Research conducted by the pork checkoff has found that more U.S. consumers are rating their enjoyment of pork higher than in previous studies, and consumer-buying habits measured by the USDA 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, N.D. "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% of U.S. households, up seven points from 36% in May 2013, the last time the survey was fielded. In 2010, the consumer target was just 27% of U.S. 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,'" Newman said. "We have found a marked increase in the number of pork champions, with these consumers consistently rating pork higher."
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The study also found that a majority of all fresh pork eaten – 84% at-home and 80% away-from-home – is consumed by a Pork Checkoff target consumer. The total percent 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," 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 U.S. Data through December 2013 showed per capita pork expenditures grew by 5.6% 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%), followed by appearance (50%) and convenience (32%).
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 U.S. population for gender, age, ethnicity and income.
Source: Pork Checkoff