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'Pulled Pork' campaign aims to balance the pig sector by selling more shoulder joints

PUBLISHED: 09:00 10 May 2015 | UPDATED: 09:43 10 May 2015

Pulled Pork campaign

Pulled Pork campaign

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A new campaign has been launched to drive more value for British pig producers - by using a slow-cooked favourite to renew the consumers' appetite for shoulder joints.

The Pulled Pork campaign will be championed by Michelin-starred TV chef Tom Kerridge and is being run by BPEX, the pigs division of levy-payers’ organisation the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

It will include TV advertising, and about 1.3 million “Perfect for Pulled Pork” stickers will appear on packs of pork shoulder in supermarkets to showcase the tender charms of dishes which are often a feature at hog roasts, county shows or wedding receptions – yet have fallen from favour in domestic kitchen repertoires.

Alastair Butler, of Blythburgh Free Range Pork, is chairman of the marketing sub-group at BPEX. He said the rationale behind the campaign was to correct a carcass imbalance created by an over-consumption of the nation’s favourite leg and loin cuts.

He said of the nine million pigs produced in the UK, we consume the equivalent of 24 million pigs’ worth of loins and 20 million pigs’ worth of legs, predominantly imported as cured products, bacon and gammon.

A restaurant resurgence has brought pork bellies back into balance at nine million a year – but the shortfall comes in the fourth primal cut, the shoulder, of which the nation only consumes six million pigs’ worth.

“We realised we need to improve the image of pork and we have got this issue with the shoulder,” said Mr Butler. “So, if we can promote pork by promoting the shoulder we would get a carcass balance.

“There was only one option – pulled pork is one of those ‘loved’ dishes. We have been enjoying hog roasts for years, usually in a food service environment, but we are trying to tell consumers that you should be able to do a hog roast theme at home, and make pulled pork yourself. You can do that by getting a shoulder and roasting it for five hours, and you get the same thing you would eat at a country show or a wedding.

“The TV advertising is due to start after the General Election, and we are going out there telling people that this is such an easy thing to do, and the preparation is really simple.

“I hope we will get more value for the shoulder. It is a massive amount of meat and if we get more value into that cut we can get more value into pigs. If we can get six million pigs’ worth of shoulders up to nine million, and start to balance the carcass, then pig farmers and processors can make more money, which means we can invest more into the industry and we will start to see that industry grow.

“We just need to get out there and tell people that pork should be part of their recipe repertoire.”

The launch-pad for the focused Pulled Pork campaign was a 10-year campaign to improve the appeal of British pork in general.

“We have spent 10 years working on a story of differentiation,” said Mr Butler. “We have highlighted that British pork is a higher welfare product than our European colleagues. That campaign came to a pinnacle around the time of the horse-gate scandal. It was all about consumer trust, and supermarkets’ sourcing policies when it comes to meat. As a result, a lot of supermarkets bought into the idea that a lot of consumers wanted to be eating British meat.”

Are you planning a food and farming campaign? Contact chris.hill@archant.co.uk.

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