Why Restaurants Are Bringing Back The Bacon: A Look At Pork Consumption In The US
Even with the rise of veganism and vegetarianism around the United States, meat consumption, and pork, in particular, is on the rise in the US. While chicken has long remained the most popular dish for American households, pork consumption in the US has experienced some of the fastest rates of growth in recent years.
Why is this happening and what factors can help explain the rise in popularity of pork in all its forms? To solve this question, here we look at a few explanations and factors from around the country and the globe that are contributing to this phenomenon. If you enjoy pork or bacon products regularly and want to know more about your favorite meat, here we look at pork consumption trends in the United States might be interesting to you.
What Drives Pork Consumption In The US?
Many factors go into the consumption of pork in the United States. Some of these are purely based on economics while others have much to do with changing consumer tastes and preferences. Recent marketing efforts to boost the profile of pork in the public eye have also had an influence.
The diverse multicultural environment of the United States provides some explanation for increasing pork consumption in the US. With Asian, Mexican, and Latin cuisine featuring pork as the centerpiece of many traditional recipes, those who enjoy such meals at home or in many of the ethnic restaurants throughout the country are contributing to the pork boom.
Economic effects also play a role in the sharp rise of pork production. As consumers have regained their purchasing power since 2008, more money is being spent on high-quality wholesale pork from local wholesale meat purveyors. One study shows that meat sales, especially quality cuts of beef, chicken, and pork, rapidly rose shortly after the recession.
Bacon Is Not Just Another Trend
Bacon, in particular, represents an important component of pork consumption in the US. As columnists have pointed out, the popularity of bacon is not merely another fad or trend that will likely disappear any time soon. The argument goes that in our increasingly safety-obsessed society, bacon represents a miniature form of rebellion against the excessive focus placed on health and wellness in our attitudes towards food.
While there are leaner and healthier pork options, such as pork loin, available that can suit the tastes of those who prefer to closely watch what they eat, popular diets like the keto diet and the paleo diet, as well as continuous marketing campaigns touting the wonders of bacon in all forms, are keeping the demand for this delicious if not necessarily nutritious meat strong.
Pork itself, however, is increasingly being marketed as a healthy option. Indeed, the nutritional profile of high-quality pork is excellent and contains ample amounts of thiamine, selenium, zinc, and vitamin B12. Consumers looking to enjoy pork on a more regular basis may have been swayed by the highlighting of these health-boosting benefits.
Movements Towards Health And Sustainability
Given the increasing spotlight being put on the pork industry’s animal treatment practices, consumers are demanding that additional care be given to these processes. While pork producers in the United States have long followed industry best practices with regards to animal care, consumers are now wary of eating pork that does not bear some form of certification to ensure that the animals were treated humanely while they were raised.
Consumer ethics are also branching out into the area of sustainability. Climate change and the environment are looming large in public discourse. Given the effect that large-scale pork production is having on the environment, producers are improving their processes to reduce their carbon footprint and protect local ecosystems more seriously.
Foreign Demand For American Pork
While pork consumption in the US is strong, the demand for American pork around the world is also on the rise. Though recent tariff troubles with China have led to a specific import tax being placed on American pork being sent to that country, the outbreaks of African Swine Fever in China have led to a domestic decrease of pork stocks there. As such, even with existing tariffs in place, there is still interest in American pork in one of the largest overseas markets for the product.
Join The Herd And Enjoy Pork Yourself
Now that we have explored the reasons why pork consumption is so strong in the United States, you can join in and bring home the bacon today.
Northwest Meat Company is Chicago’s proud wholesale meat suppliers for multiple decades. Get in touch to add quality meat products to your menu.