PORK BOARD UNVEILS FIRST AWARD WINNERS

DES MOINES, Iowa -- - The National Pork Board announced the winners of the inaugural Consumer's Choice Pork Awards, recognizing supermarket products introduced after June 2000, and rated for good taste, their ability to fit busy lifestyles, overall product appeal and likelihood of purchase.More than 50 products were initially submitted, and a panel of industry experts narrowed down the qualifying

DES MOINES, Iowa -- - The National Pork Board announced the winners of the inaugural Consumer's Choice Pork Awards, recognizing supermarket products introduced after June 2000, and rated for good taste, their ability to fit busy lifestyles, overall product appeal and likelihood of purchase.

More than 50 products were initially submitted, and a panel of industry experts narrowed down the qualifying nominations to 10 finalists. Then, a jury of consumers selected the top five most innovative pork products, and the winning selections were announced during a luncheon at an upscale barbecue restaurant in New York.

The winning products are: Homestyle Seasoned Pork Roast with Gravy (John Morrell & Co and RMH Foods); Genuine Pulled Pork Bar-B-Que Slathered with Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Sauce (Dinosaur Bar-B-Que); Pork Chop on a Stick (Iowa Quality Meats); Ready-to-Serve Bacon (Oscar Mayer Division, Kraft Foods North America); and Thomas E. Wilson Italian Seasoned Pork Roast (IBP, Tyson Family Foods).

Of the finalists, one was a private-label brand sold by Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif. The retailer's Safeway Select Gourmet Club sesame pork product was declared one of four semi-finalists.

Manufacturers of the winning products will be awarded a keepsake Consumer's Choice Pork Awards golden fork trophy and granted free exclusive use of an official award seal in merchandising efforts for one year.

The NPB also used the occasion to reveal common themes in the selection of the items. Researchers tracking the final judging concluded that consumers desire taste, convenience and healthful features in equal measure.

Most importantly, taste was the key driver in the product evaluations; while convenience, appearance and health aspects seemed to carry more weight if a product was already judged to taste good, they noted.

An additional key learning point was how consumers define the term convenience. The word can stress various measures, such as microwaveable; amount of required clean-up; or easy-to-use packaging. Definitions often depended on the person's own priorities and their life situation, examiners for the Pork Board found.