With the consumer market for pork and other protein sources changing rapidly, the pork checkoff is putting the finishing touches on a plan to capitalize on those changes by repositioning pork's marketing strategy, Terry O’Neel, president of the National Pork Board, told an audience at the World Pork Expo on Thursday.
“The pork checkoff has embarked on a journey to determine how best to market pork today,” O’Neel, a pork producer from Friend, Neb., said. “The direction may be drastically different than we’ve seen in the last quarter-century.”
The big changes that require a new marketing plan, according to National Pork Board chief executive officer Bill Even, are driven by what he called “the three Ms”:
Millennials -- America’s largest generation has increasing buying power and makes buying decisions differently from predecessor generations.
Mobile -- The speed of communication and access to information fuels demand, requiring constant attention to new means of communication.
Multicultural -- Currently representing 36% of the U.S. population, the newest arrivals to the U.S. and their families will make up 50% of the population by 2050.
Even said responding to those drivers in a way that assures pork demand remains strong prompted the National Pork Board to spend the past year conducting extensive research to define the critical needs of pork marketing. The research has included in-depth discussions with producers, packers, processors, retailers, the foodservice sector and consumers.
Jarrod Sutton, National Pork Board vice president of domestic marketing, said the research was designed “to find the marketing sweet spot at the intersection of market trends, such as population growth and growing market diversity; market opportunity that capitalizes on pork’s flavor, convenience and value, and marketing tools the checkoff can use to reach younger and more diverse audiences."
Sutton said he views the changing marketplace as an opportunity to inspire all segments of the pork chain to find new ways to succeed. The signs are positive, Sutton added. Demand for protein remains strong. Red meat and poultry production is projected to grow over the next three years -- by 6.6% for beef, 9% for poultry and 12.3% for pork, starting with projections that 2017 will be a record year for pork production.
Sutton said the new direction of pork checkoff-funded marketing will build on the three pillars of pork’s brand identity – quality, trust and value – and “will provide a unique value to the pork supply chain to position itself as the industry leader in knowledge of the consumer’s requirements and preferences, insights into category growth and future-proof solutions for stakeholders to grow and thrive in a rapidly changing world.”
O’Neel said he expects the new marketing strategy to be deployed early in 2018.