Chicken and beef may be popular, and the top way Americans consume most of their protein, but there’s another meat that has been on the rise in recent years: pork. America’s obsession with adding bacon to everything has given strength to the pork industry. However, it’s not just bacon that has fed the pork trend.

Why Is Pork So Popular in the USA?

Our friends at Maple Leaf tell us (and we would agree) that pork is arguably one of the most versatile meats. It is popular on breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus. It can be served in starter dishes like dumplings or on a charcuterie plate. It can also be the main attraction, with traditional cuts like pork chops or in lesser-known sophisticated cuts like capocollo.

In addition to being versatile, pork is also popular because of…

  • The prevalence of Latino cooking and the growing influence of Asian cuisine. Dishes such as Char Siu, Bulgogi, and Banh Mi are now familiar to American consumers…and tasty!
  • The National Pork Board did wonders with its decades-old campaign, “The Other White Meat.” It was a major driver for consumer awareness.
  • The leaner cuts of pork (tenderloin, top-loin chops, sirloin roast) can be attractive to health-conscious diners.  

Red, White, and Bacon

food trendsWe did say that bacon isn’t the only reason pork is so popular these days, but we have to give credit where credit is due. Bacon has had a huge impact on the pork industry with its popularity. While it’s long been a staple topping on burgers, it is now often showing up everywhere on the menu – even in cocktails and on desserts – partnering with donuts and chocolate for example.

You often see pork in between a couple slices of bread. Fast food restaurants are popular for their breakfast, which typically contain bacon or pork sausage on those morning sandwiches. In fact, every time eggs are consumed, there’s a good chance those eggs were paired with bacon.

Popularity with Suppliers

Business people and farmers often turn to pigs more than cows due to how much easier they are to raise, and because they are more environmentally-friendly to raise. Pigs mature faster, eat nearly anything, and do a pretty good job of feeding themselves. A pig can be let out in the morning, take care of itself all day, and make it home to its barn safely at night. Pigs are also much cheaper than cows, and are multiparous, meaning they produce many offspring at one time.

Pork’s rising popularity doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Between economic advantages, everlasting bacon popularity, and an increasing interest in ethnic foods, it appears “the other white meat” is giving chicken a run for its money.


This blog post was written by Mary Murphy, an FDR intern. Mary is a junior at Western Michigan University majoring in Food & CPG Marketing.


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