USMEF Weekly Audio: Korea Shines for U.S. Beef Exports; Chilled U.S. Pork also Gaining Traction

South Korea is the leading value destination for U.S. beef in 2021, with exports through April reaching $686.6 million – up 15% from a year ago. In April alone, exports to Korea were valued at nearly $183 million, narrowly missing a new monthly record.

Jihae Yang, Korea director for the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), says the strong performance for U.S. beef exports is primarily driven by tremendous retail demand, as Korean consumers have increased their supermarket and online purchases of U.S. beef for home-prepared meals during the pandemic. But U.S. beef is also very popular in Korea’s foodservice sector, and Yang notes that restaurant activity in Korea is approaching pre-COVID levels.

U.S. pork exports to Korea are slightly below last year at $189 million (also through April), but Yang says higher-value chilled U.S. pork is gaining traction in the Korean market. Import data show chilled pork shipments to Korea are up 146% from a year ago to just over 2,800 metric tons, valued at $16.2 million (up 158%). Yang says more chilled U.S. pork items are being featured in the Korean retail sector, both in traditional venues and in e-commerce, and she expects this trend to continue.

Jihae Yang, Korea director

The U.S. Meat Export Federation ( is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry. It is funded by USDA; the beef, pork, lamb, corn and soybean checkoff programs, as well as its members representing nine industry sectors: beef/veal producing & feeding, pork producing & feeding, lamb producing & feeding, packing & processing, purveying & trading, oilseeds producing, feedgrains producing, farm organizations and supply & service organizations. USMEF complies with all equal opportunity, non-discrimination and affirmative action measures applicable to it by contract, government rule or regulation or as otherwise provided by law. USMEF is an equal opportunity employer and provider. 

Submitted to the BARN by:

Joe Schuele

Vice President, Communications

U.S. Meat Export Federation

303-547-0030 (mobile)

By Tucker Allmer - The BARN

Tucker Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.