Case Study

Reinventing the A&U to Understand the Demand Landscape for Pork


The National Pork Board’s (NPB) mission is to unite pork producers with key stakeholders and elevate U.S. pork as the global protein of choice by continuously and collaboratively working to do what’s right for people, pigs, and the planet.

A few years ago, the National Pork Board adopted a new role: to provide the U.S. pork industry with leading-edge consumer research and insights. With this purpose in mind, NPB sought C+R’s help to conduct a comprehensive Pork Demand Landscape. The research would provide industry stakeholders with accurate, forward-looking market intelligence and inform strategies and tactics employed by a variety of stakeholders, including processors, manufacturers, retailers, and restaurants.


An Aggressive Research Agenda

In its new role as a research partner, the NPB sought to understand the demand landscape for pork within the larger market context and spectrum of protein choices. They had an aggressive research agenda that needed to address a wide range of business issues, including:

  • Illuminating the “who, what, where, when, why, and how” of pork consumption in the U.S. 
  • Identifying and defining the best target audiences for pork today and in the future (in-home and out-of-home consumption)
  • Identifying current and future growth opportunities for pork:
    • By target audience
    • By meal occasion/situation
    • By unmet needs
    • By pork product
    • At home and when dining out
    • Understanding motivators and barriers to the purchase and consumption of pork
    • Uncovering correlations between consumer values, preferences, perceptions, and behavior
  • Providing insights to develop new message opportunities to drive pork usage and loyalty
  • Discovering insights to guide innovation and future product development
  • Determining how grocery, dining, and other food-related trends impact consumer preference and demand for pork now and into the future


Combining Attitudes and Perceptions With Behavior to create segments

With so many business issues to address and the need for accurate purchase data, we knew we had our work cut out for us. C+R designed a comprehensive, multiple-phase research plan with regular data-sharing work sessions built-in throughout.

The research program kicked off with a Category Discovery leveraging Numerator’s OmnipanelTM to understand purchase dynamics of the client’s categories and subcategories versus competitive proteins.

We provided NPB with an integrated look at the strengths and weaknesses of different pork cuts in terms of penetration, trips and buy rate, by channel.

The Category Discovery was followed by qualitative research to develop hypotheses and survey content for the quantitative phase. In this phase, we wanted to gain insights from a variety of ethnicities and those with different category affinity, including Millennials and Unacculturated and Bicultural Hispanics. To do this, we conducted ten focus groups exploring perceptions, emotions, and barriers associated with the category. A proprietary online community captured digital journaling and shopper missions to help the team understand usage and shopping behavior.

We then used our Illuminator® solution, Dollars + Attitudes® segmentation framework, by administering an online survey to Numerator’s OmnipanelTM to explore how a respondent’s retail purchase behavior could be overlaid with their needs and motivations. To address the long list of business questions and reduce respondent fatigue, three modular, sequentially triggered surveys quantified consumers’ attitudes and usage of pork and a variety of other meats in the following dimensions: in-home consumption, out-of-home consumption, and general attitudes and trends.

The result

A Clear Path for Innovation

Through our segmentation research, the client developed actionable strategies to align individual pork cuts with key consumer targets by dining occasion and in-home and away-from-home dining. C+R’s insights also provided a clear path for innovation to better position pork by consumer generation, family type, and nutritional priorities.

In partnership with the client’s agency, a comprehensive publicity and social media campaign was rolled-out to disseminate key insights.

A sampling of our overarching findings: 

  • Category revival necessitates overcoming key barriers: key need states require that pork deliver more on heartiness, healthiness, and a broader range of occasions
  • Key categories need to expand their appeal: Millennials require greater education and meal inspiration as well as a robust new product pipeline
  • Key occasions were identified defining dining out decisions, thus providing industry partners with the foundation to develop future initiatives

Learn more about how C+R leverages our Illuminator®  solutions to combine  qualitative and quantitative expertise with actual behavioral data collected from millions of shopping receipts.

proven experience

related case studies

take the next step

let’s discuss your upcoming project