Pork can be a powerful part of a healthy diet and during American Heart Month, the Pork Checkoff teamed with Food Network Star finalist, Chef Judson Allen, to promote pork’s health benefits to African American consumers.

“Chef Allen is a great ambassador for pork,” said Jose de Jesús, director of multicultural marketing for the Pork Checkoff.  “Not only was pork a big part of his personal transformation, losing 100-plus pounds, but it plays a key role in his signature soul food.”

The February campaign was geared toward African Americans as part of the Checkoff’s new focus on multicultural consumers. Heart-healthy eating is especially important for African Americans, who are at increased risk for high blood pressure.  This condition can, in turn, increase the risk of heart disease and can cause permanent heart damage even before symptoms appear.

“Pork tenderloin, certified as heart-healthy by the American Heart Association, offers a tasty option to make lean dishes flavorful and delicious,” de Jesús said.

Keep the Soulful Flavors
Tenderloin is one of seven pork cuts that are, on average 16 percent leaner than 20 years ago. Other lean team cuts are New York pork chops, New York pork roasts, porterhouse pork chops, ribeye pork chops, ground pork and sirloin pork roasts.

“When I made the decision to incorporate more healthy foods into my diet, I wanted to be able to keep the soulful aromas and flavors from the dishes that I grew up eating,” said Chef Allen, who hails from Chicago.

“That’s why many of my new recipes includes pork tenderloin,” Allen said. “You can still get the delicious flavor you love and still feel good about your choice because it’s as lean as a skinless chicken breast.”

To recreate the flavors he enjoyed while growing up, Allen now makes heart healthy BBQ Roasted Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Collard Greens and Caramelized Onions. To spread the word about his recipe, available at porkbeinspired.com, Allen participated in live and taped media interviews on behalf of the Checkoff. 

Allen and the Checkoff also teamed with one of inspirational music’s most popular radio programs, The Yolanda Adams Morning Show, to help spread the benefits of pork and encourage listeners to try his recipe.

The partnership with the Yolanda Adams Morning Show included eight 60-second promotional spots that ran throughout February, one on-air interview with Chef Allen and a dedicated contest landing page on theyolandaadamsmorningshow.com. In addition, four text messages were sent out to 15,000 subscribers, who are fans of the show. Total impressions (or views) of the partnership with the Yolanda Adams Morning Show was 1.22 million.

The heart healthy pork message was also extended through nationwide radio with a targeted audio news release (ANR), reaching radio listeners from coast-to-coast. The radio package was distributed to African American radio programs and featured Chef Allen and his recipe. The segments aired a total of 69 times and generated a total of 3.44 million impressions.

Spreading the Word Through Social Media
To keep the momentum going, Chef Allen tapped into the power of social media in February. Consumers who tried Allen’s recipe – or any other tenderloin recipe found at porkbeinspired.com – and shared it socially using #PorkHeartHealth had a chance to win an “I Heart Pork” prize pack.

A print placement was also secured in Cuisine Noir and Chef Allen held a live in-studio cooking demonstration on WGN-TV.

One final partnership to promote the health benefits of pork was an hour-long webinar hosted by Chef Allen and the Checkoff for the National Organization of Blacks in Dietetics and Nutrition members, held in early March. Adria Sheil-Brown, manager of nutrition communication and research for the Pork Checkoff shared the nutritional benefits of pork, nomenclature messaging and research being completed on the health benefits of pork. Chef Allen provided healthful ways to enjoy pork and included a personal touch by sharing his own health journey and how pork has played a role on his journey to lose weight.

Inspiration Resonates with a Wide Audience
In total, February Heart month outreach generated 8,112,539 media impressions.

“Chef Allen is inspirational, and his message resonates with a wide audience,” de Jesús said. “His personal story shows how people can enjoy favorite family recipes in healthier ways with lean cuts of pork.”