THE first World Meat Congress to be held in five years will take place in Maastricht, the Netherlands, from 11 to 13 October this year.
The important international industry event has not been held since 2018 due to COVID, and there’s been an awful lot of water under the bridge since then, in terms of issues of importance.
This year’s event will be hosted by COV, the Dutch Meat Producers Association, in cooperation with the International Meat Secretariat. Australia hosted a World Meat Congress back in 2009.
The international meat industry faces a large number of challenges in diverse areas including animal welfare, CO2 reduction, sustainability and meat alternatives.
How the industry deals with these issues will form a central theme through this year’s event.
“We are emphatically seeking dialogue,” says Dutch Meat Producers Association president Laurens Hoedemaker. “That is reflected in this year’s congress theme which is Meeting Society & Consumer expectations.”
The World Meat Congress promises to be a valuable event for those who are directly or indirectly engaged with meat production. One of the other big advantages is the opportunity to network with other congress attendees.
The congress audience is typically made up of meat processors and exporters, regulators and government personnel involved in areas like market access, advisors, food safety experts, consultants and trade experts, scientists and technology developers.
The event’s conference program this year will include a host of expert speakers from across the world.
The opening address will be ‘Healthiness of Meat in our Contemporary Diets’ given by Dr Luc van Loon, Professor of Physiology of Exercise at the Department of Human Biology and Movement Sciences at Maastricht University.
This will be followed by a session on ‘World Meat Outlook and Geo-political Developments’, highlighting the future demand for meat imports in China, Southeast Asian countries and other key markets. It will also explore the influences that current geopolitical developments have on world trade. Speakers will include Chen Wei, Secretary General and President of the China Meat Association and Karl Skold, head of agricultural economics at JBS.
Another highlight from the congress will be a plenary debate to which the organisers have invited ministers from some European countries to discuss ‘The political landscape for the production and consumption of meat’.
On the second day, the opening speech on the topic of ‘Trends in Consumer Behaviour’ will be given by Michael Uetz, president of Midan Marketing, a strategic marketing and research firm based in Chicago (US).
This presentation will be followed by parallel sessions on two topical subjects within the meat industry:
- ‘Addressing the Labour Shortage Challenges – Process Automation during Slaughter and Processing’. Many players in developed economies are struggling with a labour shortage. What can companies and governments do about this challenge?
- ‘Addressing the Animal Welfare Challenges – What Society Expects and How the Industry Reacts’. Speakers will include (among others) a representative from the Dutch Animal Protection Organisation.
The congress will also focus on the topic: ‘Diversification of the meat market – organic meat and alternatives’. This will include presentations by two people with expertise in marketing high-quality, value-added products: Isabel Moretti, CEO of Swedish Meats who will present the Nordic approach, and David Calderone of the Italian meat products company Coldiretti, presenting the Mediterranean approach.
One of the parallel sessions sure to attract attention will cover ‘Cultivated Meat – Legal and Market Challenges’. This session will include representatives from the US Food Safety and Inspection Service and Mosa Meat, a cultivated meat company.
Other sessions will deal with ways to enhance the value of sustainable meat production. The first topic is ‘The Carbon Footprint of Meat: Challenges and Solutions’, with speakers including Jason Clay from the World Wildlife Fund and Martijn Bouwknegt, research manager for food safety with VION Food Group, a large European meat processor and plant based alternatives.
Dr Jenny Hutchinson, head of information and analysis at the World Office for Animal Health (WOAH) is one of the speakers at the latest session: ‘Global Animal Health Situation and Outlook’.
Click here to access more details on the World Meat Congress website.