Pork is the most popular meat in the world and because of that, there has never been a better time to put pork on the menu. Today’s pork is more consistent, leaner, and safer than ever. Cost-per-serving of pork gives one of the best price-to-value ratios of any type of meat.
With the growing public enthusiasm for exciting new flavours, and Canada’s burgeoning ethnic community, pork is ideally placed as the protein of choice in a huge range of exotic and traditional dishes. Reasonably priced, especially compared to other popular proteins, pork deserves a fresh appraisal from food service operators.
Pork is the most popular meat in the world by far, according to USDA world consumption statistics. In Canada, pork outperforms chicken. Pork’s versatility is the key to understanding its global popularity. From Andouille to Zampone, pork is the star in an endless number of regional dishes.
Pork represents a great, under-exploited opportunity for food service. When operators are convinced to put pork on the menu they are pleasantly surprised by the positive response. Properly presented and cooked, pork sells!
From fast-food operations to fine dining, putting pork on the menu will delight customers and drive up profits. Difficult to cook? Nothing could be further from the truth; there’s only one golden rule: DON’T OVERCOOK PORK!
Cooking pork is essentially no different from any other centreplate item. With the application of skill, creativity, and attention to detail, pork delivers customer satisfaction every time.
Today hogs are raised in scrupulously hygienic conditions, but memories rooted in history persist. Consumers, and even a few chefs, still believe that unless pork is cooked to “well done” it is unsafe. The origin of this myth is the now obsolete fear of Trichinosis, a parasite that lives in the earth and occasionally infected hogs in the days when they foraged freely. Trichinosis is no longer a problem in domestic hog production. There have been no reported cases in decades. This parasite is killed at 137˚F (58˚C), the temperature of rare roast beef and well below the recommended final internal temperature for pork, 160˚F (70˚C). Misplaced anxiety about trichinosis is probably the root cause of the ingrained habit of over-cooking pork.
Canadians are choosing pork more often. It is true that a number of faiths, and vegetarians, do not eat pork, and we respect this. However, there is also a huge majority of people who do enjoy pork. The operator that ignores this majority does so at his, or her, peril.
Ribs, chops, and processed pork in the form of hams and bacon remain popular, and retail sales of fresh pork have been steadily climbing. But fresh pork in general is under-represented in food service. Yet there are enormous opportunities for food service operators across the broad spectrum of the industry. Whether you work in hotels, schools, hospitals, chain and independent restaurants or caterers you can increase your operation’s profitability by the informed use of fresh pork.
In addition to being safe, wholesome and versatile, don’t forget pork’s greatest asset – its marvellous taste!
Hog producers’ livelihoods are dependent on the quality of hogs that they produce on their farms. To produce Canadian Pork of the highest possible quality for our consumers, the Canadian Quality Assurance® (CQA®) program was developed under the general principles of the HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) system. This is an international science-based system that was originally developed to guarantee the safety of food consumed by NASA astronauts. Processors are doing their part by implementing HACCP systems in their plants and are now looking to their suppliers to put in place similar systems in order to have quality assurance programs throughout every step of production, from the farm right through to the consumer.
Officially launched in 1998, the CQA® program is now well established in all Canadian Pork Council member provinces. The majority of Canadian hogs are now produced under this program. In this increasingly competitive global market, producers are prepared to make a clear commitment to quality.