Inaugural City Meat Lecture welcomes Prof Frédéric Leroy

Inaugural City Meat Lecture welcomes Prof Frédéric Leroy

The first City Meat Lecture was a resounding success, with Professor Frédéric Leroy opening an evening of informative and entertaining debate at London’s Butchers’ Hall.

Audience watching panellists at the City Meat Lecture 2021 at Butchers Hall

Hosted by the Worshipful Company of Butchers, the City Meat Lecture attracted a packed house of industry figures keen to hear from Prof Leroy on the topic ‘The Rightful Place of Meat in the National Diet’.

Prof Leroy is a world authority on the subject, holding a professorship in food science and (bio)technology at the Vrije Universiteit in Brussels, with specific expertise in the domain of animal source foods.

Professor Frederic Leroy speaking at the City Meat Lecture 2021
Professor Frédéric Leroy.

He is a member of academic non-profit societies such as the Belgian Association of Meat Science and Technology, Belgian Society for Food Microbiology and Belgian Nutrition Society. On a non-remunerated basis, he also serves on the scientific advisory boards of the Danone Institute Belgium, the World Farmers Organisation and the FAO Sub-Committee on Livestock.

The lecture opened with Prof Leroy explaining the scientific flaws in some of the environmental arguments put forward by those who favour plant-based alternatives, lab-cultured meat or the drastic reduction of meat consumption.

During the wide-ranging talk, Prof Leroy touched on the complexities of the greenhouse gas emissions problem, the importance of nutrition and protein quality, and the dangers of ‘blanket’ dietary recommendations. He also stressed the importance of helping people to understand the role of dietary context and lifestyles when making decisions about their meat intake.

“Excellent industry turnout”

After the lecture Stuart Roberts, deputy president of the National Farmers’ Union of England and Wales, led a Q&A session with a panel of special guests comprising: Prof Leroy; Hsin Huang, secretary general of the International Meat Secretariat; Meat Business Women founder Laura Ryan and Clive Black, founding director and head of research at Shore Capital Markets.

Many of the questions from the audience concerned the ways in which the meat industry can improve its messaging to consumers. The takeaway recommendations were to be more proactive, to present robust scientific arguments, to keep in mind the strengths of the meat industry, to listen to consumers and to collaborate within the industry.

Master of the Worshipful Company of Butchers, Margaret Boanas said after the event: “I was delighted by the highly informative lecture and subsequent discussion at our inaugural City Meat Lecture. I was also really pleased that the excellent industry turnout reflected the importance of the subject matter of the event.”

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