Chilled grassfed beef share to US increases
16 March 2017
High-quality chilled grassfed beef exports to the US have declined so far in 2017, amid reduced cattle slaughter and limited beef production, particularly in southern Australia. However, the trade has been less affected compared to most other beef export categories, and has increased from a 22% share of volume to the US in 2016 to 26% across January and February. In contrast, frozen grassfed exports (primarily lean manufacturing beef) to the US so far this year have declined 36% year-on-year, heavily impacted by the reduced cow slaughter in Australia and growing domestic US production.
As illustrated below, chilled grassfed beef exports to the US have continued to record strong growth since 2000, with only recent tight supplies weighing in on the trade.
As outlined in the recently published North America beef market snapshot, this growth has been underpinned by increasing demand for grassfed product, particularly from higher income consumers in east-coast cities. To put the growth of the chilled grassfed trade into context, on its own it was Australia’s fifth largest beef export market in 2016 (after only the US, Japan, South Korea, China and Indonesia).
While the US is forecast to increase beef production yet again this year, given the dominance of grainfed product it is likely demand for premium grassfed beef will remain strong.
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