Food Guide

Which Pork is Better For You? Find Out the Surprising Difference Between Pastured and Conventional Pork!

It is a well-known fact that the quality and healthfulness of food have decreased over time.

This is due to the industrialization of our food system, which favors efficiency, profit, and convenience rather than flavor or nutrition.

Pastured pork vs conventional meat is a good example of this: pastured pork will always have more flavor because it’s not only raised on pastures but also given access to things like acorns and grubs foraging for themselves.

On top of that, they’re never confined in cages with other pigs so their social needs are met.            

What is pastured pork?

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What is pastured pork? Pastured pork is a term that defines the meat from the hog that has been fed on and how they have been treated.

The most common trait of pastured pork production is that the pigs are free to roam outdoors instead of being confined indoors in a barn or feedlot.

This allows them more space and access to natural sunlight.

They eat grains like corn, barley, soybean meal, or wheat along with their natural diet of grasses and roots.

Moreover, pastured pigs are unnecessary to receive antibiotics regularly like conventional pigs.

Pastured pork can be very flavorful as opposed to factory-farmed meat because it contains higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids (essential for health), and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which helps promote weight loss and burn fat cells while reducing appetite, vitamin E, and beta carotene.

Pastured pigs provide an alternative for consumers who want humanely raised meat but don’t have access to locally grown crops like soybeans or wheat.

When buying your next package of pork, be sure it is labeled as having been produced from animals that were raised on pasture for better and healthier dishes.

What is conventional pork?

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Conventional pork refers to the meat from the pigs that have been raised and fed in the traditional way.

An estimated 95% of pigs in America are raised on factory farms, living their entire lives inside metal buildings with concrete floors.

The air is full of feces and ammonia from the thousands upon thousands of other animals who were also confined to these spaces.

These conditions often lead to diseases like respiratory infections, making it hard for them to even breathe at times or keep themselves warm enough during cold winters.

In the past, conventional pigs were usually fed low-quality food which makes them grow fast but also makes their meat have less nutritious and more likely to contain toxins due to a high-fat content.

However, nowadays, people have improved their factory farms’ facilities to raise pigs.

Therefore, the quality of the pork is also enhanced, allowing home cooks to make mouth-watering dishes from these amazing cuts at groceries.

What are the differences between pastured pork vs conventional?

Pastured pork and conventional pork are mainly different in where and how they are raised.

This also results in other differences between these two kinds of pork, as mentioned in the comparison table below:

 ComparisonPastured porkConventional pork
Raising placeFrom the pig that is raised outside on the pastureFrom the pig that is raised on the indoor factory farm
Fat contentHave less fat, leaner than conventional porkFattier
TasteDeeper and richer flavorMilder
Nutrient factHave a higher level of omega-3 fatty acids and less antibiotic intakeHave more antibiotics so less healthy

What are the similarities between pastured pork vs conventional?

This section will feature the likenesses between pastured pork and conventional pork:

They have the specific porky flavor

We cannot deny the fact that although they differ in many ways, especially how they are raised and fed, pastured pork and conventional pork are just pork.

Therefore, these two kinds of pork have the same porky flavor, which is different from poultry or beef.

They can create plenty of delicious dishes

There are unlimited mouth-watering recipes for you to cook pork, no matter if it is pastured pork or the conventional counterpart.

The quality of the farm-raising condition is improved over time, so you can feel more comfortable choosing either one of them.

Which one is better?

Product ComparisonMARCOS SALAMANCA Pasture-Raised Iberico Pork | Dry-cured, Acorn-fed...Jimmy Dean Premium Pork Regular Sausage Roll, 16 oz.
Product ImageMARCOS SALAMANCA Pasture-Raised Iberico Pork | Dry-cured, Acorn-fed...Jimmy Dean Premium Pork Regular Sausage Roll, 16 oz.
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The industrialization of our food system has led to a decrease in the quality and healthfulness of foods, which is why it’s so important that we all take an active role in ensuring what goes into our bodies.

In this article, we have provided insight on one example where pastured pork vs conventional meat shows how just raising animals with more space can affect their flavor and nutrition levels.

If you want something healthier and leaner, take a look at our pasture-raised pork.

And don’t forget about all those yummy eggs from free-range chickens too!

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Emily W.

Emily Wong is an Asian-American food writer the founder of With nearly 8 years of experience, she has a passion for making cooking accessible to everyone and sharing her personal experiences with food. Emily's vision for is to create a community of food lovers who are passionate about cooking, eating, and sharing their experiences with others. Read my story
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