DES MOINES, Iowa — The National Pork Board announced a study that will explore alternatives for promoting pork’s quality and sustainability benefits with international consumers.

The study, to be conducted by SIAM Professionals LLC, will evaluate existing marketing strategies and partners to identify methods for improving pork’s position as the global meat of choice.

Funded through America’s Pork Checkoff, the project will evaluate the effectiveness of current global marketing efforts and identify potential partnerships and marketing tools for promoting U.S. pork.

“Throughout the world, pork is the single most consumed meat. The popularity of U.S. pork is driven by its taste, versatility as a recipe and menu item, and affordable cost,” said Chris Novak, chief executive officer of the National Pork Board. “For many years, pork has been marketed globally with all other meats, and it’s our intention to determine the ideal way to market U.S. pork on an international basis.”

According to Euromonitor International’s latest estimates, global pork sales are expected to grow by 12 percent in the 2013-2018 forecast period, adding 10.6 million metric tons in sales volume by 2018. Most of this increase will be seen in emerging markets, such as Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America.

In the first six months of 2014, exports increased 9 percent from the same time period a year ago, according to current data from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. Most of the gains are due to growth in Mexico and continued demand in Asia.

The U.S. exports about 28 percent of the pork raised here, delivering around $70 per animal raised back to America’s pig farmers.

“In 2013, the U.S. sold pork in more than 100 countries. International markets represent a significant sales channel and, grown properly, will be critical to the success of pig farmers across the country,” Novak said.

“Our farmers, staff, contractors and others involved in U.S. pork production look forward to using insights gleaned from SIAM’s analysis in shaping and sharing pork’s story with our international consumers,” he said.

Results of SIAM’s evaluation will be presented to the checkoff’s full board of directors in spring 2015.