Pork Selection Workshop 

Larry   McMullen, southeast swine field specialist 


“Pork the Other White Meat” has been a very successful marketing tool for the National Pork Board in promoting pork to consumers.  However, the average consumer lacks the proper knowledge and skills when selecting pork from the meat counter.  For a pork cut to be tender, juicy, and flavorful, it must display proper color, marbling, pH, and water holding capacity.  Pork cuts should be at least a reddish-pink color and display a modest amount of marbling.  “Pork the Other White Meat” marketing slogan and the perception of lean pork has conveyed to the consumer that pork should be white to pale pinkish gray in color with little or no marbling present.  Therefore, when consumers select this type of pork, it yields a very undesirable product for consumer satisfaction in terms of eating qualities.  Because of this, consumer education on pork quality attributes for a good eating experience must be addressed.     


To address the consumer education needs for selecting high quality pork, a grant from the Iowa Pork Industry Center was received to conduct a Pork Selection Workshop.  Participants could choose one of the five two hour educational programs that were offered during November 16, 17, and 18, 2004.  The workshop sessions utilized ISU Family Nutrition Specialist Susan Uthoff and Vera Stokes. They discussed the nutritional attributes of pork, pork recipes, pork storage and freezing, and food safety issues.  Larry McMullen, ISU Swine Field Specialist, presented information on selecting pork at the meat counter by focusing on pH, color, marbling, and water holding capacity.  Along with the educational discussions, the workshop participants also participated in a sensory panel research project comparing pork loins of high pH, low pH, and Berkshire loins.  A survey was also conducted on consumer knowledge, selection criteria, and pricing of pork. A total of 35 participants (34% male, 66% female) participated in the Pork Selection Workshop.  A $5.00 pork certificate was given to each attendee for participating. 


sing a ranking score of 1 (very low knowledge) to 5 (very high knowledge), participants were asked to assess their knowledge of selecting pork prior to attending this workshop.  The average score for all participants was 2.6.  Using the same criteria, the participants were then asked to assess their knowledge after completing the workshop.  The average score was 4.4,which was a 70% increase in gained knowledge.  When asked “Will you change your shopping patterns and/or habits when selecting pork” - 71% indicated that they would change.  Typical comments when asked how they would change wereto “check marbling and color,” “look for better color and little more marbling,” “look at packaging to compare with dollars," “cheaper isn’t better,” “be willing to pay more for better pork,” and “I’ll buy darker and more marbled pork.”  Also, the participants were asked to give an overall letter grade evaluation for the Pork Selection Workshop with a scale ranging from A to F.  Eighty-eight percent of the attendees rated the workshop with an “A” grade.  Some additional comments were “A very good, informative workshop," “Thank You!” and “I appreciate your time and information.  Very well presented and really appreciate the samples and valuable coupon.  God Bless you for sharing and caring.”

Jan. 5, 2005
108 - Iowa Pork Industry Center

Page last updated: July 9, 2006
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