Meeting consumer demands for marbled pork

Consumers are looking for the full flavour of marbled pork and work is now underway to bring such products to the Ontario market.

Ontario Pork has taken the lead in working with farmers, retailers and processors to determine the level of marbling consumers want, evaluate different swine genetics and feeding regimens and assess the quality and consistency of carcasses.

“As farmers, we are always looking for new market opportunities that will help us increase the profitability of our farms by growing consumer demand for pork, ” says Stewart Cressman, a hog farmer and Chair of Ontario Pork’s research committee. “This project offers new opportunity for farmers and the entire pork value chain to meet consumer demands for choice when it comes to pork.”

As part of this current initiative, three Ontario hog farmers have been participating in a pilot project to produce pigs with increased marbling using identified swine genetics and feeding regimens.

Consumer research has shown that diners want pork with a score of six out of ten on a marbling score chart for pork similar to one used in the United States by the National Pork Producers’ Council.

The pork resulting from the pilot project achieved a marbling level of three, indicating that although more work is needed to achieve an optimal product, the general parameters are in place. And Ontario Pork, which received $112,032 in funding through the Ontario Research and Development (ORD) program, is committed to carrying the work forward.

“Every customer we talk to, whether retail or food service, is interested in a marbled pork product,” says Cressman. “And it’s thanks to research grants like the ORD program that we’re able to work towards providing the products that people are asking for.”

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Photo source: Put Pork on your Fork

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