The National Pork Board, Des Moines, Iowa, released the first report from its Insight to Action research program. The report, “Dinner at Home in America,” examines the contextual occasions in which Americans are eating dinner in the home, and identifies areas of growth and opportunity for the pork industry.
“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,” says Jarrod Sutton, vice president of domestic marketing “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.”

The research approach combines 10,000 interviews with demographic and spending data to provide a comprehensive look at how U.S. consumers eat.
The National Pork Board uncovered nine unique dining occasions, or needs, 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.
“We are looking at who is at the dinner table, but we move beyond that to pinpoint the varied dinner occasions occurring every night,” Sutton says. “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,” says Steve Rommereim, president and owner, manager and operator of Highland Swine, Alcester, S.D. “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 report provides a veritable roadmap for product innovation and positioning, and 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, pre-cooked 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 says. “The foundation for all of this work is research and data first.”
About the research
Survey respondents were members of Numerator/InfoScout’s shopper panel, and were selected to participate based upon past recorded purchases. Each respondent was age 18 years or older, personally eats meat and has at least some influence in buying or preparing food for the household. The survey, commissioned on behalf of the National Pork Board, was administered by C+ R Research, Chicago, to 10,163 adults.