Iowa State To Lead Consortium To Build Trust Between Pork Producers, Consumers

Jun 29, 2023

The National Pork Board recently announced a new five-year effort focused on addressing consumer questions related to the pork industry’s We Care ethical principles and strengthening consumers’ confidence in choosing pork. Iowa State University is among five universities taking part in the program, which will be led by an Iowa State professor.

The Real Pork Trust Consortium will focus on three key areas to build consumer trust:

  • Answering consumer questions about pork and pork production with research
  • Sharing research in relatable, relevant ways consumers can easily understand and use when making decisions
  • Training people from various walks of life to share research-based information about the pork industry

“The producer-leaders of the National Pork Board recognize the need to engage with consumers to make sure we understand their questions, and they understand more about our commitment to people, pigs and the planet,” said Bob Ruth, the 2023-2024 National Pork Board president. “We also know we can’t do that alone. We’re excited to partner with the exceptional talent of multiple land-grant universities and support them through involvement in the consortium’s advisory council to develop the best approaches for the most impactful results.”

Nicholas Gabler, professor of animal science at Iowa State, will serve as lead investigator.

“The pork industry is vital to our state, and Iowa State University is privileged to play a key role in managing this consortium on behalf our U.S. pork producers. Working across campus and with other universities in a consortium model benefits the research, researchers and pork producers. We learn from one another and challenge each other to think differently and break out of our comfort zones,” Gabler said. “This is an exciting project with a common goal of communication to producers, consumers and other stakeholders to enhance knowledge and confidence in pork production, pork’s role in protein nutrition and our industries’ contributions to society.”

The other universities taking part in the Real Pork Trust Consortium are the University of Georgia, North Carolina State University, North Carolina A&T and the University of Minnesota. Among the five universities, leading experts in science communication, animal science, animal welfare, veterinary medicine, meat science and product safety, nutrition, agricultural economics, sustainability, sociology and agricultural education will work side by side.

“It is important for consumers and society to know more about how their food is produced and its role in our diets,” said Michael Retallick, professor and chair of Iowa State’s Department of Agricultural Education and Studies. “Our agricultural communication faculty are well positioned and excited to partner with others in the consortium as we strive to build transparency and trust in our food system. This work aligns with our new undergraduate major in agricultural communication, which can incorporate the information learned from this work.”

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