US beef imports this year might increase 25 percent to NT$15 billion (US$511.9 million), after recording a 20 percent gain last year, as Taiwan outpaces other Asian markets in terms of value per kilogram, US Meat Export Federation director Davis Wu (吳秋衡) said on Wednesday last week.
However, growing inflation pressure and protectionism might weigh on demand, Wu added.
Taiwan bought 38,000 tonnes of US beef valued at NT$12 billion last year, a 20 percent increase from 2016, beating Singapore, Japan, South Korea, China and other Asian markets in value per kilogram, Wu said.
The pickup came despite the government’s lifting last year of a 14-year ban on beef imports from Japan, Sweden and the Netherlands. Local dinning facilities have since highlighted the addition of Japanese beef, especially wagyu, to their menus.
“Taiwanese are more receptive to beef of higher quality grades, compared with diners in Japan, South Korea and elsewhere in Asia, accounting for the relatively high proportion of prime and choice beef imports,” Wu told a media briefing in Taipei.
US beef constitutes 40 percent of local consumption, outperforming other places of origin, Wu said.
The trade federation is seeking to increase US beef consumption in Taiwan by launching the “Diamond Plus Precious” certification intended to encourage local restaurants to use US beef.
The reference book, which is to be published in August, would name the 20 best local restaurants that serve US beef at a price of NT$500 to NT$600, Wu said.
More expensive meals are not affordable for average diners and delicious dishes are not necessarily expensive, said Wu, who spent the past six months grading more than 120 restaurants across Taiwan.
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