A new survey has proven that while consumers are increasingly considering sustainability as a key factor in making purchasing decisions, price and convenience remain king – trends which bode particularly well for the South African pork industry moving into 2022.
According to PwC’s December 2021 Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey, more than half of the 9 370 individuals surveyed reported that they were more eco-friendly than six months ago. But of these respondents, 68% of in-store shoppers reported that they continue to actively seek the best deal compared with 42% who actively search for eco-friendly and sustainable products.
“Notably, however, compared to other forms of protein, pork remains a top competitor in all three categories, offering the benefits of affordability, accessibility, and sustainability in addition to its great taste and versatility,” says Eskort Chief Executive Officer Arnold Prinsloo.
“As households globally come to appreciate its relative advantages, this could finally place pork at the top of shopping lists where it belongs in a win-win for consumer health and wallets, as well as the environment.”
More bang for your buck
Skyrocketing electricity, fuel, and animal feed costs have seen food prices soar in recent months, placing an even greater burden on consumer budgets in addition to the financial impacts of COVID-19 and an anaemic economy. As holiday demand kicks in, further boosting prices, the costs of beef and lamb will therefore be prohibitively expensive for many households this coming festive season, notes Prinsloo.
“Against this backdrop, pork remains an attractive, pocket-friendly alternative, available on average at just two-thirds of the price of beef and less than half the price of lamb or mutton.”
Furthermore, pork prices have even fallen over the past 12 months, with a recent Standard Bank Livestock report indicating that pork has shed some 7.8% year-on-year.
Moreover, amidst growing consumer focus on healthier diets and lifestyle choices, pork also offers an important source of high-quality protein brimming with essential nutrients.
Much like other meats, there are both fatty and lean pork cuts available to suit your taste and diet preferences. Significantly, however, lean pork cuts such as tenderloin, loin chop cuts and sirloin roasts offer comparable calories to skinless chicken breasts, and are also rich in crucial amino acids which assist in muscle maintenance and performance.
“This is precisely why pork is a protein of choice for athletes, patients recovering from surgery, or anyone seeking to boost their energy and maintain their long-term health,” he explains.
“With pockets under pressure, it’s vital to recognise that as a protein, pork punches far above its weight. As we look forward to 2022, we therefore hope to see an increasing number of consumers make the switch from beef and lamb, with benefits for overall health levels.”
The future-forward choice
In terms of sustainability, studies have shown that the environmental impact of producing pork is comparable with poultry and eggs. By contrast, beef is estimated to produce five times the heat-trapping gases per calorie such as methane and carbon dioxide, and requires as much as 11 times more water.
“This is particularly meaningful in a water-scarce country such as South Africa, placing less demand on vital natural resources. Additionally, as consumers place increasing emphasis on conscious purchases, pork represents an easy, sustainable substitution for reducing the environmental footprint of food production, with positive implications for the growth of the local industry.
“Ultimately, we believe that these factors will result in an uptake in demand during 2022, as consumers recognise the benefits of pork both for themselves and their families, as well as its advantages as a gift to the environment. While we have all suffered a difficult two years during the pandemic, I believe that the future is bright, and that as an industry, we can look forward to a more positive year ahead,” concludes Prinsloo.