A year from now, you may hear pork being advertised as something besides The "Other White Meat." The 23-year-old advertising slogan has worked very well in the past, National Pork Board vice president Ceci Snyder said at the 2010 World Pork Expo this week in Des Moines. But new consumer surveys show that the line has lost some of its bite.
"There is no longer a strong consumer reaction," she says, and the pork industry is concerned about consumer backlash that pork lacks taste. "Consumers want healthy food and pork is definitely healthy. But consumers want taste and variety as well, and we have to communicate that our product has what they want."
Snyder says the pork board will continue to use the "Other White Meat" in a limited way to protect the trademark. But she gave no details as to what the new campaign might say. Snyder said at the World Pork Expo on Wednesday in Des Moines that a final strategy hasn't been set, but the Pork Board will likely roll out a new advertising and marketing campaign later this year or next spring.
Industry is concerned that today's pork has lost some taste
The "Other White Meat" tag line was developed in 1987 as the pork industry's response to concerns about the effects of red meat consumption on human weight and heart health. Surveys show that since 1960, per capita consumption of red meat in the United States has dropped 25%. Most of that market has been lost to poultry and fish.
In response, swine geneticists have bred new lines of hogs that produce much less backfat, which for generations gave pork its fatty, greasy image. "We've worked to produce a product that is much lower in fat," says Chris Novak, chief executive officer of the National Pork Board in Des Moines.
National Pork Producers Council president Sam Carney, a pork producer from Adair just west of Des Moines, says he has heard consumer complaints that the leaner pork now on supermarket shelves frequently lacks taste. "We've probably gone as far as we should in taking fat out of pork," says Carney.
Other hog producers polled at the World Pork Expo said they think the "Other White Meat" slogan has been very effective, but it might be time for a change. They say if the Pork Board is getting indications that the slogan isn't working very well anymore, then the board would be smart to start developing a new slogan. "The pork industry needs to ask why the "Other White Meat" line isn't as effective as it has been in the past," says hog producer Bryce Engbers of Grinnell.