June 2013 frozen pork supplies are down 14% from the previous month and 5% on a year-over-year basis, according to USDA figures – reflecting higher demand for pork, the Pork Checkoff says.
"At a point in time when pork production is high and domestic supplies are up, this shift in inventories is great news for our producers," said Karen Richter, president of the National Pork Board. "This market shift demonstrates that pork is hot right now and has a momentum that continues to build throughout the traditional summer grilling season."
Earlier this week, the Pork Checkoff wrapped up a six-week radio advertising campaign in an effort to capitalize on new pork chop names and favorable pork prices for consumers. The report of lower frozen inventories comes just after the consumer campaign and aggressive promotions with major grocery retailers. The retail promotions featured ribs and chops, with specific advice at the meat case to cook pork chops "like a steak."
"For the past eight weeks, we have been reaching out to consumers and it is paying off," Richter said. "By building relationships and launching promotional campaigns with America's top food retailers, we are seeing a boon in pork sales."
Consumer education focusing on value and versatility of pork, the adoption of new pork cut names, and reinforcement of pork's ideal cooking temperature were the Pork Checkoff's key consumer messages.
The new porterhouse pork chop, ribeye pork chop and New York pork chop were specifically featured in the summer marketing campaign.
The National Pork Board and Beef Checkoff Program partnered to develop the new names, which were first announced in April. The revised nomenclature was reviewed by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service and American Marketing Service, as well as retailers, packers and scale label companies.
Changes to the beef and pork common names were the culmination of extensive consumer research which showed an opportunity for retailers to build consumer confidence in how to shop for and prepare beef and pork, but Richter said simply that the previous nomenclature was confusing to consumers.
"We listened to our consumers and chose the new cut names in order to enhance the value in the meat cuts, and used new, simplified labels that better explain proper cooking techniques," she said. "Pork remains a great value for consumers today, and the surge in pork sales this summer is great news for pork producers as well."