Processed Pork Strengthens Protein Sales

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Processed Pork Strengthens Protein Sales

DES MOINES, Iowa - Consumers may not connect ham, lunchmeat, and bacon back to its source, but these processed pork items contribute significantly to the overall strength of protein sales, according to the National Pork Board based here.

To better gauge the strength of processed pork items, NPB analyzed retail scanner data from six markets across the United States, reflecting sales during 2002 -2005. Included in the analysis were all segments of pork represented in the grocery store with the exception of frozen items.

"The results from our analysis were enlightening, and provide retailers with additional knowledge to enhance their sales," said Karen Boillot, NPB's director of retail marketing.

During the 2002-2005 time period, the breakdown of total pork dollar sales were consistent, with processed pork sales accounting for approximately 70 percent and fresh pork making up the remaining roughly 30 percent of dollar sales. Sales of both processed and fresh pork have trended up through the four-year period, although 2005 experienced softening after the heightened meat awareness of the Atkins diet in 2003 and 2004.

Within processed pork, ham deli meat accounted for 25 percent of sales dollars, followed by bacon at 20 percent, dinner sausage at 16 percent, and non-ham deli meats at 14 percent. Refrigerated dinners, though accounting for only 2 percent of sales, grew by 34 percent over the four-year period.

"This data shows the strength of processed pork and the particular strength of the core performers in this segment - deli meats, bacon and dinner sausage," said Boillot, noting that it "also highlights the tremendous growth of refrigerated dinners and shows the opportunity pork holds within this dynamic segment."

The fresh pork category has seen sales dollar growth of 7 percent in boneless chops, 9 percent in ribs and 13 percent in smoked pork. Ground pork, which accounts for only 1 percent of sales, is a segment that has seen significant sales dollar growth of 39 percent over the past four years.

"While NPB continues to focus on increasing fresh pork's share of the consumer dollar, this data serves as a reminder of the relative strength of processed and the importance of seeking ways to leverage these two important segments with each other," said Boillot. "One of pork's strengths is its variety in both fresh and processed areas. This is something retailers can capitalize on."