Pig and poultry to unite at fair

Retailers and processors, as well as producers will be targeted at this year's British Pig & Poultry Fair on 13-14 May in a major effort to unite the whole food supply chain

to meet the challenges of the future.

For the first time, the industries' bi-annual event at Stoneleigh Park, near Coventry will be looking at consumer buying habits and how the supply chain can work together to add value, as well as improved production methods and new equipment for farmers.

In addition, farm minister Lord Rooker will join key producers, processors and retailers at lunch on the first day of the fair to encourage greater networking between everybody within the supply chain, discuss topical issues and answer questions.

As well as several hundred exhibitors with all the latest for pig and poultry producers, the fair, which is being partnered by leading monogastric animal feed company ABN, will also include innovative forum and workshop sessions.

These will focus on a range of issues, including consumer buying patterns and how the whole industry can respond to opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

They are also aimed at helping pig and poultry producers understand the needs of their end consumers better, and adapt to meet their new demands.

Speakers at the Great Feed Debate will include Sue Corning, chief executive of pig breeding giant PIC, Andrew Carter, senior buying manager at Tesco, and Finn Cottle, Noble Foods marketing director.

Corning explained: "We all need to co-operate in a very simple way - that is, have a common goal. We know that it is possible to make a difference to the end product when there is a common objective that the whole supply chain supports and is working towards."

She added: "There are huge opportunities within breeding lines to select for meat quality characteristics, for example, without reducing production efficiencies, or raising costs."

On the poultry front, Cottle pointed out that the underlying theme was to add value to commodity products and understand what the consumers wanted. She believes a key message for poultry producers is that free range is a massive opportunity and producers could look at ways of expanding and diversifying.

Event manager Alice Bell explained: "We are putting the spotlight on retailers and processors this year to drive home the message that the whole food supply chain has to work together to meet changing demands and add value to increase returns for everybody."