Convenience key to Korea’s demand for U.S. red meat

Source: Farm Progress. The original article is posted here.

Convenience key to Korea’s demand for U.S. red meat
Consumers across the globe are seeking convenient ways to enjoy high-quality meals without extensive preparation or visiting a restaurant. Home meal replacement kits are one way to satisfy this need, and the Korean market is a worldwide leader in the development of HMR products.

Through support from USDA, the Beef Checkoff Program and the National Pork Board, the U.S. Meat Export Federation works with product developers to incorporate U.S. beef and U.S. pork into HMR items. As President and CEO Dan Halstrom explains, USMEF staff recently gathered in Korea for a conference in which the opportunity to learn more about HMR product development was a major highlight.

"One of the main drivers for red meat consumption globally has been the convenience factor. And when I say convenience, I’m talking about home meal replacement, I’m talking about restaurant meal replacement – prepared meat kits, this sort of thing," Halstrom says. "There’s a real demand and there’s no bigger demand than what we’ve seen in Korea. So the opportunity to have our global staff conference here in Korea, was a great opportunity to really roll out these concepts to some of the other countries around the world that maybe haven’t seen that demand – or at least to the level that they have in Korea."

The growth of HMR in Korea has been driven by consumer demand for convenience, according to USMEF Vice President of Asia Pacific Jihae Yang.

"In terms of freshness of diversified recipes, it’s developed in the way that the Korean consumer wants," Yang says. "So what we want to show to the international staff, and then they can get the idea back home, and then share what they learned, and then develop their own recipe or their own product that can address their own customers in their markets."

USMEF is working on expanding into other markets where these products are gaining popularity.

"We’re in a situation, especially on the beef side, where there’s reduced production. Everybody on the beef side globally is asking, ‘what else do we have to offer? Production’s down and I can’t get enough of this product. What else can I offer?’" Halstrom says. "So this is an opportunity to add value to the supply chain, even though we have less production, and I think that’s one of the exciting things. One of our jobs at USMEF is to show options, show alternatives, for the marketplace."

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