Niche Pork

This month we provide reference material on developing markets for niche pork and examples of pig farms that have successfully partnered with restaurants.

There are lots of challenges for a farm that wants to sell meat directly to restaurants and here are important questions to consider:

Volume – Do you have sufficient production to meet the chef/owner needs?
Fresh – Will the chef accept frozen meat? Many chefs prefer fresh over frozen.
Prime Cuts – Does the menu have a place for secondary cuts or just high-end loins?
Packaging – Does your processor have the ability to provide the type of cuts and packaging that meet restaurant requirements?
Unique Quality and Social Attributes – What sets your animals and growing practices apart from commodity meat producers?

Profitable Pork Sustainable Agriculture Network
This 16 page bulletin showcases examples of alternate ways to raise pork profitably, discusses various environmental benefits and potential marketing options.
Profitable Pork

“Differentiation” Innovation and Opportunity Digest
Discover how farmers are capturing specialty pork marketing opportunities by using local or place-based production, high flavour, healthy, certified sustainable production practices and old-fashioned brand identity.
450 kb PDF

“Developing a Niche Market for Pork” Glenn E. Conatser, Purdue Extension
A ten page fact sheet that outlines key questions that a producer needs to answer before embarking on any niche marketing effort.
60 kb PDF

Pork Niche Market Working Group
This Iowa based organization sponsors
research and development projects aimed at addressing the challenges facing niche pork supply chains. Provides great links to online resources published in the last five years.

“Niche Pork News”
A periodic newsletter for farmers involved in the niche pork industry.
Niche Pork News

Berkshire Value Chain
Canadian case study of a group of producers involved the production and marketing of breed specific pork cuts to a select group of high-end restaurants and specialty retailers.
Berkshire Value Chain

Flying Pigs Farm, described in the article “Vintage Cuts” by Amanda Hesser for the New York Times
Vintage Cuts (article)

Willow Creek Farm described in the article “Willow Creek Farm” by Lynn Olson for the Willy Street Co-op Reader
Willow Creek Farm (article)

Lazy S Farm is a Kansas-based farm that raises Red Wattle pigs and other heritage livestock that are sought by chefs around the country.
Lazy S Farm