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Mexico is a key customer, particularly for U.S. pork; trade trip is an important tool to maintain a strong trade relationship.
February 28, 2023
A team of 15 farm industry leaders traveled to Monterrey, Mexico, last week, representing the U.S. Meat Export Federation in the first post-COVID trade mission. The group met with buyers and importers at the Expo Carnes trade show, visited a processing facility that utilizes only U.S. pork products and viewed a wide variety of retail ranging from traditional markets to high-end meat boutiques.
USMEF-Mexico Regional Director Gerardo Rodriguez notes that the group was brought to Monterrey in part because of the broad diversity of retail available there, which features both common markets and very modern, premium grocery stores.
"The way that people usually buy their meat in the traditional carnicerias, in the wet market. But also we went to a modern supermarket chain - the way the meat has been merchandised there, how the digital era is getting into this channel about working through the different platforms, then we went to the high-end stores, and also we were able to visit some of the meat boutiques," Rodriguez says.
The group visited a processor that exclusively uses U.S. pork. Keith Miller, who was on the tour representing the Kansas Soybean Commission, notes the processor worked with USMEF to switch from pork belly to more affordable pork jowl for its chicarron products.
"The pork jowl makes a good product for them that is a lot cheaper because that's a product that we typically don't use a lot of in the United States," Miller says. "And they really like it down here because it cooks up real nice and tender and they can season it and they really enjoy it so the price is cheaper so it fits in in all categories."
Mexico is a key customer, particularly for U.S. pork, and the trade trip is an important tool to maintain a strong trade relationship according to Indiana farmer Jim Douglas, who represents soybean growers on the USMEF board of directors.
"I think it just shows the awareness of how sincere we are to work in these markets, and we really appreciate their business," Douglas says. "Tremendous customer, Mexico is and so we really appreciate everything they've done for us."
The USMEF delegation included producers and other industry leaders from Kansas, Indiana, Nebraska, Texas, South Dakota, Illinois, Missouri, Colorado and the National Pork Board.
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