Pondering the Pork Chop Identity Crisis

A pork chop by any other name tastes just as juicy and delicious--and now has a new identity in the meat case. In an effort to make both pork and beef more consumer-friendly, new names such as porterhouse pork chops will help retailers differentiate and merchandise pork cuts more effectively, according to the National Pork Board.

The National Pork Board and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association collaborated on in-depth research over an 18-month period before implementing the renaming process. The research showed consumers are often confused by the different names for similar cuts of meat. Consumers also don’t know how to cook the variety of cuts in the meat case. The new naming scheme is designed to simplify pork cut names in order to help consumers identify the proper usage and preparation guidelines.

Several cuts of pork will now match the names for similar cuts of beef. Look for new pork names such as the pork porterhouse chop (previously a loin chop), pork ribeye chop (previously a rib chop), pork New York chop (previously a top loin chop). The National Pork Board’s Patrick Fleming, director of retail marketing, says research shows consumers buy cuts they are familiar with. “Now, once they get their New York chop or ribeye chop home, they can grill it in the way they’re familiar with, too.”

 

 

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Joseph Cordray, professor of animal science and the director of the Iowa State University Meat Laboratory, says the new labeling system is going to be beneficial to the meat industry. “It’s a win-win,” he says. “It’s positive for producers and processors because they can do a better job of marketing their products, and consumers have a better understanding of what they’re purchasing.”

At first I was a little bit skeptical. Were consumers really that confused? Is it a good idea to name beef and pork cuts in such a similar fashion? Won’t there be the potential for some brand/species confusion?  My first job out of college was information specialist with the National Live Stock and Meat Board, which was devoted to the promotion of beef, pork, lamb, veal and processed meats. That organization was dissolved due to commodity group concerns about spending checkoff dollars to jointly promote “competing” meats.  Apparently we no longer worry about that sort of thing.

Admittedly, there has been a lot of media “buzz” and attention surrounding this new naming system. Conveniently, this attention is coming just in time for grilling season! I guess time will tell whether or not this was a good decision for pork promotion. The porkbeinspired.com Web site is prominently featuring information about the new names, along with the ever-popular recipe section.  Everyone from major network news stations to USA Today has carried a prominently featured story, which promotes meat!

What do you think about the new meat names? Share your thoughts in the Comments section, or email lora.berg@penton.com. In the meantime, fire up the grill!

 

You might also like:

Meat Label Changes Bolster Consumer Confidence

Meat Industry Renames Cuts

 

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