By: Asher Wright
The 2 major differences between the two types of pork are related to meat quality and nutrient composition. Because the animals raised outdoors are on large areas of land to prevent environmental degradation they get a lot more exercise than pigs raised indoors. Hogs raised indoors do not exercise as much because the inside stocking rates are so high that they do not afford much running or prolonged movement. What this gets you is a meat that is similar to the difference between a runner or regular cardio person and one that is more sedentary. The meat from the outdoor hog is darker in color which is due to increased levels of hemoglobin to bring oxygen to the working muscles. The main element in Hemoglobin is Iron and Iron is reddish in color; as you increase Iron concentration you increase the reddish color in the meat.
The other primary difference between the two types of meat has to do with the nutrient composition. There’s not much difference within the protein but within the fat, vitamins, and minerals there is. Even though the pigs are still on free choice grain in both systems, pigs living outdoors can frequently get increased polyunsaturated fats within their meat from  the grazing of forages in their field. This is reliant on good pasture management and the pigs actually having access to pasture otherwise there is no difference. It is also common to see increased levels of beta-carotene and fat-soluble vitamin E, which are in high concentration in forages.
Overall, it is commonly agreed upon now that meat from pasture raised pigs is more in-line with what human health professionals would recommend as compared to conventional, confinement raised pork. In my opinion it also tastes better and is better for the animal and the environment, when raised responsibly. And so that’s the other main reason we should all eat it instead of the alternative. So why not everyone have yourself a pork chop or a delicious ground sausage product this evening for dinner.