The National Pork Board has launched its first-ever Consumer Advisory Panel. Comprised of thought-leaders representing the culinary, nutrition, retail and pork industries, the nine-member panel will provide food trend and industry insights and help further educate consumers on pork throughout the year.

“We partnered with these experts to create a third-party resource for both consumers and media. The panel will help provide education in the areas they are most knowledgeable regarding food and pork, such as nutrition, cooking techniques, meat-case trends and pork production,” says Pamela Johnson, NPB's director of consumer communications.. “With the combination of our experts’ diverse backgrounds and unique skill sets, plus the resources at NPB, we believe we have the perfect mix of individuals to continue educating America about pork.”

With varied perspectives, national recognition and regional roots, the nine participants make up a power panel of experts:

  • Culinary: Rick Bayless (Chicago), award-winning chef-restaurateur of famed Topolobampo and Frontera Grill, cookbook author, and television personality
  • Michael Giletto (Mickleton, N.J.), executive chef of Cherry Valley Country Club, recent competitor on “Iron Chef America” as part of Cat Cora’s team, and culinary instructor at the JNA Culinary Institute in Philadelphia
  • Dave Lieberman (New York, N.Y.), cookbook author, Food Network TV personality and contributing editor toSaveurand Women’s Health
  • Nutrition: Laura Pensiero (Rhinebeck, N.Y.), restaurateur, registered dietitian, chef, cookbook author and partner of the New York-based Just Salad restaurant group
  • Elizabeth Ward (Reading, Mass.), registered dietitian, freelance writer, nutrition consultant and accomplished speaker
  • Retail: Craig Watkins (Cincinnati), meat merchandiser and retail expert at Remkes Market
  • Industry: Barb Determan (Early, Iowa), Iowa pork producer and member of the Pork Safety Committee and Chairperson of the Nutrition Committee for the National Pork Board
  • Brad Greenway(Mitchell, S.D.), South Dakota pork producer and newly-elected chair for Demand Enhancement Committee at the National Pork Board
  • Joyce Hoppes (Clive, Iowa), Consumer Information Director for the Iowa Pork Producers Association

Expert Observations: Key Trends in 2009

The panelists predict the following food trends as they pertain to the pork industry this year and beyond, which echo broader themes felt around the country.

  • Affordable Flavor – Given the current economic climate, affordable food choices rank among top consumer concerns. Yet despite a tough economy, authentic flavor will still drive food choices.
  • Nutrition Bang for your Buck – From a health and wellness standpoint, consumers will focus on the positive benefits of their food choices – how to enhance their health versus deprive themselves – and getting good nutritional value from the foods they buy.
  • Back to Basics – Cooks everywhere will feel compelled to choose simple ingredients with a focus on comfort food. Slow-cooking will experience a resurgance.
  • Love Affair with Bacon – Bacon continues beyond breakfast. From entrées to desserts, this savory indulgence will continue to star on restaurant menus and home tables alike.

Throughout 2009 the Consumer Advisory Panelists will lend support to NPB’s public relations outreach and marketing activities whenever possible. Additionally, panelists are available to media to provide expert input on pork, trend insights, recipes, cooking tips, nutrition news and industry happenings.

Source: National Pork Board