Is "the Other White Meat" on it's way to becoming "thee white meat"?

A recent survey of the nation's restaurants show that pork offerings are up significantly.

Over the past year, menu mentions of pork have increased by 7 percent, according to the foodservice consulting group’s MenuMonitor database. The meat is being featured in appetizers, entrees and side dishes.

"Restaurants are using pork more often in main dishes and as an accompanying ingredient in menu items for various reasons," Bernadette Noone, director, Technomic MenuMonitor, said . "First, the higher cost of beef has made pork a nice substitute in combo dishes. Where customers were once seeing chicken and beef on the menu, they may now see more affordable chicken and pork dishes. The popularity of bacon is another key factor. For the last few years we've seen bacon-related menu items increase by over 7 percent annually."

It's a far cry from the 1970's and early 1980's, when the pork industry crafted the message "Pork: The Other White Meat" in part to increase awareness of a meat that was dwindling in popularity.

Today, pork is seeing a revival.

Bacon, sausage and ham are the most common pork items that have been appearing on menus recently. Pork is also appearing more with other proteins, showing a 15-percent increase in shellfish dishes, 13-percent rise in chicken dishes and 8-percent increase in beef and burger dishes in the second quarter of 2011.

Pork gains popularity on menus | Nation's Restaurant News.