Innovation is key to helping pork compete with other meats

A more innovative approach to pork needs to be taken if the product is to compete as a “meal solution” against other meats, according to a new consumer analysis carried out by AHDB Pork.

Looking at how consumers’ shopping choices have changed in recent years, the analysis finding is that long term population change, alongside busier lives, has created the need for more convenience, developments which “cause a problem for pork” due to its traditional association with protein centred meals.

“There is a need for innovation in order for pork to compete with other meal solutions,” said AHDB Pork, pointing out that current food trends are going against the use of large joints of meat.

“Family size has been changing for a long time, with more one and two person households, which, as a result, means fewer family meal occasions. This change in household size has affected the way we cook and the quantity of products we buy. In particular, there is a clear reduction in the number of roast dinner meal occasions, which usually require larger joints of meat.”

Even the fact that the number of those aged 60 and over is growing, as a percentage of the total population, isn’t really helping, despite pork generally having an “older shopper profile” than other meats.

“Over-60s today are more likely to cook with a microwave as they feel it’s not worth cooking for one or two, even though they have the necesssary knowledge and tradition,” said AHDB Pork.

However, in urging the industry to innovate, in order to compete, the organisation does find a couple of positives, hidden in the current challenge.

The first is that the process of addressing product and recipe innovation could help to also address issues with carcase balance, by encouraging the use of cuts which are less often used at the moment than might be possible in the future.

AHDB Pork is also upbeat on the recent pulled pork campaign, commenting that this was aimed at addressing important issues concerning meal solutions as well as changing consumers’ perceptions of pork.

The campaign is therefore portrayed as having been particularly valuable in presenting a new pork image to younger age groups, showcasing how “delicious and easy to cook pulled pork is”.

Access AHDB Pork’s consumer report

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