Pigging out in the name of good taste

What do consumers in Europe, China and Brazil think of pork? A new study is intended to provide an answer to the question - and hopefully result in many new pork-based products in the years to come.

QPorkChains is the name of a newly started EU project that will contribute to new and improved products made from pork. Matforsk is the only Norwegian participant, and researcher Nina Veflen Olsen is managing one of the three subprojects.

Attitudes towards pork production

"First we have to survey the attitudes people have towards pork production – both from the viewpoint of a consumer as well as from that of a concerned citizen. Some people live close to production facilities and may thus be inconvenienced by the odours. Attitudes towards the production process itself will thus also be incorporated into the study," explains Nina Veflen Olsen, who recently participated in the project’s kick-off in Denmark.

The study will be carried out in Denmark, Germany, Poland, Belgium and Greece as well as in China and Brazil. A questionnaire will be sent out to 480 respondents in each of the countries. Through the questionnaire-based study, how pork is included in the meals of the consumers will also be surveyed. Matforsk is contributing to the formulation of the questions for the questionnaires. The results will be used for segmenting the consumers with respect to purchasing patterns, attitudes, demographical conditions, etc. The study will provide an in-depth understanding of the different segments.

Development of new products

In the next phase, analyses will be performed of the behaviour and willingness to pay in the different market segments. The study will result in the development of a number of new products made of pork.
"Precisely how many new products will be developed will only first be answered after the consumer study is available, however plans are to develop 15 new product concepts during this phase of the project," says Veflen Olsen.

Toolbox for industry

The final subproject in the sequence is being managed by Nina Veflen Olsen.
"During this phase we will have good knowledge of the attitudes of the consumers towards pork. We will also have a good overview of different segments and a set of newly developed products. During this subproject, we will develop toolboxes for use by small and medium-sized companies," says Nina Veflen Olsen. The goal is for the toolbox to be so user-friendly that the companies should be able to conduct product development processes themselves. Nina Veflen Olsen says that this part of the project will be carried out in 2009. She foresees the following:
"What such a toolbox will contain depends upon the results of the consumer study and experiences the companies have in the development of new products. The goal is to develop a toolbox that places small and medium-sized companies in a condition to carry out product development processes without any help from expensive external consultants. The toolbox will include detailed descriptions of how idea generation processes, consumer surveys, simple sensoric analyses and marketing tests can be carried out," she says.

QPorkChains is managed by the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Århus.

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