Industry told to talk consumers’ language when promoting pork

Pork promoters still aren’t talking in the consumers’ language, says a grocery expert.

That leaves them pushing the meat in a way that doesn’t speak to consumers’ hearts and ends up leaving more on the shelves than in shopping carts.

“We have to focus more on the benefits of buying the product,” Peter Chapman, a former Loblaw senior manager, said during the Manitoba Swine Seminar.

“A lot of times when I see people talking about pork, it’s more about the features, not the benefits of the product.”

The pork industry often pushes the idea that pork is lean, rather than saying that it is healthy for your family, he said.

Chapman said the grocery system is boiling over with new approaches, new players and new ways of purchasing food.

Amazon got a lot of attention when it bought Whole Foods and moved into the physical retail world, as well as expanding its digital platform.

But a plethora of small, niche food players have also sprung up and are moving into the retail world.

Chapman offered Flat Tummy Tea as an example.

It promotes itself mostly online, sells meal replacements and “cleansing” tea powders, and has 1.4 million Instagram followers. It’s a big deal, but few people outside of 18- to 28-year-old women have heard of it.

At the same time, the mainstream grocers are fighting with the big discounters and everybody is trying to find new ways attract consumers.

Another channel to the consumer is the “meal kits” of already portioned food elements thatare sent directly to consumers’ homes.

“If you want to get more pork on the fork, you need to start having your items included in those meal kits,” said Chapman.

“They do the work for you.”

Chapman said the pork industry does a lot right. It produces a quality product, supplies it reliably and can offer it at affordable prices.

But too much of its presentation to the consumer is still in the form of a bulk commodity, with only price and “value” elements promoted.

“We need to do more to tell people what’s going on with these products. It’s our job to sell them,” said Chapman.

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