Pork not necessarily the selling point; consumers want convenience

Since the Dinner at Home in America report was released, several industry players have taken that insight and put it into action.


Ann Hess, National Hog Farmer

Mar 08, 2019


Sometimes after I have dinner ready for my family, I like to be nostalgic and yell out soups on! Thats the way my mom called our herd to the table growing up. I say herd, because Im the youngest of 11. Looking back on those meals, I cant even imagine the creative culinary skills my mother had to have to make sure there was enough food on the table. Cooking had to take up nearly half of her day.


While I try to serve my family a nice home-cooked meal a few nights a week, its by no means seven days a week. And Im definitely not spending time slaving away in the kitchen. Instead, Im often serving up suppers that are quick, easy and versatile.


According to the National Pork Boards recent Dinner at Home in America report, Im not alone. The research, which was released in January, combined 10,000 interviews with demographic and spending data to provide a comprehensive look at how U.S. consumers eat a first-ever for the meat industry.


Whats unique about this report is looking at how dinner at home or eating at home has changed from the need states, says Jarrod Sutton, vice president of Domestic Marketing for the NPB. We are not targeting a certain demographic. We are not looking at a metro area. Its understanding how people are living differently and how that is influencing how they are shopping and eating differently.


Altogether, the NPB uncovered nine unique dining occasions, or needs states, happening in homes on any given night of the week, ranging from solo dining to celebrating with extended family. During the course of any week, the same person can experience multiple eating occasions as their needs throughout the week change.


Since that report was released, several industry players have taken that insight and put it into action. As Sutton displayed during the meeting of the National Pork Board prior to Pork Forum, its not always about promoting pork, but more about finding solutions that meet those specific dining occasions.


During the recent North American Meating Institute Meat Conference (the trade show of the meat industry), Clemens Food Group set up a display that called out those nine eating occasions and then used that data to help build meat cases around those needs.


The message is weve got to come at this differently as an industry, Sutton says. We need innovation to be relevant with todays consumers as well as tomorrows consumers and heres a great source to find the answers.


Through their own data along with NPBs report, Smithfield Foods has come out with flavored loin strips that can become a meal in three steps. According to Sutton, the response to the product at the NAMI Meat Conference was nothing but positive...


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