The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture has awarded researchers from Arizona State University and the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture grant funding to examine consumer preferences for U.S. beef and to estimate beef import demand in select countries within Asia, Europe and Latin America.
Leading the effort is Carola Grebitus, associate professor of food industry management in the Morrison School of Agribusiness at ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business. The $477,131 grant will fund the researchers’ insights regarding the economic implications of changes in trade policies and provide information on how the U.S. beef export market can be strengthened.
“This project will evaluate consumers’ willingness to pay and demand for U.S. beef in select markets that are important to U.S. exports and overall global beef trade,” said Grebitus. “Our findings will provide information to beef producers and processors with regards to beef characteristics that are important to consumers in different parts of the world, and shed light on whether shoppers are willing to pay a premium for U.S. beef.”
While the United States is one of the largest beef exporters in the world, recent years have been fraught with trade disputes that have impacted agricultural trade, such as the trade war with China; U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership; a renegotiated U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement; and ongoing trade negotiations with the European Union. Although China opened its market to U.S. beef in 2017, beef exports to this region have remained negligible, further prompting research to help strengthen and expand the U.S. beef export markets.
Beef is one of the largest U.S. agricultural exports, making it a vital sector to analyze for global trade. “Maintaining and expanding foreign markets for U.S. beef is crucial to the economic viability of U.S. agriculture,” said co-project director Karen DeLong, associate professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Tennessee. “This project will provide beef producers and processors with information of potentially significant drivers of future beef demand and important information regarding the potential for U.S. beef in foreign markets.”
The three-year project is funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and will target specific markets that are important to U.S. exports and overall global beef trade. Japan and Mexico are the two largest markets for U.S. beef and will be among the countries chosen for this study, along with three emerging markets: China, the U.K. and Germany. The three emerging markets were also chosen because they are representative of key regions around the world, allowing research results to be extrapolated for other countries.
“Ultimately, this project will provide insights regarding the economic implications of changes in the aforementioned trade policies and provide information on how the U.S. beef export market can be strengthened,” said co-project director Andrew Muhammad, Blasingame Chair of Excellence in Agricultural Policy at the University of Tennessee. “The policy relevance lies in the analysis of different export markets outside the U.S. and whether or not foreign consumers are likely to purchase U.S. beef with different characteristics, and then using these results to assess the impact of pending and existing trade agreements on U.S. beef exports.”