We’ve sacrificed flavour in pursuit of the low fat Holy Grail

Half a century, or more, of official propaganda based on myth and flawed research is so entrenched that many fail to see that there is any other way. No, I don’t mean the EU, or even that farmers need subsidies; I refer to the low fat mythology.

Fat – animal-derived fat, not the namby-pamby, vegetable-derived, often highly-processed version – is good for you.
Yes, good for you, not just extremely tasty, but a vital part of a healthy diet.

A huge industry has emerged, based on the low fat myth, of industrial manufacture of highly processed, low fat, highly refined sugar – ‘healthy’ option food.
The whole world fell for it, aside from a few strange, mainly rural and, usually, agricultural dwellers. Their staple diet remained based on a good fry up and meat and two veg.

There was a time when pig fat was an important product. Fat from Wall’s heavy hogs, not chemically processed vegetable oil, was used to make ice cream. It must have been tastier.

The human body digests, metabolises and stores fats, ready for energy production. Carbohydrates make you fat, not fats.
So what does this all mean to pig farmers? For donkey’s years, our payments for finished pigs, via the P2 measurement, have been based on the absence of fat. This has worked out quite well economically for us. In freshweight terms, lean meat is more economic to produce.

Decades of pursuing lean meat and low back fat has done us a disservice though. We have bred out flavour. This is well known, acknowledged and understood. It was necessary to chase after the low fat, healthy, modern Holy Grail.

It didn’t matter that the product was becoming unfit to eat and consumption fell in the UK. Pork just isn’t the tasty, good-value indulgence that it ought to be.
That assertion is only partially correct though. Many forward-thinking niche producers have been developing their product, based on high welfare and excellent flavour and tenderness by introducing intramuscular fat.

I have excellent experience of eating one or two of these products. ‘Normal’ pork is now a huge disappointment. No wonder it’s in decline.
The more you hear this, the more you might believe it. After all, what you’ve been told by doctors and scientists can’t be wrong, can it?

There is plenty of published work dispelling the low fat myth. People I know have cut out carbs, upped animal fats and watched the weight fall off them.
A higher animal fat diet and breeding flavour back into our pigs must reverse the decline. Surely that must be good.

Get Our E-Newsletter - Pig World's best stories in your in-box twice a week
Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy

About The Author