What Aren’t You Telling Consumers?

Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about what’s in the food they eat, and especially what isn’t. Nielsen reports that consumers’ awareness of several key fresh meat claims has jumped 9 to 11 points in just two years.

To that end, food labels have become much more important to the consumer as they make choices, which means the pork industry needs to take a critical look at how we’re meeting their needs on the package.

According to National Pork Board’s Insight to Action research, 47 percent of consumers say they “read the nutrition label and ingredients very carefully” before they buy any food or beverages.

What they’re looking for on those labels is as much about what the food is free from, as it is about transparency: “antibiotic free,” “clean label,” “hormone free,” and “food transparency” are the top four most important factors for all consumers when buying meat or seafood products.

While many may chalk this up to Millennials, these trends transcend generations: Baby Boomers are even more likely than the average consumer to list “food transparency” as something that’s important. Possibly even more important, they’re willing to pay more for food that meets this need.

Without more information or disruption, consumers will continue to focus on what they perceive is in their food, and those items with “no negatives” will hold more sway.

This is true for diners having Healthy Family Favorite dinner occasions. These diners, who skew toward Baby Boomers with school-age to early college-aged children dining with them, prepare dinners that are crowd pleasing, but also fresh and healthy. Nearly one-third of diners in this occasion say that most of their diet “consists of freshly prepared, less processed foods and beverages.”

To meet the needs of label-conscious consumers, we need to leverage on-pack real estate to help consumers first see what’s not in fresh pork. These labels should begin with rebutting some of consumers’ most-common misconceptions about pork: it’s high in fat, high in sodium and high in cholesterol.

In addition to touting the American Heart Association’s “Heart Healthy” certification for the tenderloin and sirloin, focusing on pork’s low-sodium content is especially important. For a 3-ounce serving, pork tenderloin has less naturally occurring sodium than chicken breast – 48 mg in roasted pork tenderloin versus 73 mg in roasted chicken breast, according to the USDA.

Beyond highlighting what pork doesn’t have, we should focus on pork’s health attributes, especially protein. As we noted in last week’s Insight to Action enewsletter, 55 percent of consumers say “high protein” is an important attribute when purchasing food for their household. But only 37 percent of consumers consider pork loin a “high protein food,” defined as containing more than 20 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving.

In fact, nearly as many consumers – 32 percent – believe that one serving (2 tablespoons) of peanut butter is actually a high protein food. In reality, one serving of peanut butter contains just 8 grams of protein, compared to the 23 grams of protein pork loin contains per 3-ounce serving.

To “own” the plate in this dinner occasion, we must continue to help consumers know pork as the healthy, versatile family-friendly protein we know and love, by highlighting its health benefits or by shining a spotlight on what consumers will be happy they won’t find in fresh pork.

Want a bit more context on Health Family Favorites? Check out our brief video webinar!

Watch the webinar!


Pig Farmers Have a Vested Interest in Healthy Families!

Raising lean, healthy and nutritious pork is a daily focus of pig farmers across the U.S. For the Stevermer family, who raise pigs in Minnesota, it’s a personal mission. See how this family connects their passion for running with their passion for pig farming, and how they work to share pork’s nutrition story with other athletes.

Want to put the data to the test?
I can help you craft an action plan.

Angie Krieger

Angie Krieger

Assistant Vice President, Channel Outreach

National Pork Board Cell: 319-594-4000 akrieger@pork.org