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America's Love of Pork Continues to Burn Strong

24 March 2014

US - Results of a new consumer tracking study released by the Pork Checkoff find that more American consumers are reporting an enduring love for pork. Key research findings show more US consumers rate their enjoyment of pork higher than in previous studies. Additionally, consumer-buying habits measured by the US Department of Agriculture also show more consumers are buying pork.

"People are becoming more passionate about their consumption of pork," said David Newman, chair of the Pork Checkoff domestic marketing committee and a pig farmer from Fargo, ND. "These two studies confirm that consumers are eating more in recipes and as a menu item because of its value, flavor and versatility."

Consumers taking part in the Pork Checkoff study were asked to rate pork cuts on a 10-point scale, resulting in a demonstrated increase in the volume of consumers who rank pork as an eight or higher.

This tracking study indicates the size of the Pork Checkoff’s consumer target has grown to 43 per cent of US households, up seven points from 36 per cent in May 2013, the last time the survey was fielded. In 2010, the consumer target was just 27 per cent of US households. Growth in the target size is attributed to people both rating pork cuts higher and in their confidence in cooking meat.

"We look at how much people enjoy pork and, through that experience, label consumers who love pork as ‘pork champions,’" Mr Newman said. "We have found a marked increase in the number of pork champions, with these consumers consistently rating pork higher."

The study also found that a majority of all fresh pork eaten – 84 per cent at-home and 80 per cent away-from-home – is consumed by a Pork Checkoff target consumer. The total per cent of pork eaten by this target consumer grew significantly since the Pork Be inspired® campaign was introduced in 2011.

"We are beginning to see the impact of our new marketing campaign, and we feel it is making a distinct difference in the marketplace and how American consumers view and buy pork," Mr Newman said. "Across the board, consumers are buying more pork from stores and foodservice outlets."

The tracking study results are further reinforced by the Pork Checkoff’s key measure of domestic marketing: real per capita consumer pork expenditures. Using USDA data, consumer pork expenditures measure both the volume (in pounds) and value (in dollars) of pork sold in the United States. Data through December 2013 showed per capita pork expenditures grew by 5.6 per cent from 2012 to 2013.

The consumer tracking study also asked pork eaters, "Other than price, what most influences your meat-purchasing decisions?" The top three drivers of meat purchases are quality (63 per cent), followed by appearance (50 per cent) and convenience (32 per cent).

The nationally fielded tracking study is conducted by the Pork Checkoff twice each calendar year and most recently in November 2013. Respondents are representative of the US population for gender, age, ethnicity and income.

ThePigSite News Desk

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