The Future of U.S. Pork and Japan

Recently, the National Pork Board (NPB) board of directors allocated $7.75 million toward international market development with U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) for 2024. NPB has leveraged Checkoff dollars invested in USMEF to receive matching contributions from the USDA in a nearly 1:1 ratio, creating an automatic return on investment. NPB is the largest contributor to USMEF for pork promotion efforts and receives support from USMEF’s other member sectors including state pork, soybean and corn organizations. 

In 2022, U.S. Pork accounted for nearly 30% of total Japan imports. USMEF’s recent work in Japan secured the U.S. a spot as the sole supplier for Katsuya, Japan’s largest pork tonkatsu (Japanese fried pork cutlet) restaurant chain. Katsuya’s transition to 100% U.S. pork will result in an export volume of approximately 1.7 million pounds of pork per month, with plans to develop new pork loin promotions in the next year. The transition from Canadian to U.S. pork is not only a testament to its quality, but the capabilities and consistency of the American supply chain. 

USMEF Partnership

The Pork Checkoff has a strategic partnership with USMEF to promote U.S. Pork in international markets. This partnership allows USMEF to execute marketing initiatives positioning U.S. pork as a high-quality and consistent product. USMEF is backed by the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, benefiting from their Market Access Program, which is focused in aiding the industry in the promotion of American agricultural products. The advantage of having in-country staff and the ability to provide high-quality food service are just a few benefits of partnering with USMEF, setting the U.S. apart from other markets.

International Market Development

NPB has invested in foreign market development, trade promotion and the facilitation of product for decades to build global demand for U.S. Pork. NPB looks for opportunities to differentiate U.S. Pork from competitors, adding value to the product and minimizing risk. NPB’s on-target pork export strategy capitalizes on growth across the globe in three ways: 

  • Differentiating from competitors: NPB utilizes the U.S. pork industry’s story to instill trust and distinguish our product. 
  • Developing emerging markets: Ongoing market assessments in new or growing markets have proven instrumental in providing valuable industry insights. 
  • Diversifying market cuts: We inform retailers, distributors and customers in existing markets about different pork cuts they don’t normally work with. 

NPB’s recent deal with Japan in partnership with USMEF executes each of these initiatives.