After the broad industrialization of the US pork industry, there has been a development of niche markets for export and domestic pork; that is, there is a pork niche market phenomenon. Pork niche markets utilize various sales methods including Internet sales, local abattoir sales, direct marketing, farmer networks, and targeting to organized groups. The Berkshire breed is an example of a swine breed that has had a recent resurgence because of niche markets. Many US consumers of pork are interested in issues concerning the environment, food safety, pig welfare, and pig farm ownership and structure. These consumers may be willing to pay more for pork from farmers who are also concerned about these issues. Small- and medium-sized swine farmers are active in pork niche markets. Niche markets claim product differentiation by superior or unique product quality and social attributes. Quality attributes include certain swine breeds, and meat quality, freshness, taste or flavor, and tenderness. Social or credence attributes often are claimed and include freedom from antibiotics and growth promotants; local family farm production; natural, organic, outdoor, or bedded rearing; humane rearing; known origin; environmentally friendly production; and the absence of animal by-products in the feed. Niche pork markets and alternative swine production practices offer an unusual contrast to commodity pork markets and industrial confinement swine production. Because they strive to have these attributes in their product, the niche pork market producers are a distinct clientele group.
Below are two resources for niche pork producers. These resources were not put together by the Colorado Pork Producers Council.