After a slight volume decline last year, U.S. beef exports to Taiwan have returned for 2022.
Joel Haggard, U.S. Meat Export Federation Senior Vice President for the Asia Pacific, says the increase started in 2021 when China was “really hitting on all cylinders”, but buyers in Taiwan that compete for the same cuts that China does, hesitated a little bit.
Haggard says the speculation may have been that China’s buying spree would cool off later in the year, which it didn’t. And so, they kind of got left out.
“And then if you fast forward to early this year, I think they jumped in because first of all, those buyers are very savvy, they’re aware of the cattle cycle dynamics in the United States. And so they decided to jump in big and front loaded in terms of their buying. However, demand is good, even though they’re going through their pandemic wave right now. The supermarket business is on fire. Costco is really the destination shopping place for beef, one of our largest chilled customers.”
But Haggard noted, there are other grocery store players in Taiwan. He says while E-commerce is not as developed in Taiwan compared to China and Korea, it’s really gotten a boost this year.
Haggard says Taiwan’s restaurant sales have been impacted by COVID., but not as severely as in some other countries.
“In April, about the same time that Shanghai was locking down, the Taiwan government decided that they were going to actually abandon COVID-Zero and just encourage people that were infected to remain at home. But keep the rest of the economy open. Food service has been hit a bit because the older population is a little bit reticent to go out, but the younger people are still going out. “
So, Haggard adds, the disruption in Taiwan has been much less compared to Hong Kong and mainland China.