America's pork producers have uncovered new insights into consumer preferences with the results of their first-ever pork awards program.

The National Pork Board announced the winners of the inaugural Consumer's Choice Pork Awards on April 9 in New York City. Designed to recognize the most innovative new products, the awards program offered a jury of consumers an opportunity to select the best of class.

According to TODAY Show food trends editor Phil Lempert, the "Supermarket Guru," U.S. pork producers have consistently offered something different because of a proven insight into consumer needs that has driven a quest for innovation.

"As someone who spends most of his time monitoring food trends and the shopping habits of American families, the pork industry has demonstrated that they're listening to consumers," says Lempert. "Through their history of innovation – from breeding leaner hogs to developing marketing programs that speak to current lifestyle trends – America's pork producers have delivered high-quality products that fit a variety of consumer needs, which is what the Consumer's Choice Pork Awards celebrate."

This annual award recognizes supermarket products introduced after June 2000 that were scored by consumers for good taste, a fit for busy lifestyles, overall product appeal and likelihood of purchase. In late 2001, NPB called for nominations from consumers, industry experts, retailers and others across the country to find the latest pork products that reflect shoppers' lifestyle needs. More than 50 entries were received with new convenient products ranging from pre-cooked bacon, ribs and barbecued pulled pork to pre-seasoned and sliced pork roast.

An industry expert panel narrowed down the qualifying Consumer's Choice Pork Award nominations to a pool of 10 finalists, and a jury of consumers selected the top five most innovative pork products. The winning products are:

  • Homestyle Seasoned Pork Roast with Gravy (John Morrell & Co and RMH Foods) was selected based on its winning combination of home-cooked flavor and convenient 10-minute preparation time.
  • Genuine Pulled Pork Bar-B-Que Slathered with Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Sauce (Dinosaur Bar-B-Que) was recognized for its authentic barbecue taste and hassle-free heat-and-eat preparation with only two minutes cooking time required in the microwave.
  • Pork Chop on a Stick (Iowa Quality Meats) was not only a winner for its flavor, but also for its ease of storage with individually wrapped pork chops.
  • Ready-to-Serve Bacon (Oscar Mayer Division, Kraft Foods North America) was a favorite among consumers because it is fully cooked and ready to serve or warm in the microwave for adding flavor to sandwiches or salads.
  • Thomas E. Wilson Italian Seasoned Pork Roast (IBP, Tyson Family Food Company) was chosen because of its ease of preparation – it's pre-seasoned and pre-sliced – with a cooking time that can be as little as five minutes.

Manufacturers of the winning products will be awarded a keepsake Consumer's Choice Pork Awards golden fork trophy and granted free exclusive use of an official award seal in merchandising efforts for one year.

In today's marketplace, consumers with busy lifestyles want it all: taste, convenience and healthful meals.

"There is not one motivator that drives Americans' shopping and purchase decisions. The versatility among these winning products reveal that America's pork producers understand the needs of today's consumers," says Lempert. "The Consumer's Choice Pork Awards winners demonstrate to consumers – from the busy mom who needs to get dinner on the table in less than 20 minutes, to the novice cook who doesn't know the difference between baking and broiling – that they don't have to sacrifice great taste for convenience."

For more information about the Consumer's Choice Pork Awards and the winning products or for information on nominating a product for next year's awards, contact Becca Hendricks at 515-223-2788, or via e-mail at consumerschoice@porkboard.org .

For pork recipes and information, visit the National Pork Board's newly redesigned Web site at www.otherwhitemeat.com.

National Pork Board