The National Pork Board released the first report from its ambitious and comprehensive Insight to Actionresearch program. The report, Dinner at Home in America, examines the contextual occasions in which Americans are eating dinner in the home. The research identifies areas of growth opportunity for pork, serving up a bold new challenge to the pork industry: innovate or risk losing relevance with today’s – and more importantly tomorrow’s – consumer.
“People live, shop and eat differently today. The pork industry has tremendous momentum with consumers, and that can be leveraged further through innovation in product development, bringing contemporary eating solutions to consumers,” said Jarrod Sutton, vice president of Domestic Marketing for the National Pork Board. “This research helps us intimately understand the needs and constraints that influence consumer dining choices, and provides a clear path for industry innovation that is rooted in data.”
A First-Ever Research Approach for the Industry
Dinner at Home in America is the first of several reports the National Pork Board will publish in 2019 as part of the Insight to Action research program. The research approach, which combines 10,000 interviews with demographic and spending data to provide a comprehensive look at how U.S. consumers eat, is a first-ever for the meat industry.
Altogether, the National Pork Board uncovered nine unique dining occasions, or needs states, happening in homes on any given night of the week, ranging from solo dining to celebrating with extended family. During the course of any week, the same person can experience multiple eating occasions as their needs throughout the week change.
Sutton emphasizes this research is groundbreaking because it goes further to answer questions around what people eat and why.
“We are looking at who is at the dinner table, but we move beyond that to pinpoint the varied dinner occasions occurring every night,” he said. “With these insights, the industry can better understand the needs, behaviors and influences for each dining occasion. Most importantly, the research identifies opportunities for the industry to adapt and innovate.”
“Through its extensive research and analysis, the National Pork Board has curated provocative insights that the U.S. pork industry can act upon to best position pork to consumers,” said Steve Rommereim, National Pork Board president and a pig farmer from Alcester, South Dakota. “This is data that everyone at every step of the pork supply chain can use to better meet consumer needs and grow their business.”
Actionable Insights to Drive Innovation
The Dinner at Home in America report provides the food industry a veritable roadmap for product innovation and positioning. The research identifies opportunities to respond to changing consumer behaviors and drive category growth in three areas:
- Health: Educate consumers more effectively about the known health benefits, nutrient density and protein content of fresh and packaged pork cuts
- Simplicity and Ease: Innovate packaging and cuts to keep pace with evolving consumer needs and demand for convenience best illustrated through portion size, precooked or pre-seasoned options, and cooking and temperature directions.
- Versatility: Create meal solutions with pork as a key ingredient, moving beyond the old school thought of pork as a center-of-the-plate option only. Consumers seek diversity in their protein choice – from tacos to sandwiches and pasta to casseroles.
“These insights have influenced a new marketing strategy for the Pork Checkoff designed to address key perceptions about our product: tasty, healthy, easy, safe, and sustainable,” Sutton said. “The foundation for all of this work is research and data first.”