Colombia: A Hot Market for U.S. Pork
Colombia has been at the forefront of rapidly expanding U.S. pork export markets, but demand was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. However, that has rebounded in 2021 as Colombia was the 6th largest market for U.S. pork.
U.S. Pork Exports to Colombia
Trade in U.S. agricultural products to Colombia has expanded as a result of the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (CTPA), implemented in May 2012. U.S. pork and variety meat exports increased by 199% from 25.1 million in 2011 to 75.2 million in 2013 (the first full year of FTA implementation).
Top imported U.S. pork and pork variety meats to the country include boneless and bone-in hams, boneless picnics, St. Louis-style spareribs, trimmings, boneless and bone-in loins, fat, skin, hearts and brisket bones. Additionally, there has been a recent shift toward increased demand for U.S. table meat products, such as boneless sirloins, and an increase in identifying U.S. product at retail.
Colombian Protein Consumption
Despite trailing behind beef, fish and poultry consumption for the past three decades, per capita pork consumption has been gaining popularity and surpassed fish and beef to become the second most consumed protein in 2021. This trend is expected to continue over the next 10 years.
Colombia’s diverse cultural landscape allows for an increased opportunity for pork, and specifically U.S. pork, as a versatile and economical protein choice for consumers.
The pandemic caused Comerpes, a retail chain in Cartagena, to launch a delivery service that encourages the purchase of U.S. pork. The U.S. Meat Export Federation promotion, funded by NPB and Iowa Corn Promotion Board, included a giveaway of mobile cooler bags for customers in Cartagena, Colombia and resulted in a 134% growth in bone-in ham sales.
Pork Merchandising Opportunities
While the FTA with Colombia has increased U.S. exports overall, there is still an opportunity for increased consumption of pork across the country with per capita pork consumption at 20.3 pounds (product weight) in 2021.
Taking this opportunity, a group of U.S. pork producers and trade team members from the National Pork Producers Council, NPB and USMEF, took a trade mission to Colombia in October 2019. Here, U.S. pig farmers shared their We Care® sustainability story with key customers and looked at opportunities to build on the recent increases in pork consumption to further increase sales.