The chicken breast may be the go-to protein for fitness and nutrition gurus, but as Jarrod Sutton, vice president of Domestic Marketing for the National Pork Board points out, it doesn’t have to be.

Ann Hess, Content Director

April 5, 2019

3 Min Read
Pork Tenderloin

I’d say spring is finally here, but then I’d be lying. This week while I was traveling, Mother Nature apparently decided to pull an April Fool’s Day prank on us and unleash some more of that light fluffy precipitation across South Dakota. Truth be told, I was glad I missed it.

I’ve been enjoying the warmer temps though, even though they taunt us summer is just around the corner. The “Brace Yourselves, Swimsuit Season is Coming” memes have returned to social media, reminding all of us to “get back on the horse” on exercising and eating right. But what made us fall off course in the first place from those well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions? I would argue for many it was boredom — boredom with the day-to-day exercise drills, the stringent diet plans and the endless calls to consume chicken breast.

It’s too bad they didn’t know a little secret. Pork tenderloin is the perfect substitution.

“It’s intuitive, or at least it should be, that lean pork is a great source of protein. Unfortunately, a number of people don’t know that,” says Jarrod Sutton, vice president of Domestic Marketing for the National Pork Board. “There’s an opportunity for us to change that conversation.”

As Sutton displayed during the recent NPB Pork Forum meeting, it’s not always about promoting pork, but more about meeting those nine unique dining occasions, or needs states identified in the Pork Board’s recent Dinner at Home in America report. These dining occasions are happening in homes on any given night of the week and can range from solo dining to celebrating with extended family. And health is often a top need state.

“When we think about the different need states for consumers and what we are looking for in terms of something light and healthy, pork is not under consideration today, which is a huge challenge,” Sutton says. “Forty-six percent of all diners cite health as an important consideration in their decisions they make in what they are going to eat.”

It’s graphs like this one below, Sutton says, that compare a 3-ounce pork tenderloin to what they are currently purchasing, that can win health-minded consumers over. Whether it’s calories, total fat or cholesterol, pork tenderloin wins.

NHF-NPB-Loin vs Chix Breast.770.jpg

“These are the images that will resonate with people,” Sutton says. “This can be easily translated to be put on a retailer’s website and to be put on a package of pork tenderloin.”

Sutton says it’s a conversation the Pork Board is driving and it’s going to be a long-term commitment.

“The only way we will be effective is if we have credible data, if we have the attention of influencers, and obviously as we are positioning it, so people can easily understand and can help carry this message to consumers,” Sutton says.

The chicken breast may be the go-to protein for fitness and nutrition gurus, but as Sutton points out, it doesn’t have to be. The pork tenderloin matches up nutritionally and has fewer calories and cholesterol.

Maybe more people wouldn’t have to worry about bathing suit season now, if they had substituted pork in here or there for that dull old chicken breast. Speaking of chicken breasts, I have a great recipe where you stuff it with cheese and jalapenos, and of course wrap it in bacon, if you’re looking for a new recipe.

About the Author(s)

Ann Hess

Content Director, National Hog Farmer

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