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Parmesan-Crusted New York Pork Chops.jpg National Pork Board

New research reveals how Americans are eating

National Pork Board shares key opportunities for industry innovation and growth.

The National Pork Board (NPB) released this week the first report from its Insight to Action research program. The report, “Dinner at Home in America,” examines the contextual occasions in which Americans are eating dinner in the home. The research also identifies areas of growth opportunity for pork, serving up a bold new challenge to the pork industry: Innovate, or risk losing relevance with today’s – and, more importantly, tomorrow’s – consumer.

“People live, shop and eat differently today. The pork industry has tremendous momentum with consumers, and that can be leveraged further through innovation in product development, bringing contemporary eating solutions to consumers,” said Jarrod Sutton, NPB vice president of domestic marketing. “This research helps us intimately understand the needs and constraints that influence consumer dining choices and provides a clear path for industry innovation that is rooted in data.”

A first-ever research approach 

“Dinner at Home in America” is the first of several reports NPB will publish in 2019 as part of the Insight to Action research program. The research approach, which combines 10,000 interviews with demographic and spending data to provide a comprehensive look at how U.S. consumers eat, is a first ever for the meat industry.

Altogether, 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.

Sutton emphasized that this research is groundbreaking because it goes further to answer questions around what people eat and why.

“We are looking at who is at the dinner table, but we move beyond that to pinpoint the varied dinner occasions occurring every night,” he said.  “With these insights, the industry can better understand the needs, behaviors and influences for each dining occasion. Most importantly, the research identifies opportunities for the industry to adapt and innovate.”

NPB president Steve Rommereim, a pig farmer from Alcester, S.D., said the extensive research and analysis has curated provocative insights that the U.S. pork industry can act upon to best position pork to consumers -- “data that everyone at every step of the pork supply chain can use to better meet consumer needs and grow their business.”

Actionable insights to drive innovation

NPB said the report also provides the food industry with a veritable road map for product innovation and positioning as the research identifies opportunities to respond to changing consumer behaviors and drive category growth in three areas:

  • Health -- Educate consumers more effectively about the known health benefits, nutrient density and protein content of fresh and packaged pork cuts.
  • Simplicity and ease -- Innovate packaging and cuts to keep pace with evolving consumer needs and demand for convenience, best illustrated through portion size, precooked or preseasoned options and cooking and temperature directions.
  • Versatility -- Create meal solutions with pork as a key ingredient, moving beyond the old-school thought of pork as a center-of-the-plate option only. Consumers seek diversity in their protein choice – from tacos to sandwiches and pasta to casseroles.

“These insights have influenced a new marketing strategy for the pork checkoff designed to address key perceptions about our product: tasty, healthy, easy, safe and sustainable,” Sutton said. “The foundation for all of this work is research and data first.”

To download the full report, visit www.Pork.org/marketing.

For the report, members of Numerator/InfoScout’s shopper panel and were selected to participate in the survey based on past recorded purchases. Each respondent was age 18 or older, personally eats meat and has at least some influence in buying or preparing food for the household. The survey, commissioned on behalf of the NPB, was administered by C+ R Research to 10,163 adults.

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