Despite Difficult Year For Exports, USMEF Optimistic About The Future

U.S. beef exports to the European Union have struggled over the past year due to limited opportunities in Europe’s food service and hospitality sectors. But, U.S. Meat Export Federation’s Yuri Barutkin said exports are poised for a comeback, thanks to the gradual reopening of food service and newly developed retail channels. He noted there was optimism in early 2020, with the United States receiving greater access to the European market.

“But unfortunately that good news of having an expansion that would have allowed U.S. beef to grow its sales volume in Europe has been tarnished by the pandemic.  Europe was one of the hardest hit areas in the world, and the sector that was affected the most was food service and the tourist sector, where U.S. beef in Europe sold the most.”

Barutkin noted no one expected restrictions on travel, dining, etc. to last more than a year, which cut deep into demand and exports. However, he noted, the news is not all bad.

The industry, he pointed out was able to improve their on-line presence, allowing for a different form of direct sales. He added they worked to expand their ready to eat options as well. And Barutkin has reason for optimism in the coming months.

“Summer is sacred for the Europeans, barbeques, grilling outside, it’s almost like a religion here in Europe.  So, we definitely hope that it will stimulate much higher sales at retail.”

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