Research snapshots

Research Snapshot: Development of a ‘healthy pork’ resource for use by consumers, health professionals and regulatory bodies: summary and dissemination of Pork CRC human nutrition research

APRIL has received a Final Report for project 3B-114, Development of a ‘healthy pork’ resource for use by consumers, health professionals and regulatory bodies: summary and dissemination of Pork CRC human nutrition research, by Dr Karen Murphy at the University of South Australia. This was a project supported initially through the Pork CRC but contracted through APRIL. The Cooperative Research Centre for High Integrity Australian Pork funded 16 projects under the ‘Healthy Pork Consumption’ program from 2005 to 2019, with the aims to explore potential health benefits of pork and drivers and barriers to consumption. The main summary points highlighted by Dr Murphy are as follows:

  1. Fresh lean pork is a core food item of the meat, fish, poultry, nuts and legumes group (Australian Guide to Healthy Eating & Mediterranean Dietary Pattern).
  2. A 65 g serve of fresh lean pork provides 15 g of protein, 1 mg thiamine, 0.6 mg iron, 1.1 mg zinc.
  3. Fresh lean pork is rich in essential amino acids (leucine and isoleucine) for building muscle for body strength and functional capacity in the elderly.
  4. Fresh lean pork contains key nutrients important for growth and development.
  5. Fresh lean pork can be included as part of a healthy dietary pattern for weight loss, diabetes and blood pressure management, mood, vitality, quality of life, quality of sleep and general health.
  6. Fresh lean pork can be included as part of a predominantly plant-based diet like the Mediterranean diet, which may preserve cognitive function.
  7. When cooked appropriately, fresh pork is juicy and tender and provides excellent overall eating experience.
  8. 37% of Australian adults eat pork. Of those individuals, less than a quarter (21%) ate fresh pork.
  9. 51% of Australian children eat pork. Of those children, only 14% ate fresh pork, hence there is room for improvement.

Taken together, this research identified specific population groups which required further education on fresh pork:

  • Parents – family recipes, cooking tips, convenient packaging, meal planning guides and kid friendly recipes;
  • Low pork consumers;
  • Non-Asian consumers – more Western-like dishes conforming with plant-based dietary recommendations.

The Final Report has been circulated to Australian Pork Limited and the New Zealand Pork Industry Board.