Pork attracts a new type of cook

THE RECENT rise of pork sales is not only due to its enduring appeal to the traditional eater of pork joints.

It also because of a surge in more modern lovers of pork, who are experimenting with the meat and have become aware of its health bene?ts, says the latest edition of the British Pig Executive's (BPEX) Pork Report.

The report urges the industry to capitalise on this success, and encourage the meat's role in easy, quick, modern cooking. This will attract new users and extend their cooking repertoire, it suggests.

Pork consumers fall into two distinct categories, says the report. Pork 'traditionalists' are shown to have a limited repertoire of pork meals and perceive it as inexpensive, but have little con?dence in their ability to cook it. However, modern pork converts are more con?dent cooks with pork and regard it as healthy, convenient and versatile.

Research carried out by the Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC), quoted in the report, shows that an estimated 42% of consumers can be classi?ed as health-conscious, with just under 20% classi?ed as neutral and the remaining 39% as non-health conscious.

The report states that there is an increasing consumer awareness of pork as a low-fat meal and that this is set to continue. It also reports a growing awareness that pork is speci?cally good for the heart - those interviewed would often describe pork as "heart-healthy". Indeed, while pork falls into the red meat category, many consumers regard it as having the health properties more commonly associated with white meat.

The report also quotes research which shows that health-conscious households are more likely to opt for pork steaks and chops while the non health-conscious prefer roasting joints. Modern pork converts also choose leaner and different cuts - such as pork strips or cubes used in stir-fries or casseroles - plus a wider variety.

The convenience matches their busy lifestyles, and the outcome of their efforts in the kitchen reinforces their con?dence cooking with pork.

The report recommends more advice to be given to consumers to ensure they match the right cut with their cooking. It also advises retailers not to overlook pork's iconic image as a family roast.

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