Expanding international pork demand has always been a high priority for the industry. To that end, National Pork Board participated in a USDA Trade Mission to the United Kingdom earlier this summer. Courtney Knupp, NPB’s vice president of international market development, says many would be surprised at the amount of pork the UK imports.
Knupp; “We currently do business in the United Kingdom, in that all of the loins at their Costco’s, there’s about 30 throughout the island that we are the supplier of their pork. So, there’s opportunity, people do buy it, but we would like to have a better seat at the table. So, that’s why we attended and it’s always great to continue our partnership with USDA.”
In 2021, the U.S. exported slightly more than 1,000 metric tons of pork to the UK, valued at $3.9 million. Iowa State University Economist Dr. Dermot Hayes says even though we don’t see the discussion in the U.S., there is strong interest for a trade agreement.
According to Dr. Hayes, “They’re very interested because they’ve left Europe and they’re looking for new trading partners. They do import about a million tonnes a year and a lot of other is used for further processing. And we would be by far a low-cost supplier into that market if we had the opportunity.”
Joe Dykhuis, a producer from Michigan, says the trip allowed him to discuss U.S. production and address misconceptions.
Dykhuis; “And when you actually can sit down and tell your story about how production in the United States is actually primarily run by families and definitely run by people just like it is in Europe who really care about their animals and the environment and we just happened to do that in a way that is more competitive than the way they do it, it really opens up their minds.”
If producers can prove they can meet the strict standards and regulations in the UK, the potential is there to grow the U.S. share of the UK pork market. Further information on international trade can be found at porkcheckoff.org.