Direct Marketing Pork

Revised November, 2021.


Several producers have turned to direct marketing their pork enterprises by developing and expanding on the niche to market pork directly to consumers, bypassing traditional marketing channels.

Reasons for direct marketing include the opportunity to capture a greater share of the food dollar. The value farmers currently contribute to food expenditures accounts for just 16 percent of the total value.

Another reason for direct marketing is the growing consumer segment that desires information about the origin and the method used to raise their food. This trend relates to traceability. The ability to trace a product to the original source is a critical food safety issue.

A growing number of individual pork producers and producer groups are reaching new consumers using the Internet. With widespread sales of home computers, an estimated 87 percent of the U.S. population has Internet access. More consumers are shopping over the Internet. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, total e-commerce sales during 2019 were estimated at $158 billion. An affordable method to market new products directly to consumers is for producers to establish their own Web sites.

Pork and pork products sold over the Internet must be processed in federally inspected plants. If meat is processed in a state-inspected facility, it is only legal to sell the meat within that state.

Farmers’ Markets

Direct marketing to consumers using farmers’ markets continues to grow in the United States. According to the USDA, there were 8,740 markets listed in the USDA's National Farmers Market Directory. Farmers’ markets are beneficial to farm operations that have less than $250,000 in annual receipts. The markets provide an outlet to consumers interested in purchasing products directly from growers.


Other protein sources, namely, beef, poultry and fish, will continue to compete with pork for consumer purchases. USDA estimates an increase in per capita consumption of fruits, nuts, eggs, poultry and fish in the coming years, based on current consumption patterns and the increasing diversity of the U.S. population.

Pork marketed directly to consumers will also be affected by the growing trend of more meals consumed outside of the home. Expenditures on away-from-home food now account for nearly 48 percent of the $1.24 trillion in total U.S. food expenditures.


Farmers' Markets, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

Food CPI, Prices and Expenditures, Briefing Room, Economic Research Service (ERS), USDA.

Internet World Stats

United States Department of Commerce

New: Market Report Generator, Iowa State University Extension.




  • 2001 Economic Impact of Directly Marketed Livestock in Iowa, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship - Cooperative Development Services surveyed licensed meat processors in Iowa to analyze the scale and economic impact of livestock directly marketed to consumers.
  • Safety of Fresh Pork From Farm to Table, Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA - This site overviews pork inspection, retail cuts, how long consumers can store fresh and frozen pork and how long it takes to cook pork.