Make mine British

The pigmeat industry may be struggling to survive in the current market, but the good news is consumers are happy with British pork.

A study by BPEX revealed around 83% of respondents were quite or very satisfied with the eating quality of their pork loin steaks. However, the research revealed little difference in taste between standard and premium products.

The study, conducted in consumers' homes, saw 900 samples sent out, said BPEX's Chris Lamb, and the results were very positive for the sector. "Consumers do not have a problem with the eating quality of British pork," he said. "We thought we had a problem, but we're actually doing a good job. The issue we have now is getting more people to buy pork."

The research showed that, among light users, pork has a poor reputation, with participants' perception of it as "unhealthy", "boring", "not versatile" and "time-consuming". "That's a clear challenge for the industry to address," said Lamb.

Another issue flagged up by the research was the lack of taste difference between premium and standard. Lamb said the results are not too surprising: "Premium pork is based on welfare grounds - outdoor-reared for example. However, it shows there's an opportunity to get taste benefits into premium."

Bore taint, something Lamb said the industry ties itself in knots over, was also not an issue for consumers. "We were looking for it in the results, but there was no issue with it. That doesn't mean it's not there, just that consumers are used to it. They see it as a natural product."