The European poultry meat sector is an example of solid European excellence in farming and food production. The sector is highly integrated with a holistic approach driven by science, innovation and entrepreneurship that is delivering sustainable, secure and trusted supply chains.
The ongoing success of the European poultry meat sector is defined by its commitment to provide consumers with healthy, sustainable, safe and affordable meat to contribute to a healthy EU economy by creating jobs and supporting trade to defend and uphold food safety, animal welfare and environmental protection standards.
However, I often wonder if consumers know anything about the high levels of food safety, animal welfare and environmental protection that goes into the provision of the chicken they eat in their Cesar Salad, Chicken Sandwich or their coq au vin. Farmers and food processors work hard every day so Europe can stay the world leader in food quality and safety and there are many great stories to tell on the nutritional value of poultry meat – that most people appreciate it and that it can be enjoyed in many different ways adapted to a healthy balanced diet etc. But are those stories being told?
People today expect that they can get the information they need on absolutely anything, anywhere and anytime on their smartphones. Therefore, there is a huge need for responsiveness and transparency – and a shift from defensive and reactive - to an offensive and proactive way of communicating.
At the same time, the shift from newspapers to digital communication has resulted in a more limited time for fact-checking and careful research because of the push to publish what will gain clicks … and there is a lack of curation … the ´gatekeeper´ has gone. Whatever is shared the most on social media is considered ‘the facts’.
Consumers do what they can to learn about agriculture and food production depending on their interests… but who is providing the information? The agricultural sector has largely failed to respond to the public demand for clear information. Instead it is largely, bloggers, celebrities etc. who fill social media with their views on agriculture and food production. People and organizations with their own agendas, and not necessarily people that have the facts on sustainable poultry production.
The European Poultry Meat Sector has a lot of good stories to tell … but we need to find ways to get those stories out to the consumers and the policy makers. If we – as poultry sector - continue business as usual, we risk poor policy decisions dominated by emotions and not by facts because of the lack of information from our side.
The entire livestock chain should be more readily sharing stories and information in order to avoid an overload of misinformation. Together we are stronger! And all stakeholders in the agriculture and food chain can contribute right now. Social media is accessible for everyone. Let’s use them to tell OUR good story about agriculture and food production!
1OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2018-2027 - © OECD 2018 https://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=HIGH_AGLINK_2018#