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Pork, The Food Of Love

Holy simmering succotash! Could pork be the new Viagra? Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez made international headlines recently when she suggested putting pork on your fork leads to more than yummy in your tummy.

“I’ve just been told something I didn’t know; that eating pork improves your sex life … I’d say it’s a lot nicer to eat a bit of grilled pork than take Viagra,” Fernandez reportedly said to leaders of that country’s pig-farming industry. She said she recently ate pork and “things went very well that weekend, so it could well be true.”

At a time when Canada’s pork industry is in the midst of a massive restructuring, maybe now is an opportunity to reposition its products too.

Saskatchewan promoters have helped launch a racy new image with their “Pork. The one you love,” billboards that feature a couple with more on their minds than the grill.

Move over swine flu, pork is now Cupid fodder, ranking right up there with chocolate, red wine and roses as a way of impressing a loved one on Valentine’s Day. This is the kind of image that could make “the other white meat” sizzle all the way from the barbecue to dinner table and into the bedroom – especially if one also volunteers to do the cooking and the dishes.

Don’t take the word of a foreign government official on this one. There’s research right here at home backing her up.

BACON OVER SEX

The results of a recently released Canadian survey suggest a significant proportion of the population is more passionate about pork, particularly bacon, than it is about sex.

The Angus Reid survey, commissioned by Maple Leaf Foods to mark the launch of its reclosable bacon packaging, found 73 per cent of respondents love bacon. In fact, the survey found that 43 per cent of Canadians overall (that’s four out of 10 Canadians) would choose bacon over sex.

British Columbia residents topped the list, with fully half of respondents saying they’d take bacon over sex. Less so in Quebec, where only 37 per cent said they’d give up sex for bacon.

Twenty-three per cent of men rank bacon’s aroma over perfume. Quick, call up Chanel and pitch the product development department on some “eau de frying pan.”

And when asked if they are good lovers, four out of five survey respondents (82 per cent) who said they love bacon, also said they are good lovers. When asked if they are romantic, four out of five respondents (81 per cent) who said they love bacon also agreed they are romantic.

Of course, that’s their opinion. One in four of the survey respondents (23 per cent) from Manitoba and Saskatchewan wondered if “my partner loves bacon more than me.”

However, we suspect the number of people who will admit to being poor lovers ranks right up there with the number who admit to being bad drivers or bad parents.

But in light of this new research, perhaps Manitoba Pork Marketing should diversify into matchmaking with a website called something like – baconlovers.com.Call it succession planning. If bacon lovers unite, they’re bound to produce baby bacon lovers.

Team all these stats up with the latest research about the healthfulness of legumes and you have a lusty new marketing theme around that stodgy old English standby of pork and beans – more satisfying than sex and heart healthy too.

MARKETING

The Maple Leaf survey and marketing campaign capitalizes on the time-tested strategy of using imagery that links the product to basic human desires – such as love, security, status and fulfilment.

“We wanted to probe how deeply rooted Canadians’ passion for bacon is – and the For the Love of Bacon survey sure opened our eyes!” said Adam Grogan, the company’s vice-president of marketing in a release.

Maple Leaf hasn’t changed its bacon products and it hasn’t cut its prices; it has introduced reclosable packaging so people can conveniently serve bacon more often than weekends and special occasions.

There’s more than one way to boost consumption. The suggestion that pork is an aphrodisiac is anecdotal and hardly

scientific, but this is not a good time for anyone to climb aboard that soapbox. This is the best image booster the pork industry has received in a long, long time.

It underscores how passionate people can be about their food and there’s not much about that, that science can quantify or measure.

Taste and convenience are obviously important drivers. Safety and nutrition are expected, and that’s where science does have a role.

It is also about cost, although that becomes secondary when food is positioned as part of a bigger picture, such as a memorable experience. You don’t give your girlfriend a dozen roses and brag about how little you spent – unless you like wearing them.

The foundation of any successful marketing plan is having a good product and a good story to go with it.

The rest, as they say, is the sizzle. [email protected]

About the author

Vice-President of Content

Laura Rance

Laura Rance is vice-president of content for Glacier FarmMedia. She can be reached at [email protected]

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