Eggs, food processing, economics, the environment – it's all connected; this was the message as the IEC conference in Venice drew to a close.
The final day of the IEC Venice conference focused the industry’s attention on egg processing and economics. The main message was: “Everything is now connected”. The future of food production is now fundamentally connected to multiple external factors including, the environment, the global economy, the global population and very specifically, oil prices. From the stock markets in the US and Europe, through to the world’s changing climate and population growth in Asia and Africa, everything has an impact.
Rabobank’s Nan-Dirk Mulder discussed the global economy and the impact this has on the egg industry. Although he explained that the egg industry has been relatively resilient to the global economic downturn, he did stress that the link between the industry and external factors, such as oil prices, has strengthened significantly during recent years.
On Monday, Giampaolo Cavallaro, from Findus/Birdseye; Charlie Arnot, from the Center for Food Integrity and James Kellaway from Australian Egg Corporation Ltd discussed the importance of creating a long term strategy to produce a trustworthy, sustainable egg supply.
In addition delegates heard from Ilaria Capua, of the OIE/FAO Reference Laboratory for Avian Infuenza and Newcastle Disease; Peter van Horne, IEC’s poultry economist from Wageningen University, and Herman Versteijlen from the European Commission.
The afternoon session proved to be a highly topical discussion centred around the responsibilities that the egg industry faces moving forward, and delegates had the opportunity to hear about the latest situation in the European egg market from the European Commission’s Herman Versteijlen.
Ilaria Capua discussed the implications of old viruses, but new epidemics, and Peter van Horne presented his latest research into the economics of housing systems for laying hens, looking at cage and non-cage systems and comparing production costs and the revenue created.
IEC conferences are held twice a year; the next one is being held in London, UK, 9th – 13th September.