Chinese Consumers Continue to Grow Appetite for U.S. Beef

Thu, 01 Dec 2022 09:23:53 CST

Listen to Joel Haggard talking U.S. Beef Imports into China.

Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays is featuring comments from the United States Meat Export Federation’s Senior Vice President for the Asian Pacific, Joel Haggard, about selling U.S. beef into China in the midst of Covid-zero policies and shutdowns.

Covid-zero policies have impacted demand in China, Haggard said, because people cannot travel and must stay at home.

“It restricts their mobility,” Haggard said. “I would say the largest impact has been on restaurants, so in these lockdowns, restaurants are often told to shut down, and that takes out that food service component from demand.”

Overall demand has been resilient, Haggard said, but it would be more ideal if everything opened back up. Because of limited mobility for the people of China due to these lockdowns, Haggard said food service has gotten creative.

“In terms of eCommerce and delivery, China is one of the most advanced in the world,” Haggard said. “They got fantastic tech there, they built out the supply chains for E-commerce out beyond the top-tier cities into the fifth-tier cities, so we now have a much larger supply chain network for our products to make it out to even the smaller fourth and fifth tier towns.”

While these lockdowns have hindered the ability of the United States to sell as many pounds of beef as they would like to China, Haggard said there is still a lot of demand out there on a per capita basis in the Chinese population. The Chinese beef consumption per household, Haggard added, is rising quickly.

“20 years ago, beef was kind of a novelty, it was kind of a luxury, but now I think it is starting to be integrated into the daily diet,” Haggard said.

Haggard believes beef consumption will continue to rise in China, and with limited opportunities and space to grow beef production, imports from the United States could fill a prominent role. The Chinese are also buying less pork on the international market, Haggard added, as their appetite for U.S. beef grows.

“We came into this year knowing that pork imports were not going to be like they were the last couple of years because of that herd rebuild,” Haggard said. “Beef imports, it is a steady curve upward. That is due to the increase in consumption, also increase in household consumption of beef, which in turn has been stimulated by more beef sales at retail.”

This spike in at-home beef consumption, Haggard said, can be credited to a few factors, such as familiarization with how to cook beef and multiple E-Commerce channels.

Chinese consumers want beef that is tender and has good marbling, Haggard said, so grain-fed beef has become a popular product.

“Marbling has become something that consumers seek out, and that is grain-fed beef,” Haggard said.

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR for today’s show and check out our archives older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.


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