First afz and FleischWirtschaft Meat Vision Congress on the eve of the IFFA

by Editor fleischwirtschaft.com
Sunday, May 05, 2013
Photo: Renate Kühlcke, editor-in-chief afz, moderated Meat Vision Conference. Photo: jus

Sustainability was one of the main focuses for international visitors at the first Meat Vision Congress held the day before the IFFA opened its doors.

Experts touched upon aspects ranging from fair pricing, environmental issues and animal welfare through to corporate social responsibility. The rising international demand for meat products needs to be met in an environment-friendly way, said Prof. Dr. Michael Schmitz of the Institut für Agrarpolitik und Marktforschung at the Justus-Liebig-Universität in Gießen.

The increasing interest of industry and commerce in sustainability is not dependent upon the size of the business, emphasised Prof. Dr. Franz-Theo Gottwald of the Schweisfurth Foundation in Munich. Each business needs to develop and implement a strategy which reflects its own needs. The technology is crucial here, explained VDMA Managing Director Richard Clemens. Ongoing development is leading to savings in raw materials, lower emissions and optimised power generation.

( Picture: The first Meat Vision Congress enjoyed a great response. Photo: Felix Holland)
Focus on the nutritional value and benefits of meat and not on its alleged negative impact on health and the environment - is the advice given by Chris Lamb, Marketing Committee Chairman of the International Meat Secretariat. Producers also need to decide whether they want to service a low-price segment or to position themselves by means of unique selling points and giving the consumers the complete product and manufacturing story. He also added that the overriding priority must be: "To maintain and raise consumer trust levels."

Prof. Dr. Thomas Blaha regards animal welfare and the responsible handling of antibiotics as sustainability "hot spots". Which is why he is urging that indicators such as mortality rates, germ levels in abattoirs or frequency of antibiotic use be deployed to take animal welfare to the next level.

What consumers already know and what they don't want to know was the subject of the talk given by Dr. Johannes Simons. The market researcher from Bonn University used various studies to back up his argument that most consumers regard it as too much effort to obtain information. He advised the meat industry to act responsibly and to document their actions, to be prepared with comprehensive answers and to come forward with carefully chosen information.

Nan-Dirk Mulder of the Netherlands-based RaboBank regards the potential for collaboration in the rapid-growth BRIC states as highly promising. He sees it as imperative, however, that businesses actively seek out good advice before committing themselves.

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