In challenging times for producers, the Pork Checkoff’s domestic marketing efforts are paying off. In a news conference held during the World Pork Expo, National Pork Board officials reported positive response to its consumer campaigns.
"The current consumer campaign, Pork. Be inspired®, is moving product at the retail meat case and in restaurants," says Chris Novak, National Pork Board CEO. "In the first quarter of this year, total pounds of pork sold at retail were up 9.9 percent over first quarter last year and total dollars in sales were up 4.7 percent. Average retail price was down due to higher supplies, but the increased volume more than offset the decrease in average price."
To further bolster consumer demand, a new summer marketing campaign was launched this week to communicate the current relative value of pork, educate consumers on the new pork cut names and reinforce proper pork cooking by talking about the ideal range of doneness.
"This is a critical time for our farmers and a challenging year for the industry overall," says Karen Richter, National Pork Board president and pork producer from Montgomery, Minn. "For consumers, high prices at the gas pump and a tight food budget mean they’re searching for bargains, but they still expect great taste and variety in meals. And that’s good news for pork."
In April, the National Pork Board rolled out new names for some traditional cuts of pork as a way to address the lack of consumer understanding of pork cuts and how to prepare them.
Based on extensive consumer research, the new cut names were selected to enhance value in the meat cuts and new simplified labels were developed to better explain proper cooking techniques.
"This does mean we’ll have to say goodbye to names like ‘pork butt’," Richter says, "but we believe consumers will feel more confident in their ability to choose and prepare pork that provides great flavor and versatility at a budget-friendly price."
The new porterhouse pork chop, ribeye pork chop and New York pork chop are featured in the summer marketing campaign being promoted through national radio and online advertising, food media spokespersons and social media engagement. As a part of the campaign, consumers will be able to tap into online coupons that have proven effective in driving visitor traffic to pork-focused consumer websites.
About the National Pork Board
The National Pork Board has responsibility for Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold. Importers of pork products contribute a like amount, based on a formula. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in advertising, consumer information, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, technology, swine health, pork safety and environmental management. For information on Checkoff-funded programs, pork producers can call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675 or check the Internet at www.pork.org.