After many years of negotiations, U.S. pork is now eligible for export to India. U.S. Meat Export Federation representative Monty Brown has conducted market research in India, meeting with prospective buyers of U.S. pork and identifying opportunities in the retail, processing and foodservice sectors. Brown says while India is a challenging market, its growing economy and enormous population offer long-term potential for the U.S. industry.
“The companies we met with were interested in U.S. pork, primarily bone-in cuts, if they could get them I think because labor is cheaper there. And the products that really excited them were pork carcasses and bellies. They really will be interested in a six piece bone-in carcass,” Brown says. “I know that lots of times the U.S. industry may frown upon producing this product, but it ought to be something we should look at today, especially with our labor problems, labor issues in the packing plants. They also purchased quite a bit of bone-in loin ribs, that may be something interesting for us. And I also think there may be opportunities there for bone-in Boston butt.”
Brown says e-commerce is growing in India and also presents an opportunity for consumer-ready products.
“We know that the e-commerce side, some businesses have increased two-fold, threefold, fourfold, with a huge customer base. Because of the spread of the country and the cost of bricks and mortar, that’s where I think ecommerce is still going to win there,” Brown says. “It’s really early days still, I think we can slowly develop the business. But I wouldn’t expect huge volumes right away. I think this is a market where we need to develop the relationships, get it working well. Don’t get too excited about the numbers, keep building the trade and we then will go along and help the importer develop the trade for the U.S. products when it’s there.”