Pig meat gains popularity in foodservice

People prefer pig meat when dining out, according to figures released by NPD Group/Crest. The data shows that pork, bacon, sausages and ham now account for 68.7% of all red meat servings in the out-of-home market.

Pig meat also experienced the greatest increase in servings in 2011 compared to other meats. Total pig meat servings increased by 8.1% in 2011, compared with total beef (including beefburgers) which increased by 5.8%, and total lamb (including kebabs) which declined by 0.1%. Chicken servings only increased by 2.9% in the same period and turkey declined by 4.3%.

Growth was primarily driven by bacon, which saw servings grow by 29.5% and sausages, which grew by 21.3%. Ham also increased by 11.7% and pork saw an increase of 4.6%.

Bpex foodservice trade manager Tony Goodger put the figures down to the value for money and versatility that pig meat offers. “Quality-assured bacon is a fantastic ingredient for all types of menus. It’s hugely versatile and delivers a punch of flavour to dishes. Sausages made from quality-assured pork also continue to be one of the most popular foods eaten out of home, appealing to both adults and children alike. Both are relatively low-cost proteins and, in the current climate when every penny counts, chefs are clearly recognising their profit potential,” he said.

“Pork has always represented good value for money in comparison with other meats, but now we’re starting to see more chefs buying whole pig carcases and experimenting with a wider range of cuts. Shoulder, collar and belly pork are extremely succulent and tasty, especially when cooked slowly. Pigs’ trotters and cheeks, as well as dishes which make use of the head, knuckle, hock and offal, are also gaining in popularity.”