Japanese demand for U.S. pork has helped make pork the fastest growing export product from the state of North Carolina.
The value of pork shipped from North Carolina to Japan has grown nearly ten-fold since the beginning of the 21st century. According to a report from the Raleigh News & Observer, the value of pork shipped from North Carolina to Japan was below $30 million annually, but it now exceeds $250 million. In the process, pork has outgrown tobacco as North Carolina’s leading export product to the Japanese market.
The increased demand for pork from the United States is a reflection of the quality of the product. In the minds of the Japanese customer, the pork that is raised in North Carolina has a specific taste, flavor and color that the people of Japan desire.
“Japanese consumers are very finicky, very rich and they demand quality,” said Dermot J. Hayes, a pork economy expert and a professor at Iowa State University. “So the people who export to Japan—they export a very high-value product. And that returns a lot of money.”
Japan is expected to purchase an estimated $2 billion worth of pork from the U.S. this year.