The Shanghai tour involved an overview of USMEF’s marketing objectives in China and an explanation of several market access issues that impact US meat exports into the region.
There was also a briefing from the US Agricultural Trade Office in Shanghai, which focused on the business climate in China for US agricultural products, and a presentation from Yiguo.com, a food distribution company that has emerged as one of the region’s leaders in e-commerce. Yiguo was the first company to sell food online in China, and its business is rapidly expanding.
One of the delegates, Dean Meyer of Rock Rapids, Iowa, a producer of corn, soybeans, cattle and hogs, said: "E-commerce has just exploded in China and it’s only going to get bigger. This can expedite movement of more US meat into China because the companies engaged in e-commerce appreciate the quality and consistency of US products. We already see these opportunities on the pork side, and there’s strong demand for US beef if we can only gain access to the market."
Delegates visited supermarkets, such as Citysuper, where they had the opportunity to view merchandising trends. They also met with pork importers, including Shanghai Jin Hai Food Co and Shanghai Zhengpu Trade Co.
Karen Grant, who serves on the board of directors of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association, was also on the trip. She said: "I was very impressed with how innovative these businesses are, and the strategies they’ve developed to expand their sales. For example, the efforts they make to attract and retain quality workers and their investment in developing new products were very interesting to me, and I’m hopeful that this leads to new opportunities for US pork."