Differentiating U.S. pork from its international competitors to help global consumers make more informed purchase decisions, and to grow market share are the drivers behind the Global Pork Positioning Study. This joint research project is carried out by the U.S. Meat Export Federation and funded by the National Pork Board.

“Identifying key messages about U.S. pork that resonate with international consumers is the idea behind the Global Pork Positioning Study,” says Tom Lipetzky, USMEF vice president of international programs. “In an already highly competitive market, it’s becoming more of a ‘branded’ world. It’s critical we develop unique positioning and messaging that allow global consumers to quickly identify that U.S. pork is a superior product – great tasting, high quality, nutritious, safe – and a good value.”

The United States is the second-largest pork exporter; in first is Canada.

Promoting U.S. pork is an evolving process as some markets are maturing while new ones are opening up. “In mature markets, brands are an increasingly important tool to differentiate U.S. products, and they provide an opportunity to grow market share,” Lipetzky notes.

The research provides insight into consumer buying behavior, helping USMEF develop a more refined position for U.S. pork that supports branded and commodity products.

The research was conducted in Japan, Mexico and Poland, and provides insight into consumer buying behavior. Japan and Mexico are U.S. pork's No. 1 and No. 2 export markets (including variety meat), valued at $784.2 million and $295 million, respectively, in 2003. Poland, one of the 10 countries to join the European Union in May 2004, is representative of the opportunity in the expanding EU market. “The program’s objective was to survey consumers to determine which messages about U.S. pork were most well-received in each market,” says Lipetzky.

The research showed consumers in all three countries ranked safety and quality assurance at the top for believability, appeal and ability to influence their opinions about U.S. pork.

The strongest message points were refined into a theme, and ads were developed to test their appeal and effectiveness. “We ran ads in several magazines and should have feedback within a few months,” says Lipetzky. “We’ve already sharing some information with our international offices so they can incorporate it into their promotional activities.”

While pork represents nearly 50 percent of daily meat-protein consumption worldwide, the U.S. is facing stiff competition from Canada, Brazil and the EU. Several market-access issues in some countries remain a concern. Despite these obstacles, U.S. pork exports have broken volume records each year for the past 12 years. 

Source: U.S. Meat Export Federation