Mexico: A Leading Market for U.S. Pork
In 2020, Mexico was the third-largest destination for U.S. agricultural exports, which totaled $18.4 billion.
On July 1, 2020, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) was entered into force. This agreement ensures tariffs between the U.S. and Mexico remain at zero.
U.S. Exports to Mexico
Top imported U.S. pork and pork variety meats to Mexico include hams, picnics, Boston butts, jowls, trimmings, fat, brisket bones, bone-in loins, skin, stomachs, tongues, snouts, feet and ears.
The National Pork Board realizes the importance of the Mexican market for pork exports and is collaborating with USMEF and an industry appointed task force to increase the market share and diversification of pork cuts, specifically loin products, across Mexico.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Quality Samples Program (QSP) and Emerging Markets Program (EMP) funds are being utilized to help create value for U.S. pork in Mexico by working with USMEF, offering technical assistance and demonstrating how the primal loin can be merchandised.
Mexican Protein Consumption
Because of economic conditions in recent years, retail consumers have been shifting from more expensive sources of animal protein, such as beef, to more affordable sources such as pork and chicken.
The increase in demand for pork cuts and pork-based products has challenged pork processors to provide a broader range of options. Consumers now look for versatility, convenience, flavor and a variety of choices while aiming to save time and money.
The versatility of pork lends itself to a wide variety of Mexican cuisines. As such, U.S. pork has an opportunity to deliver high-quality protein as a competitor in the retail market.
Mexico was the top volume destination for U.S. pork and variety meat exports from 2009 to 2019. In 2020, exports to Mexico dropped by 10%. However, Mexico reclaimed its top title in 2021, setting a record at 1.93 billion pounds valued at $1.68 billion.
Pork Merchandising Opportunities
Under the USDA Emerging Markets Program and Quality Samples Program, the Pork Checkoff and USMEF are capitalizing on these new consumer trends by conducting technical training for the retail, hotel and foodservice industry in Mexico about the versatility and marketability of pork loin cuts.
By demonstrating how the various cuts within the loin primal should be processed, seasoned, packaged and marketed in Mexico, NPB believes they can address a significant gap in the industry’s overall pork export strategy.