More work needed on pork descriptions

Foodservice outlets need to do a better job when it comes to menu descriptions of pork and sausage dishes, a BPEX report has found.

A study of 1,000 consumers revealed that catering establishments were not describing pork and sausage meals as aptly as other meals on the menu. Foodservice was also lagging behind the retail sector when it came to the development of its sausage offer, said the report.

BPEX foodservice trade manager Tony Goodger said butchers should play a greater role in helping chefs to describe the pork dishes. "Suppliers need to work with the chefs and make sure they get as much information as possible about the breed, how it has been reared and so on, and encourage them to get that information onto the menu." Sausages were also an area that needed development, he said: "A lot of outlets aren't offering anything more than traditional sausage; they need to catch up with retailers and offer a greater range."

The study also revealed an opportunity for roast pork outside the weekend, with consumers happy to eat it in a hot sandwich. Goodger said this gave caterers and suppliers the chance to use a cut such as shoulder of pork, leaving the leg or loin for the Sunday roast.

Consumers also expect a fixed price for a roast, and with pork cheaper than beef or lamb, suppliers and foodservice outlets have the opportunity to increase margins. With consumer spend tighter, caterers needed to think about pork more, added Goodger. "Good-quality pork steaks are going to be perceived as good value, and they're more likely to fill the plate," he said. "Sausages also offer a good opportunity for meal deals - two for 10 for example. Catering suppliers need to be talking to their customers, looking at meal options and building them around quality sausages.

"Chefs have got to wake up and earn their money and pork is good value for money at the moment."