Impactful (and Surprising) Growth Initiatives in the Pork Industry, By Bill Even – Chief Executive Officer – National Pork Board

Creating memories with family during harvest.

National Pork Board is working for you. Your Pork Checkoff dollars supports ongoing market growth initiatives to create long-term domestic and international demand.

This October Pork Month hits differently than years past. For pork producers across the country, it’s been a difficult year financially.

At the National Pork Board (NPB), we are keenly aware of the unprecedented challenges the pork industry is facing. While the current economic situation puts a damper on a normally high-celebration month such as Pork Month, it remains an opportunity for our industry to come together and take pride in the high-quality product we produce.

Creating Long-Term Demand

To support pork producers, we have been aggressively deploying Pork Checkoff dollars in domestic and international markets to drive both volume and demand.

Our focused initiatives are intended to position pork to more households, sell more pork to consumers and ultimately drive consumption through more eating occasions.

Let me be clear: Our market growth efforts are not just about selling more pork. They are about creating long-term demand.

Building Global Pork Demand

It has been said that “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” In other words, you must be in the market to understand the market. This certainly applies to the development of international markets.

Recently, NPB strategically reallocated funds to support additional international and market development growth, building on existing robust market demand initiatives. The additional investment targets incremental demand creation for U.S. pork exports.

The U.S. exports 27.5% of our annual pork production1 – meaning the maintenance and expansion of our international markets is critical.

NPB has invested in foreign market development, trade promotion and facilitation to build global demand for U.S. pork, diversify markets and differentiate from competitors.

It is imperative the Pork Checkoff understands the current and future needs of consumers in global markets to properly serve them.

Growing Domestic Pork Demand

We are also working to drive domestic demand for quality pork and making the case for consumers to buy more pork more often.

Through Pork Checkoff-funded research, NPB has identified highly populated areas in California, New York and Texas as key geographies critical to the growth of domestic demand for pork. These highly populated geographies have little knowledge of pork and production. NPB is setting out to change consumer perceptions by strategically targeting them with digital ads, social media campaigns and Instacart options.

Furthermore, NPB has identified millennial moms as a key consumer audience. Motivated by taste, nutrition and simple meal preparation, millennial moms are a target audience for NPB’s newest platform, Surprisingly Pork. This is a vision to showcase pork in a new light, emphasizing that it is good for you and good for the planet.

Through Surprisingly Pork, we are translating relevant research into compelling and emotive language subverting people’s ingrained beliefs about pork.

Our efforts to grow domestic market demand were bolstered by our board last month, with the board approving an additional $2 million for activities in the fourth quarter.  For 2023, we will have invested $10.1 million for domestic marketing, $11 million for international marketing, and $8.1 million for human nutrition.

What’s Surprising About Pork?

Many consumers are surprised at how good pork is for people and the planet. What many are quick to forget is pork’s resilience over time. As a fourth-generation farmer and the CEO of the National Pork Board, I have witnessed this resilience.

The sixth-generation on the farm learning the ropes from Grandpa during harvest.

The pork industry’s We Care Ethical Principles guide everything we do. I am incredibly proud to be part of an industry whose core values include a commitment to doing what’s right for people, pigs, and the planet.

No matter the farm size or type, pig farmers are committed to raising pigs responsibly, ethically and sustainably.

Opportunity and Support Ahead

We know work needs to be done to drive demand at home and across the globe. All our efforts – domestically and internally – add up to opportunity. We are working diligently to ensure brighter days are on the horizon.

Time well spent harvesting on the family farm.

Stay Informed

Through the ups and downs – especially the downs – we are here for you. You can trust we are by your side to support you, thoughtfully build market growth and protect the continuity of pig farming.

Your trust in NPB and unwavering commitment to your farm fuel our motivation to work hard for you. I urge you to sign up for the Pork Checkoff weekly email so you can stay informed.