During my grocery adventures the other day, I came across an item I didn't even think existed anymore—lard.
Undoubtedly, my family was one of millions that traded animal and dairy fat for hydrogenated vegetable oil, only to be distraught in the mid-2000s when science revealed that Crisco and Country Crock contained trans-fats, which actually made them unhealthier than what we traded them for.
While we returned to eating butter with slight trepidation (often differing to Smart Balance), our family never did get into lard. I assumed that lard was simply something nobody bought anymore, which is why I was surprised to come across it on my grocery excursion. I figured you had to special order it.
If you ask someone over 50 who is a serious home cook, they will tell you that lard works magic for foods like biscuits, fried chicken, pie crusts, and even scrambled eggs. While the average family may not need it, there are enough dedicated people out there to keep lard on store shelves.
Lard enjoys an interesting niche. Because the world was in such a hurry to run off and replace it, there are still many left behind who demand it. Thus, companies can continue selling lard without investing a great deal in marketing or advertising, because they know there will always be a finite but dedicated base of customers.
It seems Ford stumbled across a similar lesson in the world of automobiles. By not chasing after the latest trends in luxury cars, Ford cemented the Lincoln Town Car as the only luxury vehicle that stayed true to old values. So while the rest of the world rushed off to buy margarine and Mercedes Benzes, Ford found those customers still dedicated to lard and Lincoln Town Cars.