During this challenging time, a growing number of families are at home together much more than usual, so they’re likely to be eating meals together more often than they typically do. With school and religious activities, sports and entertainment are on hold, all ages are now around the dinner table every night, and the hurried, frantic pace of busy schedules gives way to a lot more time on our hands. According to Datassential research fielded March 13 and 14, about half (47%) of households say they’ve stocked up and are planning to eat at home more. Families with children are especially likely to stock up, with 62% saying they’ve prepared to hunker down.
Families in many parts of the country that are now balancing work-from-home life with homeschooling will benefit from large meals they can cook once and eat twice (or more). Fortunately, fresh pork provides crowd-pleasing family meal-time solutions. Our Insights to Action data found 27% of adults see pork as a crowd pleaser and 21% say fresh pork makes their family happy.
Retailers are on the frontlines of helping households navigate this national crisis as families make plans to have several weeks of food on hand. To help families adjust to these new dinnertime routines, retailers can do these four things:
- Showcase how larger cuts like shoulders and roasts can be cooked once and used for multiple meals, like pulled pork sandwiches, carnitas tacos, and enchiladas. Leftovers can be used for pizza or mac-and-cheese toppings, or as an ingredient in a breakfast scramble.
- Share meal prep recipes that inspire consumers to use one cut in multiple ways. Pork tenderloin can make a delicious roast in the Instant Pot and flavorful Asian-inspired stir fry with vegetables. Pork chops can be roasted in the oven with a simple glaze or grilled with a flavorful rub.
- Remember to showcase seasonings and sauces – especially flavorful, multicultural options – to inspire shoppers who will still want to enjoy a craveable meal. You can also offer pre-sauced packs to make mealtime quicker and easier.
- Help customers keep it simple. In this environment, they likely won’t run back to the store for just one ingredient, so offer simple recipe ideas, or place common ingredients nearby so consumers don’t forget an item.
This challenging time is bringing more families together around the dinner table. We can make meal planning easier for them with larger cuts, flavorful recipe ideas, and meal prep advice. In the coming weeks, we’ll revisit our report, Dinner at Home in America, and share more insights for retailers who are helping consumers navigate this “new normal” in America. We welcome your thoughts too, on how you are helping shoppers plan for weeks at home. Please email us your ideas. In the meantime, we encourage you to visit the Pork Board’s at-home cooking asset library featuring easy pork recipes you can share with consumers on your websites or through social media. These assets are a great way to engage your consumers with helpful cooking and preparation ideas.