Mouthwatering steaks, juicy burgers and delectable roasts — the beef checkoff reports that this is what U.S. consumers demand, but that still leaves the underutilized parts of the beef animal. If they aren’t consumed, where do they go, and who uses them?
“I think about the world of possibility and potential that’s floating out there, especially if we are able to gain access to China,” Louisiana beef producer Amelia Kent said. “This past year, our checkoff has invested $7.2 million in export growth programs, primarily conducted through the U.S. Meat Export Federation. That’s investing in work in international communities on how to utilize American beef and why it is safe. We just need to think not only about our marketing environments today but also think about the beef industry for the future.”
The leading beef export markets (by value) in 2016 were Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Canada, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Additional promising markets are located in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Central and South America and Africa.
What beef cuts are exported internationally?
Japan - Short plates, chuck eye rolls, briskets, short ribs, tongues, hanging tenders and outside skirts.
Mexico - Rounds, shoulder clods, inside skirts and variety meats.
South Korea - Short ribs, chuck rolls, chuck short ribs, briskets and hanging tenders.
Hong Kong - Short plates, short ribs and chuck rolls.
Taiwan - Short plates, shanks and rib fingers.
Egypt, Southeast Asia, South Africa and South America - Variety meats.
Overseas sales add value
The aggressive promotion of the unique attributes — e.g., quality , safety, sustainability and nutritional value — of U.S. beef in more than 80 countries worldwide adds back an average of $258.48 per head in value for fed slaughter to U.S. beef producers.
Strong international demand raises the value of beef cuts from every carcass, the checkoff noted. For example, the following cuts, a large percentage of which are exported, achieved an increase in 2016 Choice wholesale prices (freight-on-board, plant wholesale) compared to the five-year average from 2011 to 2015:
- Chuck roll wholesale prices averaged $2.70/lb. in 2016, up 3% from the previous five-year average.
- Chuck short ribs averaged $2.90/lb., up 6%.
- Short ribs averaged $4.34/lb., up 7%.
- Ribeyes averaged $7.52/lb., up 13%.
By comparison, the 2016 Choice beef cutout was down 1% from the 2011-15 average.
In addition to the value added by these muscle cuts, beef variety meat exports contributed $36.18 per head of fed slaughter in 2016. For Japan alone, per-head value of variety meat exports has increased from $11.90 in 2011 to $15.46 in 2016, reflecting excellent returns for beef tongues shipped to Japan.
“It has become abundantly clear that when it comes to convincing our friends and neighbors of the value of international trade, U.S. agriculture still has a long row to hoe,” said Philip Seng, U.S. Meat Export Federation president and chief executive officer. “However, for the sake of future generations, it’s essential that we continue to look forward and never stop extolling the benefits of global trade.”