Joel Haggard, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) senior vice president for the Asia Pacific, recently addressed U.S. beef producers and exporters on the remarkable growth of U.S. beef exports to Taiwan. In the first three quarters of 2018, export value to Taiwan had already nearly matched last year's record of $410 million. By year-end, USMEF said exports will exceed $500 million -- more than doubling the total from five years ago.
Haggard, whose body of work in Taiwan spans more than 30 years, noted that chilled U.S. beef is very popular with a wide range of Taiwanese restaurateurs -- from high-end steakhouses to hot-pot restaurants and burger stands.
“If you are a young entrepreneur, you can build a business model around U.S. beef. You can open a little steakhouse; you can open a hot-pot restaurant; you can open a Korean barbeque; [you can] open a burger place, and you can build a business around using U.S. beef as a center-of-plate item,” he said.
Haggard pointed out that years of promoting U.S. beef and how to prepare it, especially at home, have paid off.
“Consumers now in Taiwan are more comfortable at home cooking U.S. beef. In the early days, people took the very tough Australian grass-fed beef and what little local beef there was and stewed it for a long time, maybe put that in noodle soup, but now, there’s more different menus happening at home,” he said.