Global Outlook

I met a number of IMTA members and friends from many supplying countries at the SIAL exhibition near Paris a few months ago. The exhibition was an incredible display of human optimism and skill in so many parts of the world's meat industry. It seemed a bit at odds with the scenes of strikes, burning cars and cancelled trains and flights as the French nation went through its protest against their government's proposals to increase the retirement age from 60 to 62!

Their concerns seemed to me to be small beer when compared with the real problems facing all mankind like how to feed the growing world population in the not too distant future.

The world meat industry will be playing a most important part in keeping us all going with good solid protein and many meat companies at SIAL were keen to show how their systems were focusing on production efficiencies to minimise the impact on our planet's eco-system. Many top buyers now ask about these matters before mentioning the price. What a change!

But change is what makes life so interesting. Take the potato industry for instance. Who would ever have thought that this great staple of the British diet would fall in popularity by 40% in just 20 years? The Potato Council confessed that the Brits would eat 800 million fewer meals featuring potatoes in 2010 than they did in 2001. This is a serious change.

World markets for meat are also changing fast and although consumption in Europe is relatively stable, other countries are consuming much more meat. This is putting upward pressure on world prices. Russia and China have increased their interest and enthusiasm for meat over recent years and many smaller countries are in the market too. IMTA members are aware of all this, and will be playing their part in a changing meat world.