NPB 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.

Shrinking consumer bases means declining volume and consumption. If the industry doesn’t bring younger consumers into the category at a faster rate, annual consumption with decline 2.2lbs over the next 10 years.

Following one of the worst years of profitability for pork producers, the NPB board of 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.

Fleming to Lead Initiative to Make Pork Relevant to All Ages

NPB welcomes Patrick Fleming as vice president of demand development. In his new role, Fleming will lead the marketing and domestic demand team.

“To reposition pork in the marketplace and with younger Americans, adoption of an industry-wide approach to reaching consumers with a unified message for pork is needed to inevitably change the perception Millennials and Gen Z have of pork,” said Fleming. “The goal of this work is to encourage Americans to fall in love with pork. I can’t think of a better reason to come to work every day; it’s a big part of why I am thrilled to return to NPB.”

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: Here’s What They Told Us

  • 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.
Consumer Segments and Growth Strategies by % of U.S. Households

A 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.

Read More About Consumer Connect from Our Media Partners

Iowa Agribusiness Network: Connecting with Consumers Part 1

Iowa Agribusiness Network: Connecting with Consumers Part 2

External links to content developed by third parties do not necessarily represent the views of the National Pork Board.