In last week’s U.S. Meat Export Federation report of January meat export numbers, pork remained steady in volume and increased in value—an overall good report.
But in the current trading environment, every number matters. Drilling down into those numbers, one area that fell behind was variety pork exports, down 16% in volume compared to a year ago, although the segment had a small increase in value.
“So that tells you those pork variety meat items are still demanding a good price overseas. But with lower demand in China, we are going to see a little bit more pressure on the variety meat volumes we’ll be shipping this year,” Joe Schuele, USMEF president, told AgDay’s national reporter Betsy Jibben.
Pork variety meats include pork livers, hearts, kidneys, and stomachs, as well as bones, ears and tongues. These items have little value domestically, but provide significant return on the export market.
“We need to further diversify our destinations,” Schuele says. Top trading partners in this category include Mexico, Peru, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong
Finding a home for those variety meats will be key for pork profitability through the year. Schule talks more about the impact of China’s growing hog production on U.S. export sales above.