Members of the National Pork Board will get a first-hand look at one of the fastest-growing markets for U.S. pork when they travel to Mexico Jan. 8-11 for their first meeting of 2006. Board members will meet with trade officials and tour retail and traditional "wet" markets in Mexico City to get a better understanding of opportunities for U.S. producers.
Exports of U.S. Pork to Mexico in 2004 grew 65% by volume and 92% in value from 2003. Mexico was one of the key markets enabling U.S. Pork exports to set an all-time volume record in 2004. Mexico currently is the second largest market for U.S. pork exports. Export figures for 2005 are not yet available, but officials of the U.S. Meat Export Federation expect the Mexican market to remain a good outlet for U.S. pork.
"Mexico is a country with great potential for U.S. Pork exports, due to the fact most Mexicans love the flavor and versatility of pork," says Gilberto Lozano, director general of Mexico for USMEF. "Mexicans consume pork in a variety of ways such as carnitas, cueritos, pozole, tacos al pastor and in many other traditional dishes. The southern region of the country is particularly fond of pork.
"In addition, processed meats have grown enormously in the last decade and represent more than 60% of the pork imports that come into the country," Lozano adds.
National Pork Board members will hear presentations on the Mexican market and the Mexican pork market and see how the El cerdo es bueno (pork is good) marketing campaign created by the Pork Checkoff for the U.S. Hispanic market is being used in Mexico to help Mexican consumers understand that pork can be a wholesome and nutritious part of their daily diets. The board members also will visit retail stores and learn how pork is promoted in Mexico.
Board members also will conduct a brief business meeting while in Mexico City. The agenda includes approving employee and organizational goals for 2006, discussing progress of a broad-based industry coalition working to address animal welfare issues, and approving plans for the Pork Industry Forum, March 2-4 in Kansas City, Mo.