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7 Ways to Increase Pork Demand

Cash hog prices this winter are as low as they’ve been in years, with losses for producers in the first quarter of 2017 of around $27 per head, says Chris Hurt, ag economist, Purdue University. More packer capacity, growing exports, and falling retail prices will help hog prices later this year, but for now, the industry needs to move a lot of pork.

“This is a challenging time for agriculture and especially for our producers,” says Jan Archer, National Pork Board (NPB) president and a pork producer from Goldsboro, North Carolina. “Our goals are to help producers during this time and to provide consumers with a great value and quality pork.”

Archer shared a few things the NPB, using Pork Checkoff funds, is doing to keep pork moving through the retail chain.

1. Partnering with grocery retailers.

The NPB is working with the top 10 U.S. grocery retailers, including Walmart, Costco, and Kroger. Promotions include on-pack recipe labels, digital marketing, email blasts, in-store pork promotions and product demos, instant rebate coupons on featured pork cuts, and radio and digital ads.

2. Focusing on foodservice.

NPB is working with high-volume restaurants to present a clear message around the opportunity pork presents through versatility, profitability, availability, and customer appeal. To reach the industry, at large, the foodservice team will launch a print and digital brand campaign with custom ads from February through May 2017.

3. Using marketing and PR.

The Make It A Moment campaign encourages consumers to make every moment – big or small – one worth celebrating. “Using social media, we connect social media users with great-tasting pork recipes to match their meal plans,” says Archer. When people visit the Pork Be Inspired Facebook page, they can open Facebook Messenger to help find the right recipe.

4. Maximizing multicultural marketing.

The Grill For It and Make It A Moment campaigns both feature a Spanish-language site, including one-minute videos to help consumers become more comfortable with cooking pork. Pulled pork in tamales and sandwiches has helped grow consumption.

5. Inspiring new trends.

To help bolster pork sales, the Pork Checkoff is working with retailers to encourage consumers to broaden their options. New ham flavors include salted caramel. Along with ham, NPB is promoting pork roast as a special -occasion meal. A pork loin roast can be ready in an hour. 

6. Promoting U.S. pork exports.

The high value of the U.S. dollar and competition from other countries in key export markets have curbed U.S. pork export demand.

“About 25% of U.S. pork production goes overseas, and we need to keep moving product to keep producers profitable,” says Archer.

Mexico, China, Japan, Korea, and Canada are pork’s big five buyers. The Pork Checkoff, through the U.S. Meat Export Federation, continues to invest in pork promotions overseas, and they are making progress, says Archer.

7. Reaching online consumers.

As consumers search for recipes online for meal planning, the Pork Checkoff’s ads remind them about pork’s great taste and value, says Archer. NPB is also working directly with food bloggers on PorkBeInspired.com.

“Together, we can get through this time,” says Archer. “Pork producers are resilient. We’ve faced challenges before. We want to help our producers in any way we can.” 

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