ment, where it offers items such as ribs with
dry rubs (such as barbecue and chipotle, its
top sellers) and marinades; pork chops with
stuffings such as sausage or sweet chile and
pineapple; and honey Dijon tenderloin. Most
of these dishes can be cooked at home in less
than 30 minutes.
Geissler’s also merchandises the dry rubs
and marinades near the fresh meat. Both
come in private label versions, and the stores
also carry a local restaurant’s rub.
ork is having an identity crisis.
Prices are down, yet sales are
fairly flat, so retailers that are
selling this meat are getting
“Offering value-added pork products
really drives sales,” says Dan Nilsson, one
of the owners and the buyer for Geissler’s
Supermarkets, East Windsor, Conn.
This seven-store chain has a “Thyme
Savour Meals” section in its meat depart-
Meat & Seafood
Perceptions of Pork
This meat department staple could use some love
to get more consumers thinking about it as a captive
meal builder. By Amanda Baltazar
Skogen’s Festival Foods
offers marinated pork
and pork chops, as well
as ribs on a stick.
Value-added pork outsells commodity
“because people want something different
but don’t want to do the work,” says Mike
Zimmerman, senior meat and seafood director for Skogen’s Festival Foods, De Pere, Wis.
These stores offer marinated pork chops and
pork loin, as well as ribs on a stick, which feature boneless pork loin with skewers and are
a signature item, Zimmerman says. All are
offered plain or with marinades such as chipotle, smoky apple, lemon pepper, and rubs,
such as Southwestern.
“Pork absorbs flavors well and is very forgiving,” Zimmerman says.
And at West Valley City, Utah-based Harmons, marinated skewers, which come in 24
different flavors, do well, as does marinated
pork tenderloin on a skewer. “Value-adds
drive sales,” says Chris Smith, sales director
of meat, meat deli and seafood. “It’s all about
Value-added vs. regular pork items appeal
to different consumers, says Anne-Ma-
rie Roerink, principal with 210 Analytics,
San Antonio. In general, pork sales skew to
older consumers, who prefer to season and
marinade the meat themselves, she says.
Value-added products, however, appeal to
These products “make consumers’ lives
more easy,” which draws younger consumers
to the category, says Patrick Fleming, brand
specialist for Chicago-based Midan Marketing and former director of market intelligence
and innovation for the National Pork Board.
“The bulk of pork consumption tends to be
older people, but with marinated or rubbed
you can get new flavors that are on-trend and
appealing to millennials,” he says. “It allows
them to experiment with pork. It’s about promotion, innovation and new flavors.”
The Winning Cuts
Overall, pork sales are “steady,” says Smith of
Harmons. “It’s a tough sell; chicken and beef
are the drivers. It’s gotten better over the past
few years, but it’s the population’s perception
that pork is perhaps not as versatile and less
healthy,” he says.
According to New York-based Nielsen, pork
continues to grow in popularity. For the 52
weeks ending May 25, pork sales were up 1.3%
to $19.2 billion, while overall poundage was PH