Meal Solutions with Pork: Good for the Family, Good for the Planet
Consumers today are leading busy lives and are inundated with information and choice. When it comes to getting a meal on the table, while health is not always the primary driver (it’s usually taste), people want to feel good about the food they’re eating. Today, consumers are seeking options that are good for themselves and good for the earth. This is especially true among younger generations.
There is an opportunity to educate consumers on pork’s nutrition benefits and sustainability to overcome some misperceptions that exist.
According to the 2019 Food and Health Survey conducted by the International Food Information Council Foundation, 1 in 4 consumers actively seek health benefits from foods. Although many say they simply try to eat healthy in general, 23% of consumers say they actively seek out foods or follow a diet for health benefits. Most often the benefits they seek are weight loss, energy, digestive health, and heart health.
Taking into consideration the many different dietary patterns adults choose to follow, you can be sure protein’s important role in eating habits is positively impacting outcomes such as body weight, risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and bone health.
- Diabetes: Lower-carbohydrate diets have been shown to be beneficial for treatment of type 2 diabetes. Research has shown intake of a higher-protein, lean pork-containing breakfast may favorably influence appetite and lower postprandial glucose, insulin and triglyceride values in overweight or obese adults with prediabetes.
- Body Weight: Eating lean, high-quality protein can help people lose or maintain weight by contributing to people feeling full, preserving lean muscle and promoting improved mood during caloric restriction. With the majority of Americans overweight yet undernourished in key nutrients, the consumption of lean, nutrient-rich animal proteins such as pork can help fulfill nutrient needs while also helping to limit the calorie amounts eaten.
- Cardiovascular Disease: Lean meats, including pork, can also be part of a nutritionally balanced diet that does not increase the risk of heart disease. In fact, higher protein intakes have been found to have positive effects on reducing risk factors for heart disease, including improving blood lipid profiles and reducing blood pressure.
- Bone Health: Adequate protein is critical to preserve bone mass as individuals age, working together with calcium to improve calcium retention and bone metabolism and positively impacting bone mass and/or density.
Consumers also struggle to know how to recognize environmentally sustainable sources. While environmental sustainability is the lowest of the purchase drivers discussed, 6 in 10 consumers say it is hard to know whether the food choices they make are environmentally sustainable. Of those who agree, 63% say it would have a greater influence on their choices if it were easier, according to the 2019 Food and Health Survey.
The We CareSM initiative was launched in 2008 as a joint effort of the National Pork Board, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and state organizations representing farmers. We Care is a proactive, multifaceted initiative to promote responsible practices in all areas of farming and is a commitment to continuously evaluate and improve our methods.
Every individual throughout the pork supply chain has a role in building and maintaining trust in the industry. This begins with a pledge to uphold a core set of ethical principles. These principles make clear the industry’s values in food safety, animal well-being, our people, community outreach and protection of both the environment and public health. We Care is a promise to the public that as an industry, America’s pig farmers are committed to responsible and ethical animal agriculture, porkcares.org/.
Opportunities for retail dietitians at the meat case:
- Actively call out fresh pork as a good protein source and highlight its relevance in protein, consumer health and sustainability.
- Emphasize leaner cuts and cooking temperature (145 degrees with a 3-minute rest) to educate consumers and drive engagement with recipes.
- Use nearby signage effectively to show how pork is a simple, quick and a healthy meal solution that is not only good for the family but good for the planet.
Shoppers need guidance to quickly choose and translate ingredients into a healthy meal. The retail dietitian can provide guidance for the shopper in healthy eating whatever their dining occasion. For more information on the National Pork Board’s Dinner at Home in America research, or to download the full report, visit pork.org/marketing/insight.