Vion is to launch a generic marketing campaign for pork in a bid to boost category sales by £77m a year.

The 'Put pork on your fork' push kicks off in June and will be fronted by TV presenter and farmer Jimmy Doherty, who will give radio interviews around the country to ­encourage consumers to 'rediscover' pork.

It will be the first time that Vion has run a consumer-facing campaign to promote pork in the UK.

The campaign will culminate in a 'one pig weekend' on 30 and 31 July, when Vion will encourage consumers to choose pork as their number one meat for an entire weekend. Consumers will also be encouraged to take photos of the recipes they've created using pork and post them onto the campaign's ­website.

Consumers currently shopped the pork category an average of 10 times a year, and it was hoped the campaign would increase that, said Ruth Simpson, category marketing director for Vion's pork business. "If we can get people to buy one extra time a year, that is worth £77m in retail sales."

Vion will assess how ­effective the campaign has been after its initial two-month run, with a view to carrying out further marketing activities later in the year. Plans currently in the pipeline include launching a 'whole hog challenge', where a family of four will be tasked with eating the meat from a whole pig within a six-month period.

Total sales of pork have increased just 0.1% by value to £845.67m and 2.5% by volume to 178,952 kg over the past year [Kantar Worldpanel 52w/e 20 March 2011].

Levy body Bpex has been promoting pork through a number of generic marketing campaign for years, but this is the first time the meat has been promoted through an industry-funded campaign.

It follows similar generic marketing efforts for turkey, run by Bernard Matthews Farms and fronted by Marco Pierre White and Martin Kemp.