Think dietitians are only interested in pork nutrition? They also want to know about pork production practices, sustainability and more.

“The conversations around pork have changed,” said Adria Sheil-Brown, manager of nutrition communications and research for the Pork Checkoff. “We were reminded of this when we recently attended the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference in Atlanta.”

With more than 8,000 attendees, including registered dietitians, nutrition professionals, chefs and other key influencers, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference is a prime opportunity to share pork’s story. Both Pork Checkoff staff and Alicia Pedemonti, a pork producer from New Hampshire, interacted with this eager-to-learn audience.

“Having a pork producer there makes it more real for attendees,” said Pedemonti, who helps bridge the disconnect between farmers and consumers. “People still imagine a farmer as a picturesque old man in overalls and don’t realize that producers today are nutritionists, scientists, environmental stewards and so much more.”

Pedemonti answered many questions about her background, her farm and how she raises her animals. “I noted that farmers are the original environmental stewards,” Pedemonti said. “I also emphasized that pork is a safe, nutritious product. We raise it to the highest standards, because we feed the same product to our own families.”

Showing a passion for pork  

This was a message attendees could sink their teeth into, as the Pork Checkoff served Pork Quinoa Salad with Cherries and Balsamic.

“This salad was a huge hit,” Sheil-Brown said. “You do a lot of eating at this show, and protein definitely stands out in a sea of carbs.”

Many attendees welcomed the Pork Checkoff’s recipe cards and excitedly shared how they were going to make the Pork Quinoa Salad at home. They also appreciated the breadth of materials the Pork Checkoff offered at its booth, covering everything from sustainability and nutrition to portion sizes, new pork cut names and more.

“Every year we hear more questions about how pork is raised,” Sheil-Brown noted. “We’re excited to explain how pork producers are taking big steps to lighten their environmental footprint while providing a safe, healthy, nutritious product.”

The Pork Checkoff’s #PorkBucketList contest and on-site photo booth also motivated participants to show their passion for pork, as they dressed up in pig-themed gear and snapped fun photos to share on social media.

“Events like this are a great opportunity to promote pork,” Pedemonti said. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to share our message.”