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Pork Producers Hope to Profit During World Cup

by 5m Editor
1 June 2010, at 6:21am

SOUTH AFRICA - In an effort to increase sales during the Soccer World Cup, the pork industry says it plans to promote pork to international guests and locals as the healthier option over other meat products.

Simon Streicher, CEO of the South African Pork Producers Organisation, said yesterday that pork was often a main meal choice around the world.

The local pork industry wanted to ensure that consumers trust the science, high health status and quality assurance systems behind pork bought from reputable supermarkets or independent butcheries.

The 400 South African pork producers manage 103000 sows and produce about 165000 tons of pork a year, according to BusinessDay.

Beef remains SA’s favourite red meat, followed traditionally by lamb. But over the past decade pork consumption has overtaken lamb, according to agricultural statistics. White meat — mainly chicken — is the most popular meat of all, being more affordable than red meat. The average South African eats nearly 30kg of chicken a year.

The consumption of chicken and other poultry has grown 62.6 per cent in a decade, from 874000 tons in 1998 to 1,421-million tons in 2008.

The average South African ate 17.9kg of beef, 4.4kg of pork and 3.4kg of lamb last year.

Mr Streicher said South African pork not only compared favourably with the best in the world, but was an excellent source of heme-iron, which carried oxygen from the lungs to the brain and muscles.

South African pork also scored high in the supply of all the B vitamins, in particular vitamin B1 (thiamin). Thiamin is involved in the energy-releasing process from carbohydrates , and plays an important role in the breakdown of protein and fat from the diet.

“It assists greatly in the supply of energy in the body, a much- needed function for active sports players and enthusiasts such as football players and fans.

“Visitors during the World Cup 2010 can enjoy and consume local pork with confidence,” he said.

Johannes Möller, president of Agri SA, said the world, and Europe in particular, had enjoyed exposure to South African agriculture and food exports for many years. Visiting soccer fans might already be familiar with SA’s wine, fruit, cheese and meat.

Those wanting to try something local “will surely ask for ‘pap and vleis’,” Mr Möller said.

With a heritage of producing world-class food products, he said one of SA’s “hidden jewels in the crown is the pork industry”. It was producing meat of the highest quality and safety.