Where will 2016 take the meat industry?
As we move into the New Year, Meat Management asks some of our regular magazine contributors how they see 2016 faring for the industry.
Jamie Foster, Meat Management’s Legal Lines columnist, said: “In many ways 2016 should be a time of great opportunity for our meat industry. Consumers have woken up to the idea that they should eat better quality meat and their meat should be sourced locally. Given there is no better meat in the world than the UK produces this should be a gift for UK producers. Additionally we have a referendum coming up that offers the prospect of liberating ourselves from the illogical and pointless regulatory regime that seems to have been designed to be a brake on the British meat industry achieving its potential.
“Unfortunately, however, I cannot escape the feeling that nothing will change,” Jamie continued. “The public will continue to be fed the green lobby nonsense that meat is bad for us and the planet and as an industry we will continue to not manage to get the real health benefits across.
“Governments will continue to reward regulators who take action, even if that action is clearly insane. Meat traders will still work hard to produce a product of the highest quality in the face of small profits and calls for them to be shut down by a caterwauling vegan lobby. ‘Plus ca change plus c’est la meme chose’, as the French would say.”
Rob Smith, director of Blue Fish Marketing consultancy, also feels the industry will be faced with many of the similar challenges of this year, as well as there being new topics to address. He said: “I cannot recall an ‘easy’ year so I am pretty confident when I predict that 2016 will be full of challenges.
“There will be issues, we work in the food industry after all, so campylobacter, antibiotics, environment, salt and fat will remain on agendas – but with an increased focus – and there will be new topics to address. We can also expect some more scary and misleading headlines as research findings are reported selectively or researchers ‘polish’ the press releases to gain publicity.”
Andrew Large, chief executive of the British Poultry Council and writer of Meat Management’s Poultry column, however, sees 2016 as a year of progress for the poultry sector.
He commented: “I think 2016 will continue to be a year of solid growth for the poultry meat industry in the UK. Continued population growth will drive increases in consumption. In terms of the major issues affecting the industry, the global impact of avian influenza is uppermost in everyone’s mind. There will also be continued attention on campylobacter and I expect to see further progress in reducing its impact.”