The Iowa Beef Industry Council recently collaborated on a meat-centered trade mission with the Iowa Area Development Group, U.S. Meat Export Federation, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Corn, Iowa Farm Bureau, and private industry representatives in Vietnam and the Philippines. Checkoff’s investment in USMEF allows for in-country representation that works to build relationships aimed at marketing U.S. beef in more than 120 countries.
Dave Rueber of Luxemburg, Iowa, highlights the potential for U.S. beef in the two countries, “Both Vietnam and the Philippines have youthful populations that enjoy U.S. products. They represent great potential in an area of the world that is already a strong supporter of U.S. beef.”
Vietnam’s population totals 95.5 million people in the latest census data. Vietnam has a rising gross domestic product, which allows them to increase the demand for U.S. beef. Last year, Vietnam imported 12,501 mt of U.S. beef, an increase in volume by 16 percent, and $62 million, a 2 percent increase in value of product, according to USMEF data.
“What impressed me the most was the opportunities that exists in Vietnam. The rising incomes and interest in U.S. culture are demand drivers for a quality food supply. This was not at all what I expected to see in this developing country. Their infrastructure is much more robust for imported meat products,” states Chris Freland, Executive Director of IBIC.
In Vietnam, many prefer a new trend, Japanese BBQ. Meat expenditures account for 37 percent of their income and 44% is the total monthly food expenditure in urban households.
“The Filipino culture enjoys food and entertaining. The import opportunities are plenty with a balance of residents food preferences and the growing tourism sector,” shares Freland.
In 2018, the Philippines imported 17,941 mt of U.S. beef, an increase of 42% in volume, and $87 million, an increase of 39 percent in value of product, according to USMEF data. The new generation of millennials are socially connected, enjoy bonding, and celebrations around food.