The biggest single factor in the regeneration of the GOS breed has been the increasing awareness of the eating qualities of its produce and the growing niche market as a result.
It is a mistake to assume that pork is pork and that the breed it is derived from does not matter. Almost everyone could immediately tell the difference between the flavour of a Cox’s apple and a Golden Delicious. This difference comes from the genes that go into making these different varieties. Similarly, there are differences between pig breeds but most especially between traditional breeds such as the GOS and modern hybrids used to supply the mass market.
A big part of the difference lies in the fat. Modern pigs have hardly any fat whether as visible backfat or as marbling within the muscle. The GOS does have a distinct layer of backfat and marbling within the meat. That layer of backfat means that it is hardy enough for outdoor production but it also means that when the meat is cooking, it is being basted in its own fat making the meat succulent and full of flavour.
From many years experience, we know that the levels of backfat do not need to be excessive and that a well-finished porker of around 75kg liveweight should have a backfat measurement of around 12-15mm at P2. The same experience also tells us that excessively fat pigs are usually caused by poor diet or management. To carry this level of fat, the eye muscle (as seen in the round of lean meat on a loin chop) must be full and large and the GOS breed is well able to meet this demand.