A plug for pork

The mince market is not just about beef and lamb. Pork mince, although a small player in the total market, is starting to gain popularity and market share.

Data from Kantar Worldpanel shows that the value of pork mince increased by 48% in the period from December 2005 to November 2011 to reach over £21.4m. Volume sales grew to a peak in 2010 (4,704t) representing an overall increase of 13% over the previous six years. 
This trend has continued over the past year, despite rising prices and a difficult economic climate.

In the 52 weeks to 27 November 2011, pork mince volume sales fell slightly by 2.1%, but this was offset by an increase in price, leading to a 3.9% value growth.Perhaps the most notable statistic in the pork mince market over the past year has been the growth of premium lines; premium sales of pork mince accounted for almost 5% of volume, up from just 0.3% in 2010. The healthy tier has also grown by almost a third from 8.9% to 13.1% since 2009.

Bpex argues that pork mince is a great option for families and children, who prefer a milder-tasting meat. Additionally it is a great flavour carrier, which can be combined with fruits to deliver a sweeter taste ideally suited to burgers and Asian-inspired wraps and curries. Chris Lamb, head of marketing at Bpex, says: “Pork mince is a real opportunity for retailers and processors to add value to their pork and mince offerings, and the demand for premium lines should not be ignored.”

Supermarkets have already been doing some interesting product development with pork mince. Asda has launched Extra Special Thai Pork Meatballs and Extra Special Chinese Pork Grillsteaks in recent years and Laura Newbold, a buyer at Asda, says the retailer is developing more lean products using pork mince for 2012.

Foodservice opportunities

As with retail, pork mince only represents a small percentage of the foodservice mince market. “This is very surprising and disappointing, because pork mince is very versatile and it is also used in a lot of cuisines that are popular in this country,” says Bpex foodservice trade manager Tony Goodger. He gives the example of Italian and Asian cuisine, both of which traditionally use a lot of pork mince.

Goodger says it is unclear why pork mince is not popular in foodservice, but believes it might be because catering butchers are not offering pork mince on their product lists or drawing enough attention to the fact that they can do pork mince. “Catering butchers and butchers need to differentiate out beef, lamb and pork mince,” he says. “If they stress the fact they have pork mince, I am sure they’ll sell more of it."

Chefs are cooking more products from scratch, says Goodger. “They are increasingly making their own terrines and pork mince is the base protein for most terrines.” 
He notes that contract caterers are increasingly looking at how to get their best value from the meat dishes they serve, and several are now looking at mince, and pork mince in particular. 

Goodger believes more growth could be achieved in schools. “Doncaster school meals use a tremendous amount of pork mince — about 80t a year,” he says. “If the school kids in the 64 primary schools in Doncaster can eat pork mince, why can’t school kids in other local authorities?” With this in mind, Bpex will be working hard to promote pork mince in the 
year ahead.


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