Trends in the poultry meat industry

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a.v.e.c., the association representing the poultry meat industry in the EU held its General Assembly in Lisbon, Portugal from the 29th of September to 2nd of October 2016, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the association. More than 150 delegates representing the whole poultry supply chain (breeders, hatcheries and slaughterhouses) participated in the 3 days event to discuss this year’s theme: “Market orientation of the poultry meat business from European and global perspective”.

The President of ANCAVE, Mr. Avelino Gaspar, initiated the day welcoming all participants and in particular the Portuguese Minister of agriculture, Mr. Capoulas Santos and the EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Phil Hogan. In his speech he highlighted the strength of Portuguese and EU poultry meat production and predicted a bright future for our sector.

Mr Capoulas Santos presented the characteristics of the Portuguese poultry meat sector which is the 10th largest in the EU and insisted on the high level standards of production in the EU. He indicated that the numerous advantages of the poultry meat sector will guarantee success for the future.

The European Commissioner for agriculture, Mr. Hogan, opened his speech congratulating the EU poultry meat sector for its strong performance in recent years. He outlined that the Commission is assisting EU producers to create new opportunities on the export side through trade missions he is personally undertaking, as well as free-trade agreements in countries such as Japan, Philippines, Indonesia or Mexico. He added that the Commission will remain particularly vigilant on the sensitivity of the sector in granting access to EU market in future Mercosur and TTIP negotiations, while assuring it is unlikely to reach an outcome on TTIP before the end of President Obama’s mandate. He also expressed clear support to EU producers regarding the potential introduction of safeguard measures by South Africa. Finally, in a lively discussion with participants, he expressed commitment to support EU poultry industry, while guaranteeing that EU standards for market access will not be lowered in future agreements.

Mr Jason Gittins senior consultant from ADAS, presented the study commanded by a.v.e.c. aiming at comparing the regulatory requirements and key practices in the poultry meat supply chain between the EU and the US. The comparison of the requirements has been made on all aspects of the supply chain as animal welfare at the farm and during transport, animal health (salmonella and AI), environmental control, poultry feed, stunning and slaughter, food hygiene and meat marketing. In addition to the well-known difference on the decontamination of the carcasses (where only water is permitted in the EU vs a long list of different chemicals in the US), the study describes clear differences between EU and US systems in all aspects. While strict legislative criteria are applied in the EU, the US only imposes low or non-existent legislation, only supplemented by non-binding private guidelines that are generally lower than EU legislative rules.

Mr Jens Lönneker, psychologist and CEO of the German marketing agency “Rheingold salon”, presented the study he conducted on the formation of public opinion in crisis situation. He highlighted in particular the schizophrenia of the citizens who express mistrust in the food system while at the same time saying they are not worried about the occurrence of future food crisis. He advised to emotionalize the communication campaigns to increase the efficiency of the message.

Mrs. Sandrine Fecker-Corbaz, Lead buyer for Europe, Middle East and North Africa at Nestlé, described the responsible sourcing strategy of Nestlé. She insisted on the traceability system which contains farm assessments, as well as on-site auditing in the slaughterhouses. She drew the attention of the participants on the commitments made by the company on the respect of animal welfare in particular and confirmed that these rules will also guide the standards for other products, as pet food.

Mrs. Joe Bailey, Agriculture Manager at Freedom Food, presented the UK RSPCA assurance scheme on animal welfare. She pointed out that RSPCA is the most recognised animal charity in UK and has recently attracted growing awareness from the consumers. After having introduced the welfare requirements of the scheme, she defended its benefits for the animal and the businesses while promoting the role of social medias in the recognition of the scheme.

Finally, Mr. Nan-Dirk Mulder, from Rabobank, pictured in a very clear and comprehensive presentation the global poultry industry outlook. He highlighted in particular the decline of the breeding stock imports from China in the recent years which may increase the demand of the country in the close future. At EU level, he underlined the important production growth from Poland and other Eastern countries while expressing that poultry meat consumption in the EU is still much lower than many other parts of the world, leaving room for continued growth. Finally, he indicated that differentiation and consolidation may be the key for success for EU producers in the upcoming years.

For more information contact: Cees Vermeeren, Secretary General of a.v.e.c.
cv@avec-poultry.eu / www.avec-poultry.eu