The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) has partnered with a celebrity chef to promote U.S. chilled pork and encourage year-round consumption.
Frozen pork in Korea is typically considered a lower-quality product, so USMEF is working with celebrity chef Shin Hyo Seob, a judge on the popular “Chef King” television program, as part of a multiphase campaign to raise the awareness of chilled high-quality U.S. pork.
The USDA Market Access Program, the Pork Checkoff and the Illinois Soybean Association provide funding for components of the campaign.
The campaign, which runs through the balance of 2012, shows four different U.S. chilled pork cuts – belly, collar butt, skirt meat and jowls – with comments from chef Shin saying he enjoys using U.S. pork for his dishes because it is chilled and it makes every dish he prepares better.
The ads are displayed in five stations along the Seoul subway, which serves more than 7 million commuters daily.
The Korean pork industry was severely damaged last year by foot-and-mouth disease as it was forced to cull more than 3 million hogs – more than a third of the domestic herd.
However, the industry is rapidly rebounding, posing challenges for all imported pork.
At the same time, U.S. pork continues to be the leading imported pork, holding a 32 percent share when measured by volume and 30.6 percent by value.
Through the first four months of 2012, U.S. pork exports to Korea are down in both volume and value, but the country remains the No. 5 market for American pork exports, buying 67,061 metric tons (147.8 million pounds) of product valued at $192.7 million.
“Currently, among major Korean retailers, only Top Mart and Costco are selling U.S. pork all year round while Lotte Mart, Homeplus and E-Mart sell it on a spot basis,” USMEF-Korea director Jihae Yang said in a news release.
“Our goal is both to raise awareness of American pork and to associate it with leading chefs who choose only the best products for their dishes.”
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