Eat Frozen Pork

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The Eat Frozen Pork campaign in Singapore was initiated by the Singapore government in late 1984 as a means of encouraging Singaporeans to partake in frozen, as opposed to fresh, pig meat. Targeted at predominantly Singaporean Chinese, the campaign tied in with the shutting down or relocation of all pig farms in the country. The government's initiative was not considerably successful, with mixed reaction from the people. In 2008 it was brought back and subsumed under the Frozen Meat Public Education Programme.

Background[edit]

Singapore once had a burgeoning pork industry, which used to yield S$300,000,000 annually.[1] By 1985, there were at least 520 pig farms situated within the island-state, to keep up with the citizens' demand for fresh pork. Most of the consumers were of Chinese ethnicity.[2] However, Singapore's status as a land-scarce nation could not allow for the sheer number of pig farms and thus in mid-1984 the government began closing down or relocating these farms.[2] Stricter sanitation guidelines were also imposed on the farm owners.[3] By 1990, the number of pig farms in Singapore had already been reduced to 22,[4] with neighbouring country Indonesia supplying the majority of the country's fresh pork.[5] To minimise reliance on overseas imports of fresh pork, the government decided to promote an alternative – frozen pork.[3]

Publicity[edit]

The campaign was officially introduced in November 1984.[3] To promote frozen pork as a healthier and cheaper alternative to fresh pork, island-wide talks on pork were organised and about one million copies of a cookbook dedicated to frozen pork dishes were distributed to the public.[2] Notably, Goh Keng Swee delivered an extensive speech on frozen pork during a parliamentary session in March 1984.[6] Other ad hoc events to promote the campaign included an "Eat Frozen Pork" poster contest[7] and a "roving display" of frozen pork.[8] A "frozen pork hotline" was specially established to give consumers a platform for expressing their thoughts on the frozen meat.[9] The line is now defunct.[10]

Reception[edit]

The campaign received varied response. A survey conducted by The Sunday Times found that a majority of the citizens were not convinced that frozen pork was as delectable as fresh pork, and opined that the difference in price was negligible. A small percentage of those interviewed were indifferent.[11] According to the Singapore Pork Merchants' Association, about seventy percent of the pork-consuming population preferred fresh to frozen pork at the time of the campaign.[11] The Frozen Pork Hotline was deemed a failed project, with virtually nobody calling it.[12] On the other hand, foreign pork merchants from countries including Australia, New Zealand and the United States were very supportive of the campaign as it would help boost their pork sales.[2]

In his book Management of Success: The Moulding of Modern Singapore, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies director Kernial Singh Sandhu wrote that the campaign was "one of the most insensitive national campaigns to be held" and expressed relief that it was "short-lived".[13] Other publications, such as Metropolis Now!, Asiaweek and Traveller, have made facetious statements regarding the campaign.[14][15][16]

Revival[edit]

The campaign to favour frozen pork over fresh pork was revivified in February 2008 and subsumed under the Frozen Meat Public Education Programme,[17] or "Eat Well For Less, Choose Frozen Meat",[18] an effort by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) to raise awareness on frozen meats in general. Since the retooled campaign's introduction, frozen pork sales at various supermarkets have increased significantly and as of September 2013, national frozen pork consumption has risen by approximately 14,300 tonnes (14,100 long tons; 15,800 short tons).[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Frozen pork gets the cold shoulder". Singapore Monitor. April 24, 1985. p. 2. 
  2. ^ a b c d Whiting, Kenneth (August 24, 1985). "Singapore wants to send pigs packing". Lawrence Journal-World. p. 7. 
  3. ^ a b c "Frozen pork is cheaper and convenient to buy". Singapore Monitor. January 16, 1985. p. 2. 
  4. ^ "Singapore: Agriculture". Country Studies. Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Workers at pig farm near Batam to get $25 pay rise". The Straits Times. September 24, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Dr Goh's 'switch to frozen pork' speech did it". Singapore Monitor. May 20, 1984. p. 8. 
  7. ^ "'Eat frozen pork' poster contest". Singapore Monitor. November 12, 1984. p. 3. 
  8. ^ "Roving display on frozen pork to hit the road soon". Singapore Monitor. January 7, 1985. p. 3. 
  9. ^ "Hot line on frozen pork". The Straits Times. February 17, 1985. p. 12. 
  10. ^ "Back in 1985...". The Straits Times. February 14, 2008. p. 18. 
  11. ^ a b "Eat frozen pork drive faces an uphill task". The Straits Times. January 6, 1985. p. 7. 
  12. ^ Chee, Li Choo (February 28, 1985). "Hotline on frozen park is running cold". Singapore Monitor. p. 7. 
  13. ^ Kernial Singh Sandhu; Paul Wheatley (1989). Management of Success: The Moulding of Modern Singapore. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. pp. 115–. ISBN 978-981-3035-42-3. 
  14. ^ Ramesh Kumar Biswas (2000). Metropolis now!. Springer. 
  15. ^ Condé Nast's Traveler. Condé Nast Publications. January 1994. 
  16. ^ Asiaweek. Asiaweek Limited. 1985. 
  17. ^ "Speech by Dr Maliki Osman, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of National Development, on Ensuring Food Safety and Resilience in Food Supply, Mitigating Increase in Food Prices, during the Committee of Supply Debate". Ministry of National Development. February 28, 2008. 
  18. ^ "AVA Vision". Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore. April 2013. 
  19. ^ "Consumers warming to frozen meats". AsiaOne. September 26, 2013.