Pork Commentary, October 30th, 2017
Jim Long President-CEO, Genesus Inc.


Pork – Game Changer

We were extremely happy this week, when we read the new proposed Standards for Grades of Pork Carcass from U.S.D.A. Why so happy?

Finally, there is a proposed system that will properly recognise Pork taste and flavour attributes. The proposed system is based on marbling and colour. 

Pork Carcass Quality Grade
based on lean color and marbling

Similar to the USDA successful Beef Grading system, the Prime and Choice Grades will identify the very best Pork for marbling and color, so that consumers can knowingly get Pork that will have the best taste and flavor.

You only have to look at current beef prices to see were Choice compares to Select. 

U.S.D.A Beef Cut-Outs Prices Oct 27, 2017


Why the higher price? Choice has better eating attributes which leads to enhanced demand and then receives higher prices from the final consumer.
We must recognize the efforts of the National Pork Board with support of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). They have worked diligently over the last while to initiate this game changer.

It’s a 180° turn. For twenty years National Pork Board and NPPC promoted “The other white meat” slogan for the Pork. An unmitigated disaster. $1 billion of Producer check off funding over that time, with pork losing maket share over the same period. Pork per capita consumption flat lined when total meat consumption increased. Instead of promoting Pork as the alternative to Beef, “the other white meat” program branded us to chicken, that sells for half the price of Pork.

Basic marketing tells all; that you never build a brand chasing a cheaper product. It was dumb marketing and the results set back our pork industry because it also got chasing the fallacy consumers wishing to buy leaner and leaner pork.

Why are bellies (bacon) and ribs at top of the Pork Cut Outs? Obviously, they are not lean. They have taste and flavor. Follow the money trail! Consumers vote with their money. Last Friday Bellies were $1.67lb, Loins 99¢ lb, hams 72¢ lb. If want to increase revenues, we need greater demand for Loins and Hams. Better tasting, darker pork, with more marbling will enhance demand and drive prices higher.

There will be opposition to these proposals. Some will prefer the status quo. Some people don’t like change, and some will feel threatened by new grade changes and the intervention of U.S.D.A

We are extremely supportive of change. At Genesus, we began dissecting full carcasses weekly since 1998. A generation ago we believed we had to provide Genetics that had all the production characteristics to have a competitive cost of production. Meat eating attributes had to be accomplished without an increased cost of production. Twenty years latter we say mission accomplished. Genesus has leading edge production and pork which is darker with more marbling and higher PH.

 It has been a twenty year journey. Our mantra: We must produce pork that consumers wish to eat, predictably and consistently good, not a random hit or miss good eating experience. If as an industry, we can get every American to eat pork one more time per month, this is equivalent to 7 million hogs. Demand is what drive prices higher. Why are Beef carcasses $2.03 lb and Pork carcasses 77¢? Demand. Consumers vote with their money. They pay more for the taste-flavor of beef.

Game changer is what these newly proposed grades will do. No longer will lean hogs bring premiums. The switch will be to hogs with marbling and darker colour. We will see a big push to Durocs, do to their meat eating attributes.

Around the world, Genesus has currently 4200 Durocs registered purebred sows in production; the worlds largest production base of Durocs. We say GAME ON, we are ready. Pietrains and the synthetic breeds of the International Hybrid companies will become extinct like Dinosaurs. Of note, only registered Durocs in the National Swine Registry can use the Duroc trademark in the U.S. meat cases.

This U.S.D.A game changer announcement makes us so happy that finally there will be a push for our industry to produce a premium product that consumers want. Its once in a generation industry initiative.

Here is the link to USDA proposed new Grade System


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This post was written by Genesus