Pork continues to be the world's most-eaten meat and consumption continues to grow. The latest data shows that of the world's meat consumption, 41% was pork, 29% was poultry and 25% was beef. Between 1980 and 2000, the volume of pork consumed in the world rose 73%. In the United States, pork's favorability is growing among consumers and on restaurant menus.

"One reason for the increase in U.S. pork popularity is the success of the Pork. The Other White MeatTM campaign, which showcased pork's versatility, convenience and nutritional benefits," said Steve Schmeichel, a producer from Hurley, SD, and chairman of the Demand Enhancement Committee.

"When consumers are asked to rank pork, they give it a 'very favorable' rating. They really like it and are eating it more often."

The "Pork. The Other White Meat" campaign was launched in 1987. Since then, consumers have changed their perception of pork to associate it as white meat, which is critical because 54% of consumers believe white meat is healthier, tastes good, has less fat, is leaner and their families like it.

A checkoff-funded consumer study shows 40% of respondents would like to see more pork on restaurant menus and almost 60% of these consumers felt that pork was different from their routine and was a delicious alternative.

Consumers' interest in pork has helped drive sales of pork both in restaurants and at the retail level.

Chefs and foodservice operators, who continually search for innovative ways to appeal to customers and keep them coming back, recognize the popularity of pork with consumers. A checkoff-funded survey showed new pork items on chain menus grew from 187 items in 1996 to 256 items in 1998. Also, a three-year study showed pork usage growth was twice that of total foodservice growth.

"The study showed growth in almost every cut of pork, from the tenderloin to shoulder," Schmeichel says. "It is no wonder successful chefs around the country are putting more pork on their menus. Pork is popular with consumers, offers something different and chefs appreciate the fact that many pork cuts are highly profitable."

The same is true for supermarkets, which are enjoying the benefits of pork's increasing popularity as shown by the increase in feature advertisements and record retail sales. Pork's share of meat features increased 9.3% from 1999 to 2000. Featuring pork has been rewarding. USDA reports record retail price levels for pork in 2000, which indicates consumers were increasingly willing to pay more for pork.

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