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Pork exports: How much does taste matter?

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Source: Jennifer Shike, Farm Journal’s Pork, 10 December 2020, photo credit: Cooking light

When it comes to the global pork market, how much do other countries care about taste? Although every culture has its own definition, Norman Bessac, vice president of international marketing for the Pork Checkoff, says there are three basic things customers want.

“First, they want you to consistently produce the product to specification – to deliver what you say you’re going to deliver. Second, be responsive to my needs. If I have a question, if I have a need, get back to me and help me. And the third thing is to understand my business and help me succeed, to help me grow the demand for my product,” Bessac explains.

Understanding what your customer wants is key. For example, Japan drives meat quality in the global market, Bessac says. In his opinion, they are the most discerning when it comes to color and fat. 

“It’s because the price of a pork loin, if you’re buying it in dollars per pound, is probably $13 to $14 per pound. So, they want it to be very, very consistent, and they want quality for what they’re paying for,” he adds.
Rupert Claxton, Gira meat director, says there’s a perception that because you’re sending different products overseas, such as the drop, the feet and the head, that these are trash products because they are treated like trash products here in the U.S.

That couldn’t be further from the truth, he says. 
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