The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Spring Conference has been taking place this week in San Antonio, Texas. During the event, USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom gave an overview of first quarter red meat export results, which were impressive despite mounting economic and logistical challenges.
Halstrom said, “To date, demand for U.S. red meat has been as strong as I’ve ever seen in all my years in the meat business, and remarkably resilient, but the question in my mind is, at what point do these inflationary pressures start to constrict disposable income for the global consumer? At what point will we see a crack in demand?”
He also highlighted foodservice and retail trends that exploded during the pandemic and are likely here to stay, such as takeout ordering from ghost kitchens and grocery sales through e-commerce platforms. He noted last year total U.S. red meat exports soared to a record $18.7 billion, and while more moderate growth is projected this year, exports could approach the $20 billion milestone.
Halstrom is optimistic that exports will post a strong performance in 2022, but cautioned that across the globe, inflation is definitely pressuring consumer spending power.