In the aftermath of COVID-19, the foodservice sector in Hong Kong is making a significant recovery, with higher imports of U.S. beef anticipated in 2023. According to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), the looming threat of new African swine fever (ASF) outbreaks might further elevate the demand for imported pork in the region.
USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom, in a report following his recent visit to Hong Kong, highlighted the profound impact of pandemic-related restrictions on the local foodservice industry, describing it as “simply decimated.” Despite these challenges, the city imported over $400 million worth of U.S. beef in the first 11 months of 2023. Halstrom emphasized that the Hong Kong market operates distinctly from China, showcasing a focus on high-end products such as U.S. wagyu beef. This emphasis on premium offerings is contributing to optimism regarding the resurgence of the foodservice market in the city.
Halstrom expressed confidence in the potential for increased foodservice demand later in the year, attributing it to various factors, including the unique characteristics of the Hong Kong market and the popularity of high-quality U.S. beef products.
Additionally, recent ASF outbreaks in the region have raised concerns, leading to a potential surge in demand for imported pork. Hong Kong, being a substantial market for both beef and pork, could witness an increased need for the latter due to a “persistent series” of ASF cases. The culling of a small pig herd in the past two months creates a short-term opportunity for U.S. pork exporters to meet the rising demand amid the improved outlook for the foodservice industry.
In summary, Hong Kong’s foodservice sector is on the path to recovery, driven by increased imports of U.S. beef and the potential for heightened demand for pork in light of ASF concerns. This dual dynamic presents opportunities for the U.S. meat industry to capitalize on evolving market conditions in the region.