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Bacon at Every Meal! The Pork Industry's Plan for Boosting Sales

In a new marketing campaign, the National Pork Board (NPB) is honing in on its most enthusiastic users -- the minority of Americans who consume high levels of pork. These avid fans, or what the NPB dubs its "Pork Champions," represent 28% of U.S. households and consume 68% of all the fresh pork (which does not include bacon, sausage or ham) that's purchased at grocery stores and 50% of all the fresh pork eaten in restaurants.

But apparently, they're still not eating enough.

The pork industry, through its recently released "Pork: Be Inspired" campaign, hopes to "inspire" its Pork Champions to eat even more pork chops, lions and ribs than they already do, despite the fact that this isn't exactly sound nutritional advice and runs counter to the recent USDA dietary guidelines. Here's how Jarrod Sutton, the NPB's assistant vp for channel marketing, puts it in a video posted on the NPB's web site:

This new brand voice that is unapologetic, the voice of a leader, has a call to action to give these consumers a positive nudge to enjoy pork more frequently.
How much more frequently? The National Pork Board, which represents major pork producers like Smithfield (SFD) and Tyson (TSN), says its goal is to bump up pork demand by 10% by the end of 2014, as compared to 2009 levels.

Sutton's "call to action" comes at a time when the government and many nutrition authorities are calling for just the opposite -- for Americans to move meat away from the center of their plates, making room for more fruits, vegetables and legumes, all of which are desperately under-consumed in the American diet. In contrast, very few Americans suffer from meat deficiencies.

Last summer, the committee that advises the USDA on its dietary guidelines stressed the importance of Americans embracing a "more plant-based diet." And although Smithfield would have to start raising flying pigs before the USDA would ever say something like "Eat less meat," there are lots of hints in the 112-page report containing the actual guidelines, which were release in January. Including this one:

Increase the amount and variety of seafood consumed by choosing seafood in place of some meat and poultry.
The NPB will probably argue that its not trying to get already overweight and obese Americans to add another 600 calories to their day by piling on another helping of barbecued ribs. Instead, they'll insist that they're aiming to get people to shift from other types of meat, since pork consumption lags behind beef and way behind chicken.

But that was the point of the pork industry's previous campaign, "Pork: Other White Meat," which only succeeded in keeping pork consumption flat over the past two decades, while beef purchases went down. So instead they're targeting the Pork Champions, who are already probably over-consuming pork. So much for moderation.

Image by Flickr user EDubya

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