By DOUG SCHMITZ
ALGONA, Iowa — After 18 months of in-depth research, two of the nation’s largest farm groups will play a pivotal role in U.S. consumers being offered more consumer-friendly names on packages of fresh pork cuts in their respective retail meat cases.
“The new names will help change the way consumers and retailers talk about pork,” said Conley Nelson, Algona, Iowa, hog producer and National Pork Board (NPB) president. “But more importantly, the simpler names will help clear up confusion that consumers currently experience at the meat case, helping to move more pork in the long-term.”
The new names, such as the porterhouse pork chop, are designed to allow retailers to differentiate and merchandise pork cuts more effectively while aiding shoppers in selecting and preparing pork.
Before the renaming process took shape, the NPB and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Assoc. (NCBA) collaborated on the research, which showed that “consumers are often confused by the different names for similar cuts of meat and, as a result, do not know how to cook a variety of cuts now available in the meat case.”
To change that, the NPB is working to simplify pork cut names and include basic usage and preparation information on the package, with several cuts of pork that will now match the names for similar beef cuts for easier consumer identification and preparation. New pork names to look for in the meat case include:
•Pork porterhouse chop (previously a loin chop)
•Pork ribeye chop, bone-in (previously a rib chop center)
•Pork ribeye chop (previously a rib chop)
•Pork New York chop (previously a top loin chop)
Officials said the new cut names will eventually align with the foodservice industry as well, to provide a consistent consumer perception of pork at restaurants and at home.
As the new cut names suggest by their alignment with popular beef cut names, pork is a great choice for the grill – and consumers can cook pork chops just like their favorite steaks.
“Research shows that consumers are buying cuts they are familiar with,” said Patrick Fleming, NPB director of retail marketing. “Now, once they get their New York chop or ribeye chop home, they can grill it in the way they’re familiar with, too.”
For medium-rare to medium chops, the NPB recommends grilling to an internal temperature between 145-160 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by a three-minute rest. A digital cooking thermometer is recommended to help ensure an accurate final temperature.