A new campaign promoting loin steaks as a mid-week meal option is set to launch in the autumn, after Defra gave the green light to a proposal from AHDB Pork.
Under its draft strategy, AHDB Pork has committed an extra £1m to marketing British pork over the next three years, with the extra funding weighted heavily towards 2017.
The autumn campaign will be a follow-up to the successful Pulled Pork campaign, the last phase of which ran last April.
Whereas it was aimed at weekend meals, the new campaign will target the lucrative midweek market, AHDB Pork strategy director Mick Sloyan told the NPA South Central spring regional meeting in Newbury on Tuesday.
“We had been waiting on Defra to give us the nod for a campaign that is going to be run in September. That has now been done and we are pressing on,” he said.
“This time we are going to try and tackle the midweek market. We are looking at the loin steak, with a bit of fat around the edge. It won’t be the only thing we go with.”
He added that the loin market was the biggest by volume for the pork sector in the UK. “But if you talk to the processors, it is one of the hardest to make a margin on, which is one of the reasons we are focusing in that area,” he added.
Mr Sloyan said there was a ‘huge amount’ of work to be done, including ‘lining up the retailers and the processors’, but said conversations so far have gone well.
He added that improving consistency in the product, including the thickness, would be part of the campaign, which would include a strong focus on eating quality.
Despite the upward curve in prices over the past year, demand for pigmeat products has remained static, at best, with fresh pork, in particular, struggling to keep pace with other proteins, notably chicken and beef. AHDB consumer research has suggested pork lags behind its competitors on some key measures, such as taste, tenderness, versatility and ease of cooking.
The campaign will seek to address those perceptions. Mr Sloyan highlighted research showing how consumers valued chicken as something to put in the fridge as something they can turn to at any time without necessarily knowing what they are going to do with it’.
“We need to try and get and get into that position,” he said.