Latin America frozen beef rises to 2nd in market share in Taiwan

10/23/2020 08:53 PM
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Grilled Paraguayan beef at a state banquet. File photo courtesy of the Presidential Office
Grilled Paraguayan beef at a state banquet. File photo courtesy of the Presidential Office

Taipei, Oct. 23 (CNA) Beef imports from Latin America have seen substantial growth this year, turning the region into the second largest source of frozen beef imports in Taiwan, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) said Friday.

Beef from Latin America accounted for 21 percent of Taiwan's total frozen beef imports from January to September this year, a significant increase from its 10.8 percent market share during the same period last year, said TAITRA Executive Vice President Simon Wang (王熙蒙).

Imports of frozen beef imports from Latin America during the nine-month period totaled US$100.47 million, up 82 percent from US$55.28 million over the same period in 2019, according to Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT) statistics.

Frozen beef from the United States had the largest share of Taiwan's frozen beef imports at 39 percent, while frozen beef from New Zealand and Australia fell to third with an 18 percent share during the period, according to TAITRA data.

Despite a 2.2 percent decrease in total frozen beef imports between January and September because of the COVID-19 pandemic, frozen beef imports from the main Latin American beef suppliers to Taiwan – Paraguay, Nicaragua and Honduras – rose 117 percent, 141 percent and 9 percent year-on-year, respectively, Wang said.

The considerable rise in popularity of Latin American beef is because Taiwanese consumers prefer natural ingredients where cattle from the region are said to be grass eating and lower in fat compared to American beef, TAITRA said.

Paraguay is the biggest Latin American supplier of frozen beef to Taiwan, with exports soaring from US$2.41 million in 2014 to US$83.04 million in the first nine months of 2020.

According to Y. C. Tsai (蔡允中), director general of the Foreign Ministry's Department of International Cooperation and Economic Affairs, Taiwanese consumers have increasingly accepted beef from Latin America and the meat goes well in classic local dishes, such as beef noodle soup.

Various styles of beef noodle soup in Taiwan. CNA file photo
Various styles of beef noodle soup in Taiwan. CNA file photo

At present, Taiwan only imports frozen beef from Latin America but it also brings in fresh or chilled beef from North America and Oceania, so Latin America's share of Taiwan's total imported beef market is about 12.8 percent, according to BOFT figures.

(By William Yen and Liang Pei-chi)

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