Valued at 197.1 million dollars in 2022, Easter ham sales have increased each of the last three years and are poised to overtake Christmas sales. Neal Hull, director of domestic market development with the National Pork Board said as family gatherings are on the smaller size, the pork industry has met consumer demand.
“You go into a retail store, you will see a quarter sliced ham or a half sliced ham. I think that Easter and the other major holidays are going to have that spiral sliced half ham, that’s going to be the center of the table, but we have seen some transition to smaller portions across the industry.”
Study results indicate more than double the number of consumers are more likely to consume pork at Easter compared to beef. Hull said that ham fits the flexibility in family cooking post Easter holiday.
“You know, have some leftovers chopped up in an omelet for breakfast the next day. So, I mean, there are some things that you can do with ham that I don’t know that a lot of people think about. I think sometimes it can be one of those things, it’s a little bit, ooh, I don’t want to buy that big of a ham because I don’t know what I would do with the leftovers, and there’s lots of things from a versatility standpoint you can do with leftovers.”
A change in mindset is coming to the pork industry as consumers look to eat ham more than just at Easter.
“I think from a versatility and a convenience standpoint, it’s spot on with today’s busy consume. They can continue to have that and use it for different options, whether it’s sandwiches or center of the plate, but certainly an opportunity in the industry to continue to push ham throughout the year and not just at the key holidays.”
Hull said there is an opportunity to introduce a younger generation to ham cuts, like the versatileness of ham steak on the grill, showing its incredible value in the meat case.
Visit pork.org for mouth-watering ham recipes and enjoy the spring season in good company.