The National Pork Board's new slogan exemplifies the food industry's desire to convey virtue—no matter how dubious
Pork, as you may have heard, is the other white meat no more. As of this month, when the National Pork Board rolled out a new $11-million advertising blitz, it is a reason to "Be Inspired." The commercials feature families cooking and celebrating, with the aim, according to spokeswoman Pamela Johnson, of giving a "proud, energetic, unapologetic voice to all the unique attributes" of pork. Exactly what the pig people mean by that is anyone's guess. And yet their squishy new slogan just might be the best possible response to what diners want now.
The Pork Board's move follows a related tactic by industrial producers, who in this era of conscientious (even militant) know-your-food-ism have taken to assigning virtues to their products, no matter how dubious, that reflect the current obsession with all things wholesome and handmade. Haagen-Dazs has its Five line, which boasts that no pint contains more than five ingredients; this, when Haagen-Dazs' original vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry don't have more than five anyway. Tostitos, an easy target in a country where one in three children is overweight, now touts that its chips are made of nothing but "white corn, natural oil, and a dash"—120 milligrams per serving—"of salt." Even soda, that dark lord of food villains, has found a way to co-opt the all-that's-simple trend. PepsiCo recently added Pepsi and Mountain Dew Throwback to its permanent lineup. Both come in retro packaging—the Dew can is a re-release of a 1960s design—and boast "real sugar," not high fructose corn syrup, as ingredients. In test runs, the new offerings had boosted the company's market share, on an annualized basis, by $220 million.