Pork campaign aims to tackle sales decline

A new pork advertising campaign designed to inspire consumers to make pork part of their midweek meal menu, will hit TV screens today (Monday 25 September).

It is a key part of a three-year strategy from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) to rejuvenate the image of pork, initially focusing on pork loin medallions and pork fillet as perfect for quick, easy, tasty meal solutions which can be prepared in under 30 minutes.

Olympic swimming gold medallist, new mum, and MasterChef semi-finalist Rebecca Adlington has been confirmed as the midweek meals celebrity ambassador to support the marketing push. She brings with her almost half a million followers on Twitter and 80,000 on Instagram – a primary route to inspire consumers to cook new dishes.

Research shows consumer perception of pork is that of a fatty, old-fashioned meat, a barrier to purchase for some consumers. In order to demonstrate its health credentials, AHDB Pork commissioned nutritional testing to provide evidence that, in fact, these cuts are low in fat and low in saturated fat.

AHDB head of Domestic Pork, Kirsty Walker, said: “Focusing on pork fillet, which is mostly exported, and pork loin, which is regularly downgraded to European prices, is a bold move, yet a necessary one if we are to add value to these prime cuts and overall carcase.

“Fillet and loin medallions provide us with a valuable solution to the consumer criteria for midweek meals in that they are tasty, quick, easy and low fat. This gives pork a reason to be on the dinner table during the week.

“Whilst TV advertising is a major investment, it is proven to yield the greatest results, reaching millions and helping to change perception and buying habits. We want to improve the pork offering in stores as a solution to the inspiration consumers are looking for, in order to break their midweek meal rut.

“Currently, consumers see pork as fatty, they are not sure what to serve it with and importantly, they don’t know how to cook it. It is these challenges the rejuvenation strategy aims to address over time.”

The new TV advert taps into research which highlights how consumers are ‘stuck in a rut’ when it comes to preparing meals during the week, and will act as the prompt for consumers to re-evaluate their eating habits and to consider pork. The TV campaign will reach 77 per cent of the target audience at least 6.5 times, as it airs between September 25 and November 5.

Recipe development with fresh pork loin medallions has been a critical part of the campaign. For consumers to adopt a change in behaviour and cook pork midweek, they need to have an enjoyable eating experience the first time, or they won’t try it again.  Whilst pork loin and fillet medallions are ‘ticking’ the midweek meal criteria by being quick to cook and lean, there is a danger of overcooking. Therefore failsafe recipes needed to be developed in order to incorporate ways to avoid overcooking, without compromising on the other midweek meal musts of quick, easy, healthy, and tasty.

In-store activity, social media and PR will all complement the campaign with supporting messages around how to cook with pork medallions, as consumer cooking confidence is also a barrier for them to try cooking new dishes during the time-pressured week.

The campaign will return in the New Year, with a greater emphasis on pork’s health credentials, when health and wellbeing is high on the consumer agenda.  The TV advert will return with a strong health message to complement the underlying PR, social and digital activity.

AHDB Pork is providing free point of sale (POS) materials to support the Midweek Meal campaign. To request a butcher’s POS kit, please click here  or email lovepork@ahdb.org.uk.


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About The Author

John Swire - Editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.