The U.S. is expected to have record pork production in 2019 at more than 27 billion lb. Per capita consumption is currently at 52 lb., a 16-year record, according to national pork checkoff chief executive officer Bill Even, who recently spoke at the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) meeting in Orlando, Fla. “So, not only are we producing more, but -- knock on wood -- people are also eating more,” he said.
Still, society is changing, and the pork checkoff has made it a mission to change with it.
According to Even, the average American checks their phone 150 times a day, and 51% of all grocery sales now are digitally influenced.
“I’m not just talking about online grocery purchases. What I’m talking about here is people are going to digital resources to make decisions,” he told the audience.
In fact, he relayed that 63,000 searches per second are conducted on Google alone. Online video platform YouTube boasts 2 trillion views per year, with 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute; “that’s 432,000 hours a day,” he said, adding that a large majority (86%) of people visiting YouTube go there to learn how to do something.
“The bottom line is people are getting their information in a different fashion today,” Even said.
Google is the number-one search engine, followed by YouTube. Further, Even said 80% of all digital advertising is now spent on three platforms: Google, Amazon and Facebook.
“Think about that. Billions of dollars that go into digital advertising are being driven to those three platforms,” he said. “This is why the pork checkoff established a partnership with Google two years ago to drive us on pork messaging.”
It isn’t just a Millennial fad, either, because three out of four adults are using YouTube now too, he added.
To capitalize on this massive opportunity, Even said the National Pork Board (NPB) made 46 videos focused on a variety of different topics.
“People trust the average Joe that looks like them that put something on YouTube more than they’re going to trust a spokesperson or the government,” he explained.
NPB also went a step further and partnered with Costco and Sam’s Club on videos. Currently, 120 million minutes of watch time have been logged for the Costco videos and nearly 12 million minutes for Sam’s Club. Unique views total more than 3 million for Costco and nearly 2 million for Sam’s Club.
“This is the type of reach that we could not accomplish with just straight up advertising the checkoff. The world has changed, and the checkoff has changed with it,” Even explained.
NPB also partnered with the popular YouTube cooking show "Basics with Babish," and one of the videos ended up trending on YouTube for a period of days. “That means ... it was within the top videos being watched on YouTube. That is jaw dropping,” Even said.
This was done with checkoff dollars, he said, adding, “I think this is an example of how your checkoff is rapidly reinventing itself on the marketing side to be successful.”