The meat and poultry market wins a battle against plant-based alternatives

Despite the rise in plant-based alternatives across the globe, the meat and poultry market is still going strong despite some setbacks.

Food Business News reports that red meat and poultry supplies were a record high, including pork exports that soared. The African swine fever (A.S.F.) in Asia nearly wiped out China’s hog herd because of A.S.F., and cut pork supplies on feed demand.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), released its September Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook and “forecast 2019 U.S. pork exports at 6,530 million lbs, up from 11 percent from 2018 and 2020 exports at 7,065 million lbs, up another 8 percent. The increase was due to strong exports to Mexico and China.”

Via Food Business News,

The U.S.D.A. forecast total 2019 U.S. red meat (beef, pork, lamb, mutton) and poultry (chicken and turkey) per capita disappearance (retail basis, including exports, thus not the same as per capita consumption) at 221.4 lbs, up 0.9% from 2018 and the highest since 2007, and at 223.2 lbs in 2020, up another 0.8%. Per capita beef disappearance was forecast at 57.2 lbs, flat with 2018. Other forecasts had pork at 51.8 lbs, up 1.8%, broilers at 93.9 lbs, up 1.6%, and turkey at 16 lbs, down 1.2% and the third consecutive year of slight decline.

With pork production increasing faster than beef or poultry, the boost in exports increasingly came into focus. Even with the increase, U.S. pork exports to China still accounted for only 9% of that country’s total pork imports, with 62% coming from the European Union, 15% from Canada and 10% from Brazil.

The U.S.D.A. said in its Outlook that pork imports by China began to reflect losses to A.S.F. in April, about eight months after the disease was first reported. August live hog prices in China, meanwhile, were up 62% from a year ago and were up 22% in August alone. The national price of pork jumped 20% in August and was up 53% from a year ago. As a result, exports of U.S. pork to China may remain strong, at least until that country’s hog herd is replenished, which most in the industry expect will take several years.

This surge meat and poultry demand is a win for U.S. farmers and ranchers, and for the red meat import market. There is also the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement that may boost international demand of U.S. meat and poultry. However, the agree is still awaiting for Congress to take a look at the policy.

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