The National Pork Board is participating in an immersion trip to Mexico to gain insight into the Hispanic market. Pork Checkoff Vice President of Domestic Marketing Jarrod Sutton explains the importance of this target audience and this unique trip in this edition of PorkPod
Jarrod Sutton, Vice President of Domestic Marketing, National Pork Board
Don Wick: 00:04 From the Pork Checkoff in Des Moines, Iowa, this is 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. I’m Don Wick speaking on behalf of the Pork Checkoff. And today our guest is Jarrod Sutton, Vice President of Domestic Marketing for the national Pork Board. And the Pork Checkoff has had a focus on the Hispanic market for some time, but some unique efforts are underway. Jarrod tell us, first of all, why the focus on this ethnic market.
Jarrod Sutton: 00:34 Well Don, I think the immediate opportunity as we see it for the National Pork Board is the changing demographics and the changing population in this country in the US. And as we worked to really understand more about how that influences, uh, the implications report, how it influences purchases, how it influences consumer behavior is really pretty at an exciting time. It’s really interesting. We’re learning a lot of new things about how you know the ethnicities and the changing demographics in this country. Um, think about our product and what we’re discovering is opportunities to position the product a bit differently so that we can really give them freedom to enjoy our product that much more frequently. And so I think especially as it relates to the Hispanic consumer and as that population continues to grow in the United States, we see through the acculturation process a Hispanic US consumers may tend to eat a little less pork.
Jarrod Sutton: 01:36 Now, keep in mind they still consume more pork per person, per capita than, um, than any other segment of consumers. And so it’s still a great story, but, but we want to know more about why that acculturation process. So in other words, the longer they’re in the US, um, you know why that sort of starts to tail off a bit. And so what we’re doing here is really creating this comprehensive landscape, if you will, for understanding of the Hispanic consumer and specifically where we’re starting the Mexican consumer. How that acculturation process influences the changing, how they change their thoughts and behaviors and attitudes as it relates to meet and specifically with pork. And so population grows, that creates opportunities. We want to make sure that we’re positioning the product the right way so that it can grow with that population. They can continue to enjoy us pork and hopefully be able to increase consumption.
Jarrod Sutton: 02:34 And so what we need to do is understand starting with the consumer in Mexico, how do they see pork, how do they think about pork, what’s their perception of pork and the wet markets versus pork and the supermarkets versus pork in the restaurants. Um, and we’re actually putting a team together and traveling to Mexico to experience that through the eyes of the Mexican consumers. It’s a 4 to 5 day full immersion where we’re going to be touring lots of difference, a wet markets and restaurants and retail processing facilities in Guadalajara city as well as Mexico City. And then the next step is understanding how that first generation, Mexican consumer thinks about pork, feels about pork, consumes pork here in the US as they, um, migrate to this country. And then what does the next generation look like? And even the next generation. And that’s part of the acculturation process.
Jarrod Sutton: 03:27 How do their eating habits change? Um, what does that mean for Pork? What are the implications there for pork products, the more we can understand what are those barriers to purchasing more or potentially what is that linkage and that affinity with our product and how do we position our brand to connect with that, to resonate with those consumers to maintain that consistent frequency of purchasing. And as I said, potentially increase it that much more. So really it’s a deep dive understanding that total acculturation process for specifically the Mexican Hispanic consumer in the US and effectively positioning the brand in our communication strategy to maintain that level of consumption and ultimately grow it.
Don Wick: 04:11 This immersion trip a very much a hands on approach, kind of a unusual, I would think. It seems like a great way to, to really get into the mindset of this consumer.
Jarrod Sutton: 04:22 That’s really what our goal is with a trip into Guadalajara and Mexico City, we’re going to be incognito as much as we can and to or wet markets, visit retail grocery stores, you know, meet with some chefs, meet with some of the retailers in that country and meet with some of the meat processors, understand how they position the product, how they market the product, how they merchandise the product. One of the early findings for us, Don, and the qualitative research that we’ve been doing with the Hispanic consumer in the US and specifically of Mexican descent is this perception of pork in the retail case being processed, I don’t people can define processed a lot of different ways, but the perception is, especially from the Mexican consumer perspective, that the pigs that are featured in the wet markets in Mexico were harvested that day. So there’s a perception of that product being fresh.
Jarrod Sutton: 05:23 Whereas in this country, the meat that’s in the meat case hasn’t been processed that day. Right? So there’s what we would perceive as potentially some risks. The Mexican consumer sees that product as fresh, so we’ve got an opportunity to communicate the process in this country and of course bar none the best in the world in terms of consistency and safety in the product. What does that look like? How do pigs in the US become pork and sort of reaffirmed that, that safety and freshness for consumers that may not have experienced the technology, and that cold chain management like we have here in this country. So we’re going to see that firsthand in Mexico will be exposed to everything that the typical Mexican consumer will see and that’s going to really ground us in our, in our efforts to better understand all of those perceptions with pork and directly that affinity with the product.
Don Wick: 06:24 How do you carry that message then onto the, the ultimate retailers or, or folks in the restaurant business, food service. How do you connect that message to them as we move forward?
Jarrod Sutton: 06:36 So to connect the insights and messaging with retailers and we’ve got to build a communication strategy here domestically. All of the retail partners that we work with are hungry for insights and just information, I hate to say education, but, but really information. There are more questions today as this population continues to grow, through the changes that we are and increasing Latino influence in this country. What are the implications with that from a traditional brick and mortar? Especially retailer perspective as they think about the types of cuts that they offer of pork and how they might merchandise them. And so I think for us it’s really developing a thoughtful, a consistent proactive outreach strategy that helps, you know, retailers get in no as quickly as possible based on our discoveries when we learn them. And I think that’s part of this whole shift in our strategy at the Pork Checkoff to be that true sort of consultative partner to retail and food service companies and bring them along on this journey with us as we’re discovering more about consumer sentiments toward our product.
Jarrod Sutton: 07:53 You know, the, the affinity’s that we’ve as we’ve talked about, the motivators to buy, what, what really causes this segment of consumers to tick and, and how can a retailer benefit from that. What should they do differently in Pork Checkoff not only communicating that information but also investing in those companies businesses and as we like to say, kind of underwriting those risks through pilot programs to show them that if you change, you can realize some new profitable growth with pork as a result of positioning this product to meet this specific consumers expectations or needs. So we’re excited about the process and really, you know, putting a lot of thought, a lot of time to due diligence to ensure that it’s credible process, that the insights are rock solid. And then as we communicate that to our retail and food service partners aggressively persistently that we also have a Pork Checkoff funds to invest with those retail and food service companies as well as the packers and processers to effectively changed Don, to do some innovation and create some new product offerings or perhaps merchandise it a bit differently in such a way to realize some new profitable growth.
Don Wick: 09:06 What are the dates and who will be participating on this trip?
Jarrod Sutton: 09:11 So the trip into Mexico begins on May the 6th. It’d be myself, Vice President of Domestic Marketing here at the National Pork Board. Jose de Jesus is our Director of Multicultural Marketing. Steven Gerike is our Assistant Vice President of Channel Marketing. And so Steven is charged with leading a team really on the front lines, engaged with retail and food service companies and will also be with our Vice President of International Marketing, Dr Craig Morris. We will be there, May 6th through May, the 10th. And our partners at the US Meat Export Federation will be our guides. We’ve got a jam-packed agenda for our entire time in Guadalajara City as well as Mexico City. And as I said earlier, we’re, we’re excited to, um, you know, try to blend in as best we can be in cognito and really see what the Mexican consumer sees as it relates to a meat. And specifically how, how pork is merchandise and how pork is offered both the retail and a wet markets as well as I’m on in food service establishments on menus as well.
Don Wick: 10:20 Jarrett Sutton from the National Pork Board, thanks to you for listening to this edition of Pork Pod. For more information on this topic or the Pork Checkoff itself, visit pork.org.