2040 report

This new report builds on the success of the Pork 2040: China Market Assessment, released in 2019 and the Vietnam and Philippines Market Assessments, completed in 2020. Intel from these market assessments and this differentiation study will help inform key decision-makers as they work to define and develop marketing strategies for pork in these markets.

“The strategy to diversify export markets is working, while year-to-date US pork exports to China are down 21%, total US pork exports are up 1% compared to 2020,” said Eastwood. “The intel from these reports and Checkoff-funded in-country promotions, in partnership with US Meat Export Federation, are key reasons why the demand for US pork continues to grow.”

US pork: Significant growth since 2010

US pork exports have experienced significant growth since 2010 – increasing more than 50% in volume and 60% in value. This substantial increase can be attributed to the fact that the US is a low-cost consistent pork supplier in the global market.

“Exports are critical to using the entire carcass – providing important protein to the entire world and helping US farmers increase the value of the hogs they raise,” said David Newman, past president of NPB. “Producers continue to prioritise international market growth as one of the key priorities for Checkoff-funded investments, and this report will help NPB and its strategic partners continue to add value for pork producers by diversifying and differentiating US pork in the global market.”

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ter Beek
Vincent ter Beek Editor of Pig Progress / Topic: Pigs around the world
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