A weak Colombian peso and an increase in domestic pork production led to a slowdown in U.S. pork exports to Colombia in 2015 and during the first half of 2016, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). However, a rebound began to emerge late last year, with October exports climbing 68% in volume to 5,862 metric tons and 77% in value to $14.6 million. October exports of muscle cuts to Colombia were the largest on record, at 5,428 mt, up 58% from 2015, USMEF noted.
In an effort to continue this momentum and regain a larger share of the Colombian pork market, USMEF recently conducted seminars in Bogota and Medellin designed to highlight economically priced pork cuts that deliver value for Colombian restaurateurs and retailers. The seminars were funded by the pork checkoff.
Greg Hanes, USMEF assistant vice president for international marketing, explained that the goal of the seminars was to provide an overview of U.S. pork production and highlight the availability of U.S. pork products going forward.
“The last few years have been a little bit more challenging in Colombia,” Hanes said. “The exchange rates and higher prices have had an impact, and now with the opportunities that are happening with increased production in the U.S., there’s really a lot more opportunities for these buyers to utilize U.S. product and still be very profitable. So, the goal was to give them an idea of really where we are on the production basis in the U.S. now and the availability of the product that’s going to be going forward over the next years.”
USMEF wanted to introduce some of the different cuts and show attendees ways to merchandise cuts. As such, a Colombian chef who is very knowledgeable about U.S. pork prepared several different cuts.
The seminars also offered ideas on how USMEF can support customers’ efforts to expand usage of U.S. pork. The bulk of U.S. pork exports to Colombia traditionally have been made up of cuts utilized by the further-processing industry, but several cuts featured at the seminar – including St. Louis spare ribs, bone-in loins and bone-in hams – can be successfully merchandised in Colombian restaurants and supermarkets.