Opportunities for outdoor pork in retail

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

According to Kantar, 12% of primary and processed pigmeat volumes held an outdoor claim, in the year ending 16 May 21. The vast majority (95%) are linked to outdoor bred (ODB), while free range and outdoor reared (ODR) make up a much smaller proportion, at 4% and 1% respectively.

While the proportion of pork having an outdoor claim is consistent with the last time we read the market in 2019*, there are indications* that retail sales of higher welfare pork have grown faster than standard product over the past year, at +12% vs +7% (Kantar, 52 w/e 16 May 21).

These outdoor claims are more likely to be found on processed pigmeat products, accounting for 18% of sausage volumes and 13% of bacon. Price promotions are more common in these categories, than in primary protein, making outdoor claims more accessible to shoppers as, on average, they command a 63% price premium over standard products.

This price premium is a challenge for some shoppers, with 13% of pork shoppers saying they would like to buy ODB pork, but find it too expensive, and a further 35% choosing pork based on the best price (AHDB/YouGov Consumer Tracker, Aug 20). These figures have not changed significantly over time. In addition to this, our Meat Shopper Journey research found that, when shoppers are selecting what they will buy in-store, welfare standards drop back as a key consideration, giving way to factors such as price and taste.

The role of outdoor claims

Outdoor claims may be perceived by consumers as indicating higher quality to shoppers and helping to build the perception of flavour and taste, which is so important in shoppers’ decision making. This is why outdoor claims feature on premium tier products in many retailers. In addition to this, some retailers have a near-exclusive outdoor-bred offering, the most prominent amongst which are Waitrose, M&S and Co-Op. With older and wealthier shoppers being more likely to buy pork/pigmeat with outdoor claims, there is a natural synergy with the overall shopper profile of the premium retailers.

Brands have a relatively small presence overall within the primary and processed pork market, accounting for 10% of volumes (Kantar, 52 w/e 16 May 21). However, this is where free range claims are more likely to be seen and, when honing in on free range pork alone, the branded share jumps to 23%. It’s likely that this product sourcing fills a gap in the market and provides a way for some brands to further differentiate themselves from the private label dominated category.

Future opportunities

Outdoor claims have a small share of the market, but they also have relatively low comprehension and consumer awareness. Therefore, where products are sourced from outdoor pork this should be clearly highlighted to shoppers, along with the benefit to them as consumers. Particularly as evidence shows there is sufficient outdoor pork available in England, according to Defra data, as per our last article.

Impressions of British agriculture are largely positive. However, when looking at different farm types in our Trust and Transparency research, it found that perceptions of pig farming are generally less positive than other livestock and arable holdings, only beating poultry farming. However, there was an improvement in these perceptions between 2019 and 2020. With Defra’s Farm Practices Survey in 2019 highlighting that pig and poultry farms are more likely to have already invested in improving animal welfare than the average holding with livestock, there may be an opportunity to further improve these perceptions in the future.


*Data above should only be compared back to previous years or articles as an indication, and used with caution, due to changes in retailer sourcing as well as methodology.

Processed pork includes sausages, bacon, sliced cooked meat, gammon and burgers

Outdoor claims include outdoor bred, outdoor reared and free range (includes organic).

Indoor bred

These pigs live indoors for the majority of their life.

Outdoor bred

These pigs are born outside in fields, where they live until weaning (7 kg).

Outdoor reared

These pigs are born outside in fields, where they are reared for approximately half their life (at least 30 kg).


These pigs are born outside in fields and they remain outside until they are sent for processing.

Table source: PorkProvenance.co.uk

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