Hogs Are What They Eat

Apr 10, 2006

By George Anderson

A Canadian company has found a way to sell a healthier ham.

Prairie Orchard Farms of Winnipeg, Manitoba has found that, by giving its hogs feed rich in omega-3, it can increase the level of these important polyunsaturated fatty acids
in meat cuts sold to humans.

Willy Hoffman, president of Prairie Orchard Farms, told Reuters, “As far as we know, we’re the first in the world to do this.”

The concept behind the pork rich in omega-3 is not unusual. Makers of yogurt, milk and eggs have found they can also achieve higher concentrations through a variety of means.

“Omega-3s are part of the fat, so the higher the fat content, the higher the omega-3 content,” said Mr. Hoffman.

The leaner the cut, the less omega-3 fatty acids in it. Prairie Orchard’s ham, for example, contains 0.4 grams of omega-3 per 100 grams. Its bacon contains two full grams of
omega-3 per 100 grams. “That’s considered an excellent source (of omega-3),” said Susan Whiting, a nutrition professor at the University of Saskatchewan.

To date, Prairie Orchard has sold its pork to local supermarket operators. The company is looking to expand with sales to the wider Canadian market as well as the U.S. and Japan.
The company’s cuts sell at approximately 25 percent premium to standard pork prices.

Moderator’s Comment: Do you see a widespread market for pork containing higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids? How is the trend to healthier foods through
science such as nutraceuticals developing?
– George Anderson –

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4 Comments on "Hogs Are What They Eat"

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M. Jericho Banks PhD
M. Jericho Banks PhD
16 years 1 month ago
Designer pork (or “differentiated pork”) is one of the biggest movements in the industry, the latest iteration of which is omega-3-rich product. (Omega-3 Ostrich meat beat them to the punch, however.) Omega-3 characteristics can be delivered through feed & care, genetic mutation, or a combination of these influences. However, the most influential current development in designer pork is “high pH pork.” Rated highest by far among consumers in the areas of tenderness, juiciness, flavor, and overall acceptance, high pH pork is attributed to selective breeding, feed, and care. Further, it’s commanding a 25% premium on store shelves currently. Does all of this genetic development mean we’ll finally see pigs with wings? (If buffaloes can have ’em, why not hogs?) Perhaps. But, the real issue is economically feeding a growing market with a more desirable protein source. The court of public opinion is still mulling the benefits of omega-3, especially if our most convenient food source for it is salmon raised in questionable farm conditions. Pork can provide an expanded, more versatile source of omega-3 only… Read more »
Mark Lilien
16 years 1 month ago

The “average” customer buys price. But some people have other priorities. For many, health concerns are critical. Great ways to get continued premium prices for premium meats? Get publicity via celebrity-endorsed diet books and medical research press releases. Publicity is the lowest cost advertising with the highest value because it appears be true, unlike classically-paid advertising.

Bernice Hurst
16 years 1 month ago

The trend is developing by leaps and bounds and won’t peak for quite a long time to come, in my view. While consumers are becoming increasingly aware of what’s in their food and demanding that artificial additives and saturated fats be removed pronto, they are still susceptible to temptation and want the easiest life possible when it comes to food preparation. If they are told that good things have been added then they will buy, buy and then buy some more. Especially if they have been added “naturally” as with the pig feed rather than artificially as with the GM-added omega 3 which was also covered in the press recently.

Charlie Moro
Charlie Moro
16 years 1 month ago

I think not only are we seeing nutraceuticals combined with an item like pork and some of the references to dairy and juice products. But there is more of an awareness of food product combinations to adjust appetite urges. There is even a move towards homeopathic products added to foods to curb appetite, all geared towards making the trend and adherence to healthier foods and habits easier and easier.


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