The majority of national checkoffs have a provision requiring a regular return on investment survey, providing investors with an objective and measurable impact of how the checkoff has impacted their bottom line. The National Pork Board recently completed its ROI study, conducted every five years, with the results indicating a 25 to 1 return for every producer checkoff dollar invested.
A big part of that ROI comes from the National Pork Board’s efforts to drive consumer preference for pork consumption. Volunteer leaders who strategically prioritize how checkoff dollars are invested have focused on a multi-layered approach to driving demand, including domestic and international efforts. Here at home, checkoff dollars are invested in product research, such as new cuts of pork, shifting consumer perceptions of pork and promoting pork to the food value chain, including foodservice and restaurants.
A recent example of how the checkoff is promoting pork is a trend report on consumer protein consumption. The Pork Board’s All About Dining Out: What’s on Trend research report uncovers why consumers decide to eat the proteins they do and explores tactics that help foodservice operators meet those needs, such as new flavors, dishes and menu formats. There is an overarching high level of consumer satisfaction with dishes that feature pork, pointing to opportunity for incorporating pork in new ways on menus. Checkoff leaders point to rapidly changing innovations, technology and competition as drivers for ongoing research that can benefit the entire industry and help drive operator profitability.
With this research in hand, the National Pork Board is focusing on three key opportunity areas with checkoff investments:
- Providing healthy pork options for menus, like the pork tenderloin or the pork sirloin chop.
- Expanding consumer horizons and filling their interest for Mexican, Latin and Asian inspired dishes.
- Promoting quick-serve options. Convenience was the primary need for consumers in 38 percent of away-from-home dining occasions.
One of the fundamental benefits of any checkoff, whether it’s the pork industry or concrete masonry products, is the ability to do trend research and innovations that can benefit an entire industry. It would be challenging for any one company to do a full-scale research study that takes into account data analysis in architecture, design, engineering, compliance and more, but with a checkoff we can do just that and share the information to elevate the perception and demand of concrete masonry across the country. Not unlike pork farmers are doing right now to drive more of us to put pork on our plates when we dine out.