US Pork Set to Surpass Chicken in Global Exports by 2033, Driven by Economic Factors and Industry Trends

In a notable projection, the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) anticipates a significant shift in the global meat export landscape, with pork poised to overtake chicken by 2033. If realized, this would mark the first time since 1976 that pork surpasses poultry in exports, attributing the change to increasing incomes abroad and a modest decline in the real exchange rate of the U.S. dollar against key agricultural trade partners.

The beef sector is undergoing a temporary contraction phase until 2024-2025, affecting exports and reaching an eight-year low in 2024. However, a rebound is on the horizon, with beef exports expected to steadily climb through 2031, albeit with a slight dip towards the end of the projection period.

Meanwhile, the broiler sector anticipates consistent growth in exports, driven by rising production and global demand trends. Projections suggest that broiler exports will reach record highs annually, experiencing an 8% surge by 2033.

Pork production is primed for expansion, fueled by efficiency gains and growing demand. The ERS forecasts a surge in U.S. pork exports, outpacing both beef and chicken exports by 2028. This growth is attributed to factors such as increasing slaughter weights, rising pigs per litter, and higher inventories.

Despite the rise in exports, domestic meat availability is expected to outpace exports, with per capita consumption of all three meats projected to rise through 2033. This growth is driven by rising incomes and consumer preferences for animal proteins.

By 2028, pork exports are projected to exceed broiler chicken exports for the first time in decades. Steady growth in U.S. pork production, coupled with potential challenges in the European Union due to new environmental policies impacting regional pork production, positions the U.S. as a competitive force in the global market.

The USDA’s long-term projection data indicates an overall growth in U.S. meat exports in major categories through 2033. As incomes rise abroad and the U.S. dollar experiences a moderate decline against major agricultural trade partners, the outlook for U.S. red meat and poultry exports appears promising. Projections suggest a 34% increase in U.S. pork exports, reaching 9.34 billion pounds by 2033, with expectations to surpass the previous record set in 2020.