26 September 1997

MLC to inject £2m to promote pork mince

SALES of pigmeat are to get a boost this autumn with a £2m Meat and Livestock Commission promotion of pork mince.

A new quality mark has been developed for butchers and multiple retailers, backed up with a £1.5m TV advertising campaign. This will be combined with magazine ads, point-of-sales material and other PR activities.

Current UK sales of pork mince amount to just 4000t a year, compared with 12,000t of lamb mince and 80,000t of beef mince.

But research has shown that, in the past 12 months, the proportion of households buying pork mince has doubled to 12% as consumers look for an alternative to beef.

The aim now is to lift sales of pork mince to 18,000t a year, by concentrating on its low fat and modern image, says MLC pigmeat product manager, Andrew Garvey.

To qualify for the new quality standard, butchers and retailers must only use fresh meat, exclude offal and head meat, and trim the carcass to a target 95% visible lean. They must also use 100% pork and achieve a chemical fat content of less than 10%.

Spot checks will be carried out by 16 area account executives to ensure these standards are being complied with.

Every aspect of the scheme has been backed up with consumer research, say MLC executives. And additional returns to farmers through increased sales should cover the cost of investment many times over.n