Producers of "the other white meat" have unveiled their "other new slogan." The National Pork Board on March 4 officially replaced its 24-year-old 'Other White Meat' slogan for pork, in favor of a new branding logo: 'Pork, Be Inspired.'
The new slogan is featured in advertising in print media and broadcast spots, and the familiar sign has changed on the building where the National Pork Producers Council and the National Pork Board are located on the west edge of Des Moines. The 'Other White Meat' sign had been on the side of the headquarters building since 1987, when the campaign debuted.
Pork board officials say the old slogan was successful but it was time for a new one. The board wants to use the new slogan to help increase pork sales in the U.S. by 10% by 2014. "While our new target represents our biggest fans of pork, U.S. consumers, we believe they have the potential and desire to enjoy pork more often—and to inspire others to do the same," says the pork board's Ceci Snyder.
How pork is perceived by consumers is very important to Iowa
How pork is perceived is of no small importance. With 19 million hogs, Iowa leads the nation in pork production. That's more than double the number of hogs in the second-leading state, North Carolina. Iowa's hog herd annually eats about 30% of Iowa's corn crop. Hog sales generate more than $4 billion a year in cash to Iowa's economy and support a network of packinghouses around the state.
"Pork is very important to Iowa's economy," says Jason Golly, a buyer for Lynch's Livestock at Waucoma. "The 'Other White Meat' campaign was effective. "Pork producers in Iowa and elsewhere in modern times have bred hogs to produce less fat and more lean meat." What's happened with the meat getting so lean, however, is that it can be easily overcooked, and made dry so that it loses its tastiness. "I have to remind people to not overcook pork," says Golly. "I tell them when they're grilling it to fix it like they would grill a beef steak. Don't over do it. You want to preserve the juices in the meat, and not dry it out."
Hog producers pay for the advertising of these slogans with a checkoff of 40 cents per $100 sale value on hogs. What do pork producers think of the new slogan? Phil Calmer, a hog farmer near Manson in northwest Iowa, liked the 'Other White Meat' campaign. "It did a lot to help our industry, and maybe it had run its course," he says. "But the new slogan will take time to sink in."
"Pork, Be Inspired" campaign will try to boost pork consumption
The new campaign is an attempt to reverse what has been a steady decline in per capita consumption of red meat, both beef and pork. While pork is the world's most popular meat, it still lags behind beef and chicken in the United States. USDA data show pork consumption fell to a 14-year low of 48 pounds per capita for 2010. In comparison, beef consumption fell slightly, dropping to 59.7 pounds, which is the lowest since records began in 1958. However, chicken consumption grew in the past year, largely due to increased production and lower prices.
Many pork industry experts blame the inaccurately labeled "swine flu" epidemic of 2009 and 2010 for misinforming consumers on pork products. Despite well-documented evidence and numerous education campaigns that proved H1N1 could not be contracted from eating meat, many consumers stayed away.
Pork is world's most popular meat, but lags behind others in U.S.
While pork remains the world's most popular meat, it lags behind beef and chicken in the U.S. in terms of per capita consumption on an annual basis.
In response to the latest cycle of losses from 2007 to 2009, hog producers in the U.S. have reduced their herds by about 3%. A jump in foreign demand for American pork, which generated $1 billion in export sales of Iowa pork products alone in 2010, has pushed up hog prices 20% in the past year. But currently high corn prices are leaving Iowa hog producers worried about the future.
What happens if hog prices go down and corn prices stay high? "We can handle the high corn prices in the $6 to $7 per bushel range, as long as hog prices stay high, too," says producer Ron Juergens of Carroll.
The new slogan 'Pork, Be Inspired' is focused on promoting a "deeper engagement with existing pork consumers," says Snyder. However, the 'Other White Meat' slogan won't disappear entirely, she points out, as the pork board aims to use it in nutrition education materials. The national pork board's new website is www.porkbeinspired.com.