How Brazil Became the World’s Largest Beef Exporter
Brazil is the world’s largest beef exporter, with a projected export volume of 2.6 million metric tons in 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This is more than double the amount of beef exported by the second-largest exporter, India, which is expected to ship 1.2 million metric tons of beef this year. How did Brazil achieve this remarkable feat? Here are some of the factors that contributed to Brazil’s success in the global beef market.
Abundant land and water resources
Brazil has a vast territory of about 8.5 million square kilometers, of which about 60% is suitable for pasture. Brazil also has abundant water resources, with about 12% of the world’s freshwater supply. These natural advantages allow Brazil to raise large numbers of cattle at low costs.
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Favorable climate and disease control
Brazil has a tropical and subtropical climate that is ideal for cattle production, as it allows for year-round grazing and reduces the need for supplemental feeding. Brazil also has a strict sanitary system that prevents the spread of diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), which can affect the quality and safety of beef products.
Competitive prices and quality
Brazil has a diversified beef industry that produces different types of beef for different markets. Brazil exports mainly frozen beef, which is cheaper than fresh or chilled beef, but also has a longer shelf life and can reach distant destinations. Brazil also exports high-quality beef, such as grass-fed and organic beef, which can command premium prices in niche markets. Brazil’s beef industry is also constantly improving its production efficiency and environmental sustainability, which can enhance its reputation and competitiveness in the global market.
Strong demand from emerging markets
Brazil has benefited from the growing demand for beef from emerging markets, especially China, which is the largest importer of Brazilian beef. China’s appetite for beef has increased due to its rising income levels, urbanization, and dietary diversification. China also lifted its ban on Brazilian beef in 2015, after a temporary suspension due to a BSE case in 2012. Other important markets for Brazilian beef include Hong Kong, Egypt, Chile, and Saudi Arabia.
World’s Largest Beef Exporter Country
Brazil is forecast to be the biggest exporter of beef and veal in the world in 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Despite already being the biggest exporter of the meat, Brazil was also one of the countries growing its exports the strongest, together with Argentina and Canada.
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Global Demand for Beef
The global demand for beef has been increasing steadily over the past decade, driven by population growth, urbanization, income growth and dietary changes in emerging markets. According to a report by Grand View Research, the global meat products market size was valued at USD 897.5 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.4% from 2021 to 2027.
Beef is one of the most consumed types of meat worldwide, accounting for about 22% of the total meat consumption in 2019. The major consumers of beef are China, the United States, Brazil, the European Union and India. However, the consumption patterns vary significantly across regions, depending on factors such as culture, religion, price, availability and preferences.
Challenges and Opportunities for Beef Exporters
The beef exporting industry faces several challenges, such as environmental concerns, animal welfare issues, trade barriers, food safety regulations, competition from other protein sources and consumer preferences. However, there are also opportunities for beef exporters to tap into new markets, diversify their products, adopt sustainable practices, improve quality and traceability, and leverage digital technologies.
Some of the key strategies that beef exporters can adopt to increase their competitiveness and market share are:
- Expanding into emerging markets with high demand potential, such as China, Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
- Developing niche products that cater to specific consumer segments, such as organic, grass-fed, halal, kosher or premium beef.
- Investing in research and development to improve productivity, efficiency and quality of beef production.
- Adopting best practices in animal health and welfare, environmental management and social responsibility.
- Enhancing market access and trade facilitation through bilateral or multilateral agreements, tariff reductions and non-tariff measures.
- Building strong brands and customer loyalty through effective marketing and communication.
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