Today, time-crunched families know the importance of convenience in meal preparation is no longer just a matter of preference, it's a means of survival. But Americans aren't willing to abandon the comfort of their favorite slow-cooked flavors in the interest of time.
The winners of the recently announced Consumer's Choice Pork Awards provide striking examples of the marriage of convenience with traditional, satisfying "comfort" food flavors.
The National Pork Board, the producer-funded organization behind the "Pork. The Other White Meat." campaign, recently announced the winners of the second annual Consumer's Choice Pork Awards. Created to recognize the most innovative new products available to American shoppers, the entries were scored by consumers for taste, product appeal, fit to lifestyle trends and likelihood of purchase.
A panel of industry experts narrowed the pool to 10 products, and a jury of American consumers judged the finalists. The winners include:
* Pork Roast Au Jus (Hormel Foods Corp.), a moist and tender meal that "seems like homemade" but can be prepared quickly.
* Heat & Serve Brats (Johnsonville Sausage, LLC), among the favorites because of its "fresh, nicely grilled taste."
* Quick'n'Easy Gourmet Entrees Pork Roast in Bourbon Sauce (RMH Foods, LLC), chosen for its unique and flavorful bourbon sauce, and praised for being tasty, tender and convenient.
* Jimmy Dean Fresh Taste. Fast! Black Pepper Premium Precooked Bacon Slices (Sara Lee Foods U.S.), a "twist" on traditional bacon, favored for its flavor and easy, no-mess preparation.
* Maple and Brown Sugar Glazed Ham (Tyson Foods, Inc.), the sweet, pre-sliced servings offer quick-and-easy preparation and a taste close to homemade.
For busy cooks, convenience is important in food purchase decisions. No matter how Americans define it, this year's winners are a step toward more convenient - and delicious - meals. Each winner is already flavored and ready to serve, requiring little effort on the part of the cook.
Taste is what really sets the winning products apart from all others. And, according to Brooke Benschoter, director of consumer communications at the National Pork Board, "The variety of cuts, easy preparation methods and versatile flavor of pork make it a favorite with home cooks. The combination of taste and convenience in the winning products offers busy cooks the best of both worlds."