Survey finds pigs' diet influences purchasing decisions.

MINNEAPOLIS – Millennials want pork products sourced from animals that are fed a healthy diet, however many of them don’t trust that pigs are being raised on what they consider to be a healthy diet, Cargill reported in its Feed4Thought consumer survey.

“Many consumers, millennials in particular, are speaking loudly about the importance of knowing what is on the dinner table and where it came from,” Patrick Duerksen, Cargill global marketing director, pork, said in a statement. “It is important for Cargill and others in the agricultural supply chain to help consumers understand that the pork they eat was produced in a healthy and responsible manner.”

The survey polled 2,000 respondents in the United States and Spain, the second-largest pork producing country in Europe. Cargill found that 43 percent of millennials in the US say that a pig’s diet influences their purchasing decisions, while 65 percent of millennials in Spain said the same.

In both countries, millennials place the highest importance on pigs’ diets, but also have the lowest trust that the pigs they eat are raised on what they consider a healthy diet, according to the survey.  Respondents in the US (42 percent) said they don’t trust that their pork is raised on a healthy diet, significantly more than baby boomers (32 percent). In Spain, the number jumped to 67 percent of millennials who said they don’t trust diets fed to pigs are healthy.

“The US pork industry works hard to conduct research and improve the nutritional balance of swine diets,” said Dr. Chris Hostetler, director of animal science at the National Pork Board. “It is incumbent upon us to raise pigs in a healthy, safe and responsible manner. And that begins with diet and nutrition.”

Overall, one-third of all US consumers (32 percent) say a pig’s diet influences their purchasing decisions, compared with 60 percent of consumers in Spain. American baby boomers and Gen Xers place less importance on the diets of the pigs they consume with 32 percent and 26 percent respectively saying a pig’s diet influences their purchasing decisions, according to the survey.