Many shoppers are in the dark about pork.

Consumer research by the National Pork Board and Merck Animal Health suggests the terminology used in meat departments could be having a bigger than expected impact on purchases, according to a Supermarket News report.

For the survey, NPB found a majority of heavy pork consumers and average pork consumers believed “top loin” pork chops were superior to pork loin chops or pork rib chops.

“The top loin pork chop was overwhelmingly thought to be tender, better quality, and what both groups would purchase,” said Jarrod Sutton, NPB's assistant vice president of channel marketing said in the report, adding that, “As we get into the nomenclature research, you can quickly find out that consumers thought the top loin chops were the best because they say 'top.' Top's the best, right? This is what consumers are telling us, and it's across the board.”

NPB plans more consumer research in 2012 to assess possible changes to pork cut terminology.