Pork demand is affected more by changes in the price of chicken than in the price of beef, according to a new pork checkoff-funded study from Texas A&M University. The research compared pork price and consumption relationships to other protein sources.

“The pork checkoff funds this type of research to help better understand consumer buying patterns,” remarks Tom Floy,” Thornton, IA, pork producer and National Pork Board director. “The study showed that when consumers look at price of various proteins, they associate chicken with pork more closely than pork to seafood or beef.”

The three-year study evaluated what people eat at home, patterns for fresh and processed pork cuts.

The model showed that when pork prices rise by 1%, pork consumption falls by 0.16%. A 1% increase in the price of beef or chicken causes consumption of those goods to fall by 0.23% and 0.38%, respectively.

The research also evaluated the amount of pork consumed with the price of competitive proteins, and found that chicken was the strongest meat alternative for pork. Pork consumption rises by 0.14% when chicken prices rise by 1%. Pork consumption climbs 0.02% when beef prices rise by 1%.

“These results agree with meat and livestock market action over the past two years,” says Floy. “Pork prices were severely impacted when Russia stopped buying U.S. chicken in early 2002, causing U.S. chicken prices to plummet. In addition, pork prices did not rise much as beef prices rose in the summer of 2003.”

The research will help gain a better understanding of consumer needs to boost pork demand.