Yet another food trend

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

It is with some amusement that we see from an Associated Press report that a few pork producers are getting premium prices by satisfying a specialty niche market on the east and west coasts.

Gourmet chefs and boutique meat markets are creating a growing demand for pork with more fat.

After decades of breeding leaner hogs and promoting the result as a healthier product than the traditional, high-fat pork, some diners have come to the unsurprising conclusion that higher-fat pork is juicier and more flavorful than lean pork.

Several things need to be noted here. Even though pork is leaner than it was 30 years ago, pork still has sufficient fat to be flavorful and sufficient fat to warrant moderation in consumption for health reasons.

Also, just because higher-fat pork is in demand in a specialty market, doesn't mean that the whole pork industry will do an about face on what they have been doing and promoting for many years.

Apparently, more specialty meat products are being developed for diverse consumers who want choices for each cut of meat rather than a uniform product. The health conscious meat consumers still want a lean cut of meat. In fact, another developing niche market is for grass-fed beef, which is leaner than corn-fed beef.

Providing consumers what they want is not always simple or easily predicted but can pay dividends.