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2021 Annual Report

Foreign Marketing

Through international marketing efforts, the Beef Checkoff maximizes U.S.-produced beef’s access to foreign markets by expanding market penetration in existing locations, entering new and emerging markets and improving global consumers’ perceptions and trust in the product.


U.S. beef exports have been outstanding through the second half of 2021, especially considering the COVID-related challenges still impacting global foodservice, general economic headwinds, as well as persistent obstacles in shipping and logistics. At the same time, retail demand continues to be tremendous, and international buyers in all channels remain committed to the quality and consistency delivered by U.S. beef. The U.S. industry has also gone to great lengths to keep product moving.



U.S. beef exports soared to another new value record in August, topping the $1 billion mark for the first time. August beef exports totaled 132,577 metric tons (mt), up 21 percent from a year ago and the second largest volume this year, while export value climbed 55 percent to $1.04 billion. From January through August, beef exports increased 18 percent from a year ago to 955,407 mt, with value up 34 percent to $6.62 billion. Exports were also six percent higher in volume and up 20 percent in value compared to the record pace established in 2018. Through August, exports accounted for 15 percent of total beef production (up from 13.3 percent) and 12.8 percent for muscle cuts (up from 11.1 percent). Through August, export value was $381.91 per head, up 28 percent.


The Beef Checkoff succeeded in marketing U.S. beef through new sales channels such as e-commerce, live streaming and indirect sales through group buying. The marketing environment has grown much more complex as consumers are immersing themselves in e-commerce “experiences” to buy products, leading to the rise in livestreaming and gamification and viable new sales channels. A recent live commerce broadcast in partnership with key account, Mr. Meat, collaborated with one of the most famous “live-streamers” in China (and the world), Austin Li.



Li reached an audience of 6.5 million viewers, resulting in more than $1 million of beef sold in under an hour.


The Checkoff expanded U.S. beef’s presence to more Japanese regional chains, targeting competitor-supplied outlets. In June, USMEF targeted four leading regional retailers in the Kanto Region strongly committed to U.S. beef and promotional partnerships for a monthlong sweepstakes campaign. This unique endeavor combined leveraged funding with the reach of multiple mid-sized retailers — Maruetsu (30 outlets), Comodi Iida (84), Tokyu Store (84) and Fuji Citio (50) — in a very focused area to maximize impact.



Ultimately, more than 2,300 people were entered to win by month’s end with sales of U.S. beef through participating stores reaching nearly 200 mt.


Pairing in-store promotions with social media to broaden the reach, the Beef Checkoff and Korean retailer Lotte Mart (third-largest hypermarket with 111 stores) launched a campaign in early April to boost U.S. beef sales while also sending eco-friendly messages about sustainability and the U.S. beef industry.



The campaign’s social media reach approached 200,000 people, while a USMEF news release about the unique discount promotion resulted in media coverage and social media shares through new and traditional media platforms. Lotte Mart’s U.S. beef sales during the weeklong promotion were 228 mt, valued at $7.13 million — 920 percent higher than the previous week and four percent up from the same period in 2020. U.S. beef’s share of total imported beef sales during the period also increased to 79.1 percent.

Contractors Key


    American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture

  • CBB

    Cattlemen's Beef Board


    Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research and Education

  • KSU*

    Kansas State University

  • MICA

    Meat Import Council of America

  • NAMI

    North American Meat Institute

  • NCBA

    National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

  • NEBPI*

    Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative

  • NIAA

    National Institute for Animal Agriculture

  • USCA

    United States Cattlemen’s Association


    United States Meat Export Federation

  • NYBC*

    New York Beef Council

Figures presented within this report are based on data compiled by individual contractors. Unless indicated otherwise, results are based on October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021 data.