Consumers are eating more pork than they were just a couple of years ago. 69% of consumers report eating pork at least weekly, up from 65% in 2014, according to Technomic’s 2017 Center of the Plate: Beef & Pork Consumer Trend Report.
What is driving consumers? The report found that new and innovative restaurant dishes are one of the top drivers of increased pork consumption.
What’s more, diners say they would eat even more pork if it was on the menu. Now is the time to give consumers the innovative dishes they want, and pork is one way to menu new on-trend dishes while increasing the bottom line. The combination of consumer demand and pork’s profitability presents a unique opportunity for operators to grow their businesses
Here’s a look at how some chefs are adding on-trend creativity to their menu:
Consumers are looking for globally inspired dishes, and pork is an authentic ingredient across many cuisines such as Filipino—one of 2017’s most popular ethnic cuisines. California’s Mix Mix Kitchen Bar menus Pork Cheek Adobo with garlic fried rice and crispy shallots. Similarly, Southeast Asian inspired Pig & Khao in New York City menus Sizzling Sisig, a traditional dish made with pig’s head that’s chopped, braised, grilled, sauteed and served sizzling on an iron platter and topped with with chili, onions and a cracked egg.
Some operators are taking the global trend a step further by exploring regional global cuisine, such as Chinese food—instead of generalizing, chefs are approaching region-specific dishes. Won Fun Chinese in Chicago highlights Sichuan Classics, on its menu. The featured dishes include Twice-Cooked Pork and Sichuan Pork Wontons.
One way to expand sales is to consider menuing pork chops beyond dinner. At Upton 43 in Minneapolis, Minn., brunch features a Hay-Roasted Pork Chop served with fried eggs, charred pickles and Nordic mustard.
Other operators are focusing on snack and happy hour traffic by adding bar bites to the menu. Husk’s next door bar in Charleston, S.C., includes a variety of pork dishes ranging from a domestic ham board to Kentuckyaki Glazed Pig's Ear Lettuce Wraps.
Grab and go
Pork is also well suited to grab and go applications, such as the Crispy Pork Sandwich from California-based sandwich concept Burnt Crumbs. The handheld features pork shoulder, pork cracklings, salsa verde and chili-lime mayonnaise on housemade ciabatta.
Similarly, Kingsland Kitchen, Portland’s original food-cart pod, is taking a cue from this trend and wrapping up traditional English (plated) breakfasts to-go. Their sandwiches range from the Little Britain, with banger pork sausage, a fried egg, applewood-smoked bacon, black pudding, roasted tomatoes and mushrooms and HP brown sauce, to the Faulty Tower, with a fried egg, house pork sausage patty, applewood-smoked bacon, hand carved grilled ham, grilled onions and cheddar cheese.
This post is sponsored by The National Pork Board