$4 Billion Sold
Patrick Fleming, Director Market Intelligence
Don Wick: 00:04 From the Pork Checkoff in Des Moines Iowa, it’s Pork Pod. Pork Pod, a look at the hot topics in today’s pork industry. The Pork Checkoff is working for you through various forms of research, promotion, and consumer information projects. This is Don Wick speaking on behalf of the Pork Checkoff and today our guest is Patrick Fleming the Director of Retail Marketing for the National Pork Board. And we know how important grilling is to moving pork. Patrick talk about it. How important is this season for us?
Patrick Fleming: 00:29 It’s a great time for ribs. It’s a great time for, you know, chops and it’s also a great time for sausage. And you know this year especially, it’s even a great time for bacon. Bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches are obviously popular when the tomatoes come in so you know summer is a big time for pork sales. Always has been, and this year it looks really good so far.
Don Wick: 00:54 Do you have some statistics to kind of take a look at what kind of movement we see during the summer season?
Patrick Fleming: 01:01 We do. During the summer period, pork in general does almost a little less than two thirds of its volume. We’re right now, last year, obviously this year isn’t in the bag yet, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, we did over $4 billion in sales last year during this key holiday season. So and that encompasses all the pork products. You know, bellies, chops, roasts, sausage, ribs. So a very strong period. You know in summary in dollars last year we actually outsold chicken during that promotional period. So very strong for pork in the summer.
Don Wick: 01:42 And certainly the Pork Checkoff has taken on a role as really a resource to the retailers and others that are moving our product. Tell us a little bit about that process and how that’s changing as we move forward.
Patrick Fleming: 1:56 You know we’ve always tried to remove roadblocks that you know help, that prevent people from featuring pork aggressively. So whether it’s on the food service channel or on the retail channel, making sure our partners understand the value that pork brings. So you know for their own bottom line, and for their consumer acceptance. You know when you look at pork products driving consumer traffic both at retail you know we were a major feature for Memorial Day and for Fourth of July, especially with ribs. We bring people into the store. But that’s also been reflected on the food service side, when you are looking at pulled pork and ribs at food service. So you know the seasonality has been really good.
Patrick Fleming: 02:40 It’s a strong traffic builder, for both home and away from home purchasing, and the consumer demand goes up. So you know there’s an opportunity for retailers and food service operators to make more money and to provide their consumers with something they really enjoy, which is to taste the flavor of pork.
Don Wick: 03:00 How does the Pork Checkoff work really through that whole food service system to get that message out so it gets to that local meat counter, I guess?
Patrick Fleming: 03:08 We work with retailers specifically to craft custom programs that help them promote and feature pork during the sale, during time timeframe. That can be support at store level with you know point of sale material, recipes, online communication, digital content recipes, how to videos, all that stuff that that takes away some barriers to purchase. I mean we have some new videos out on the Web site right now that we share with our partners that you know show how easy and simple it is to grill you know pork chops. I mean you know how a lot of new and younger consumers just don’t have the confidence to try it. So the little 30 second video that takes them through step by step. Show them how easy it can be to prepare pork and how you know a good eating experience you can have when is properly prepared.
Patrick Fleming: 04:01 So we take some of them barriers out. Also you know with pork, it’s about keeping it top of mind with consumers so a lot of the stuff like point of sale material you know just reminds consumers right at that point of purchase to say yeah you know I didn’t know what I wanted when I walked in the store but you know that picture looks good and you know I can do that. And so you know converts it to pork purchase
Don Wick: 04:23 Good point! When you think about a lot of the consumers today, there probably isn’t that comfort level in the kitchen to try new things but maybe they can do that experiment on the grill. Maybe that’s that first opportunity to learn a little bit more about cooking altogether.
Patrick Fleming: 04:41 Exactly. And you know this year we had a retail campaign which was you know “Grill it like a steak”, which is the same kind of concept. I mean if you’re confident grilling a beef cut on the grill, you can be confident grilling pork, because their end point cooking temperatures are the same you know 145 for medium for a pork chop with a three minute rest per USDA. We have that same cooking so if you like a medium rare steak, you can have medium rare pork chop. If you’re confident doing that, pork is easier. You know so that grilling experience I think you’re absolutely right is a lot easier to get people in to try. Plus grilling is a fun in intensity and much more social event. You know people just love this time of year to get outside and cook. So you know pork has the products that can fill that need.
Don Wick: 05:27 Patrick Fleming from the Pork Checkoff. Thanks to you for listening to this edition of Pork Pod. For more information on this topic or the Pork Checkoff itself, you can visit pork.org