(Jamie) Welcome back to Farm Factor as Duane and Chris discuss 2015, a great year for pork producers.
(Duane) Duane Toews joining you again on AGam in Kansas, while in Kansas City, Missouri, at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting Meetings and Trade Talk. Chris Hodges with the National Pork Board, CEO, joins us with the update. And Chris we think about the pork industry, there’s a lot of positive things that are going on, from the nutrition and consumption side. (Chris) Yea, 2015 was a big turn year for us. As you remember 2014, we suffered through PED and production was down. But we came into 2015, roared into 2015. We had a lot more production than anybody saw coming and we had a few problems in the export sector. So, it was a rough start to the year but by quarters two and three we had come back around and ended up being really two good quarters for profits and for sales. We had a really strong sale season in both retail and food service in the U.S. Exports continued to struggle a little bit right through the year, but we had enough domestic demand that turned out, 2015 turned out to be pretty profitable. (Duane) We think about the opportunities in the meat case, pork still picking up a share in the meat case and favor with the consumer at the same time. (Chris) Absolutely right. We were excited this year, because it was the first time that pork had led both food service and retail in sales growth. That’s dollar sales growth. So, it doesn’t get any better than that, when you’ve got your two big channels with good, robust domestic demand. And as I said earlier we really needed that because export was stumbling a little bit. So, consumers really embracing our product. There’s a lot of work that went in to getting to this position, but at the Pork Board we like to think we had role in that. (Duane) My understanding is some rebranding, if you will, of names of cuts to make them more universal and more exploratory or explanatory for the consumer. They know what they’re getting. (Chris) Right, a lot of consumers tell us they’re still confused when they go up to the meat case, call it the sea of red, they just don’t understand the difference between different cuts and how they can prepare ’em. So, that’s one of the things we have worked real hard on. Our most popular website is porkbeinspired and we have over 2,000 recipes on that. And we get a lot of visits, so that tells you the consumers are hungry for information on different cuts and preparation. Our heavy consumers, that we’ve learned about through our research, like to cook. And we do have a fair amount of our country going back to the kitchen, so to speak. And it really cuts across a lot of age groups but they’re a lot of folks, we call ’em create cooks, that enjoy cooking and they really like our product because they’re so much you can do with it. (Duane) We think about those opportunities to meet those individuals, the millennials really are kind of driving that. Almost a renaissance of food and pork fits that really well. (Chris) Absolutely. I call it the Food Channel generation. A lot of these young folks have grown up with the Food Channel and they know the chefs and quite frankly pork does real well on the Food Channel. And now you’ve got other digital opportunities for the millennials. One thing that really distinguishes them from the other age cohorts is their interest in variety and trying new recipes. A lot of interest in Asian cooking right now. A lot of that is coming out of the millennials, so we’ve got a lot of new recipes and some new cuts that the Asians like. (Duane) That will do it from Kansas City, with the National Pork Board, joining us on AGam in Kansas. Jamie, back to you.
(Jamie) Thanks for joining us. I’m your host Jamie Bloom and I hope you enjoyed today’s show. See you next week on Farm Factor – we’re here every Tuesday on AGam in Kansas.
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