Repositioning Pork to Reach a Changing Audience

Wed, 14 Jun 2017

US - With the consumer market for pork and other protein sources changing rapidly, the Pork Checkoff is putting the finishing touches on a plan to capitalize on those changes by repositioning pork marketing, Terry O’Neel, president of the National Pork Board, told an audience at World Pork Expo last week (Thursday, 8 June).

“The Pork Checkoff has embarked on a journey to determine how best to market pork today,” Mr O'Neel, a pork producer from Friend, Nebraska, said. “The direction may be drastically different than we’ve seen in the last quarter century.”

The big changes that require a new marketing plan, the National Pork Board’s chief executive officer Bill Even said, are driven by what he called “the three M’s”:

  • Millennials: America’s largest generation has increasing buying power and makes buying decisions differently than its predecessor generations.
  • Mobile: The speed of communication and access to information fuels demand, requiring constant attention to new means of communication.
  • Multicultural: Currently 36 per cent of the US population, the newest arrivals to the US and their families will make up 50 per cent of the population by 2050.

Mr Even said that responding to those drivers in a way that assures pork demand remains strong prompted the National Pork Board to spend the past year conducting extensive research to define the critical needs of pork marketing. The research has included in-depth discussions with producers, packers, processors, retailers, foodservice, and consumers.

Jarrod Sutton, the National Pork Board’s vice president of domestic marketing, said the research was designed "to find the marketing sweet spot at the intersection of market trends such as population growth and growing market diversity; market opportunity that capitalizes on pork’s flavour, convenience and value, and marketing tools the Checkoff can use to reach younger and more diverse audiences."

Mr Sutton views the changing marketplace as an opportunity to inspire all segments of the pork chain to find new ways to succeed. The signs are positive, Mr Sutton said. Demand for protein remains strong. Red meat and poultry production is projected to grow over the next three years — by 6.6 per cent for beef, by 9 per cent for poultry and by 12.3 per cent for pork, starting with projections that 2017 will be a record year for pork production.

Mr Sutton said the new direction of Pork Checkoff-funded marketing will build on the three pillars of pork’s brand identity – quality, trust and value – and "will provide a unique value to the pork supply chain to position itself as the industry leader in knowledge of the consumer’s requirements and preferences, insights into category growth, and future-proof solutions for stakeholders to grow and thrive in a rapidly changing world."

Mr O'Neel said he expects that the new marketing strategy will be deployed early in 2018.