Mark Thorpe, qualitative research boss at market researcher SPA, said that bacon was seen as compatible with modern lifestyles, largely because of its popularity as a sandwich option.
However, he warned, new research carried out by SPA showed that young consumers in particular were unable to relate to fresh pork.
He said: “Fresh pork has an identity crisis among young consumers, who are uncertain of its benefits, don’t know how to cook it and who opt for chicken when it comes to their choice of white meat.”
Like lamb, pork was currently “off the radar” for the next generation of consumers, he claimed, unlike chicken and beef, which were firmly on the radar. “Shoppers don’t see pork. It doesn’t stand out. They don’t know what to do with it so they default to what they know.”
Thorpe, who was speaking at a conference organised by the Dutch Meat Board, said chicken and beef were seen as more versatile, succulent and tasty. “Pork is seen by consumers as being old-fashioned, bland and fatty.” Nor was it valued by retailers, he claimed.
There was a huge amount that could be done to make pork a more attractive proposition. He recommended presenting it more as a viable alternative to chicken at the point of sale. But to achieve this, pork needed a positioning based on its ease of cooking, he argued.