New research helps identify the future pork consumer

Pork must overcome awareness and perception challenges among Millennials and Gen Z.

National Pork Board

June 24, 2024

3 Min Read
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Research shows pork consumption is declining across every generation and is at risk of becoming a protein of the past. Baby Boomers have been the primary consumers of fresh pork and they are aging out. Gen Z and Millennials don’t buy fresh pork at the same rate as older generations. The good news is the decline in pork sales is reversible. The pork industry needs to unite around a common goal of making pork relevant to younger consumers.

Following one of the worst years of profitability for pork producers, the National Pork Board's directors recognizes that in addition to building trust and adding value, generating long-term demand for pork must be a top priority for the industry.

Turning research into results

To grow future demand, we must identify our future consumers and meet them where they are. Consumer Connect is a new tool NPB has invested Pork Checkoff dollars in to understand even more about our core consumers. In particular, pork must overcome awareness and perception challenges among Millennials and Gen Z. The path to long-term demand breaks through to these consumers by tackling their largest drivers of choice: taste, nutrition and convenience.

Consumer Connect will help NPB make those connections and share the right information with each type of consumer. By utilizing the segmentation data, we can make decisions to align pork with their preferences and lifestyles, leading our messaging with taste and flavor.

Meeting consumers where they are: Busting myths about pork

  • Millennials and Gen Z rank the taste and flavor of fresh pork below most other proteins.

  • 46% of Millennials consider pork to be an indulgent choice.

  • 57% of Millennials are concerned about foodborne illness from undercooked pork.

Unveiling consumer segments

Consumer Connect provides a new method for understanding consumer needs and driving growth in the pork industry. This initiative is the result of extensive research into pork consumers, the industry and potential growth opportunities. By analyzing research insights and understanding consumer feelings and decision-making processes, NPB identified seven unique consumer segments, each characterized by specific motivations, needs and emotions.

Consumer Segments:

  • Confident Meat Eaters

  • Tasty Value Seekers

  • Culinary Adventurers

  • Mindful Choicemakers

  • Simple Feeders

  • Meat Minimizers

  • Culture Celebrators

4 ways to win

When it comes to connecting with consumers, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. By getting to know each segment’s unique attitudes and opportunities, we’ve identified four distinct growth strategies:

  • Win where we are: This is all about keeping pork consumers happy. We don’t want to lose them to other protein choices.

  • Win bigger: These people consume pork fairly regularly. Let’s help them choose pork more often.

  • Incubate for growth: They buy pork, but barriers prevent them from choosing it more often. The usual tactics aren’t effective, so it’s time for a new approach.

  • Emerging growth: This is a small group, but they are growing fast. We know what they want – so let’s be ready to serve them in the future.

Fresh growth strategy for every segment

The segmentation work of Consumer Connect reveals who our customers are so we can meet them on their terms. By focusing on what’s most important, these insights improve our approach to positioning, prioritization, activation and even measurement. Deploying the segmentation will enable pork to become relevant, build trust, add value and generate long-term, sustainable demand.

Follow along on NPB’s Instagram and Facebook to see how we are incorporating the segmentation work to reach consumers.

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