Global pork competition remains fierce

By Kevin Mosser

Editor’s note: Kevin Mosser is the Senior Director, Global Marketing, Canada Pork. He can be contacted at

Pork is a staple in many Asian cuisines. Braised Canadian pork belly and bok choy (a type of cabbage), shown here, is one example of Asian inspiration using Canadian ingredients.

The Canadian pork industry has enjoyed considerable growth over the last three to four decades, due in large part to a focus on developing export opportunities for Canadian pork products around the globe. For years, markets in Asia have been considered highly regarded outlets for quality-assured pork processed by Canada’s federally inspected packers, from pigs raised by the many farmers found from coast-to-coast.

Today, Canada is the world’s third-largest exporter of pork behind the European Union (E.U.) and the U.S. Currently, Canada exports 71 per cent of all pork produced, which is higher than any other international producer. Chile exports 42 per cent of its pork, followed by Brazil at 30 per cent, the United Kingdom (U.K.) at 27 per cent and the U.S. at 24 per cent.

Competition is fierce as countries look to expand their share of the export marketplace. Competitive market access for Canadian pork products remains one of the most important challenges facing the industry, for packers and producers alike.

Recently, a delegation of representatives from Canada Pork and Canada Beef visited several Asian countries to meet with protein industry players and showcase Canadian red meat. Canada Pork, formerly known as ‘Canada Pork International,’ is the market intelligence and promotional organization for the Canadian pork industry, established in 1991 by the Canadian Pork Council (CPC) and Canadian Meat Council (CMC).

International trade show attendance has long been a critical relationship-building exercise for Canada Pork. COVID-19 encouraged us to adapt to virtual options for reaching our audiences, but there is no doubt that face-to-face interactions are better at reinforcing Canada’s respected reputation in the red meat sector.

In addition, trade shows provide an opportunity to conduct technical or marketing seminars to maximize our impact and share the Canadian pork story with current and prospective foreign partners. Given these realities, trade show participation continues to be one of Canada Pork’s highest-rated activities for member companies, according to annual stakeholder satisfaction surveys.

Canadian pork’s a ‘thrilla in Manila’

World Food Expo attendees in the Philippines flocked to the Canada Pork booth to learn about the quality and taste of Canadian pork.

To kick off our latest mission to Asia, Canada Pork participated in the World Food Expo (WOFEX) held in Manila, the Philippines, in early August. WOFEX hosts more than 50,000 attendees annually and is the largest food and beverage show in the country. Canada Pork’s Market Development team exhibited alongside 12 Canada Pork members from six Canadian pork export companies.

The Philippines was the fifth-largest market destination for Canadian pork in 2021 by both volume and value, representing 125,000 tonnes and $300 million.

While in Manila, Canada Pork collaborated with the Trade Commissioner Service in the Philippines – the Government of Canada’s overseas business development bureau – to organize a series of meetings between Canadian pork exporters and local meat importers. More than 75 Filipino in-market buyers were matched with Canadian companies during the three-day event. 

Trevor Sears, President & CEO, Canada Pork delivered a presentation on the importance of the Philippines market to the industry.

“Premium-quality Canadian pork is the result of the hard work of our many producers and processors,” said Sears. “At home in Canada, and here in the Philippines, consumers are afforded the same trustworthy, delicious, nutritious protein that is incredibly versatile and reliable.”

‘Sling’ing Canadian pork in Singapore

Trevor Sears was interviewed by a local food blogger at Food and Hotel Asia about Canada Pork’s experience at the event.

In September, Canada Pork took part in two international events in southeast Asia. First was the Food and Hotel Asia (FHA) trade show in Singapore. FHA took place early in the month at the Singapore Expo, featuring more than 2,000 exhibitors and 50 international group pavilions, hosting more than 57,000 visitors from around the world. Six Canada Pork member exporter companies participated in the Canada Pork booth at FHA.

The event also included a joint Canadian Meat Seminar, presented by Canada Pork and Canada Beef for 45 meat buyers from all over the region to learn more about Canada’s commitment to offering premium quality meat that global consumers know and love. Presentations were delivered by Sears and Albert Eringfeld, Executive Director, Export Market Development, Canada Beef.

On the pork side, the seminar provided a look at global market conditions, an overview of the Canadian pork industry and available supporting resources, along with an exploration of the Verified Canadian Pork brand. The Verified Canadian Pork logo appears on packaged pork products sold at the retail level in Canada and overseas, informing consumers that these products are backed by top industry standards in food safety, animal care and traceability.

The Verified Canadian Pork value proposition is built upon the connection between Canada’s on-farm and in-plant quality assurance systems. For producers, those are represented by the PigSAFE and PigCARE components of the Canadian Quality Assurance (CQA) and Canadian Pork Excellence (CPE) programs.

Don’t ‘Pho’-get Vietnam

Information session participants are provided various resources to keep Canadian pork on their minds.

Following FHA, in late September, Canada Pork traveled to Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Vietnam to host meetings between Canada Pork member delegates and local importers.

Vietnam was the seventh-largest market for Canadian pork by volume and eighth-largest by value in 2021, representing almost 25,000 tonnes and more than $50 million.

The visit to Ho Chi Minh City also provided the opportunity for the Canadian delegation to visit with several large importers to conduct high-level meetings at their corporate offices, followed by tours of local grocery stores around the city.

Between Singapore and Vietnam, the two-week trip provided the occasion to meet new customers, create market development opportunities, and build profile and awareness for Canada Pork in southeast Asia – a fast-growing market for Canadian pork.

Canadian quality, enjoyed globally

Up next, Canada Pork will meet the world in France for SIAL Paris.

Following the successful visit to Asia, in mid-October, Canada Pork will accompany Canadian pork exporters at SIAL Paris, held every two years. The Salon International de l’Alimentation (SIAL) network was founded in 1964 and today includes 14 leading food and beverage shows across the world.

Whether in Asia, Europe or elsewhere, international trade shows and market development activities, including seminars and business-to-business sessions, are important components of an overall strategy to improve market access and establish a global preference for Canadian pork.

Market access and global preference, in turn, benefits not only our trusted international buyers but also the tens of thousands of individuals whose livelihoods are based in Canadian pork production, processing and related parts of the value chain. Canada Pork is proud to represent these members and works tirelessly to promote their good work and products.