The gap between what people say and how they behave has never been greater. Consumption is more global than ever, but consumers are more divided. Companies talk a good play on sustainability but use technology that is not sustainable upon closer examination. A pandemic has thrown everything into disarray and yet voters remain hopeful that the world will quickly return to what it was before. Contradictions can also be seen in the attitudes of consumers, who are the most consumed animal proteins on the planet today.
Cultured meat to become the next number one protein?
While promising to literally save the planet, generating more column inches and hype than any other food technology, yet being remarkably under-delivered, farmed meat leads the pack for internal contradictions .
The idea sounds great: produce ‘meat’ on a factory scale without the involvement of animals! what could go wrong?
A recent review by Joe Phaser details the inconvenient truth. Supplying only 10% of the world’s meat production would require 4,000 factories, each costing about $500 million, or $2 trillion. Cell-based systems are very sensitive, they need to avoid bacterial contamination, toxins and viruses. They require tighter controls, including the use of antibiotics, biosafety with oxygen in the pipe, and Class 6 clean rooms. Any infection can cause the entire production system to collapse.
The cost of production would be astronomical: the average quarter pounder burger at a restaurant is estimated to cost $100. Another report put poultry meat at 100 to 10,000 times the cost of production.
Today’s cell farming systems are completely dependent on fetal bovine serum harvested in slaughterhouses from calf embryos. This is unlikely to sound appealing to vegetarians or consumers who want slaughter-free meat. The use of growth hormones, expensive amino-acids and antibiotics, and “cellular” or “lab grown” meats are beyond fade for the consumer segments they hope to attract.
Verdict: Poultry not a threat in 2022 (or maybe even before 2032!)
Will the Metaverse Come to the Poultry Chain?
XR, VR, MR, AR: How well do you know your totals? How to connect it to AI and Blockchain?
Dramatic announcements by Microsoft, Google, Nvidia and Apple about investments in expanded reality (XR) companies have been overshadowed by Facebook’s renaming of them as “meta”, with the view that the online world is virtual reality (VR). ) and will embrace XR with both. Augmented Reality (AR) delivered to customers through smart glasses and headsets.
Expanded reality (XR) provides the ability to enhance our eyes’ ability to see, which is augmented reality (AR), or a virtual world (VR) or middle reality, to interpret what is happening around us. (MR) as described above.
Food businesses are already using XR to train employees, as a teaching tool to expedite repairs or other occasional needs, improve the consumer experience pre-purchase and help consumers identify the origin or ingredients of food. provide for more transparency. QR codes on packaging combined with smart phones or similar devices provide all these experiences today, but specialized equipment will make it richer and more real.
Verdict: Possibility to train poultry experts, slaughterhouses in 2022, but more disruptions to come.
Food production stability under pressure
Comedians say progress is probably being made if both sides leave unhappy room in talks, but the UN Climate Change Conference 2021 seeks collective coordinated change at a level never achieved before. .
Yet agriculture will be forced to change in 2022, and under more pressure than other industries because ‘it’s an easy decision’.
Difficult decisions include whether to vote for consumers with less transportation (airplanes, cars), heating and air conditioning, those with smaller families, limit the construction of buildings (i.e., cement) and include fewer imported consumer goods. While any of these could have a bigger impact on climate change than agriculture, they are unpopular with consumers, so agriculture tends to be the whipping boy.
Poultry growers are faced with tough choices, but technology is an ally. Intensive scale agriculture is inherently more efficient, with lower food costs and a lower environmental footprint. Many see small farms as the more attractive face of farming, but large-scale production is preferable from a welfare and environmental point of view.
Poultry businesses that want to remain relevant in 2022 should adopt the language and metrics provided by the United Nations SDG framework, and publish their sustainability reports openly. Today these are seen as a threat, but perhaps one day the energy generated from by-products and waste could allow the poultry industry to make lemonade from lemons.
Verdict: Hot in 2022.
Precision Farming focuses on real-world solutions
Poultry producers are rightly excited for the digital dawn to come, but what they’ve seen so far is expensive and not really fit for purpose: technological solutions to real-world problems looking for them. In the end, this appears to be changing.
More startups are focusing on existing problems, including robots in chicken processing plants or environmental changes in poultry houses or birds and sensors to measure bird performance. As innovators focus on practical applications, poultry producers will be ready to restart the process, with more quantitative results and more realistic price tags.
Verdict: Hot in 2022, and even hotter.
What will be the effect of China on poultry prices?
2022 will be a challenging year for the Chinese economy, affecting both poultry imports and poultry feed ingredients (corn, soybeans, DDG).
Many underestimate China’s influence on world agricultural prices. For example, a statement by a top Chinese public health leader that drinking milk can help ward off COVID-19 has resulted in an increase in consumption.
With Chinese purchases often carefully coordinated, it should come as no surprise that China has both a centralized economy and the world’s largest importer. So far, China has faced COVID better than any other economy, and global online home buying seems to have driven Chinese tech exports.
Verdict: The main story of agricultural commodity prices still hot.
Will COVID always be with us?
Despite the obsessive coverage in the media, the future is no more clear now than it was a year ago. Are we on the carrier belt of viral mutations, with the planet lurking from one vaccination cycle to the next?
COVID has changed many things, and no one knows which changes will last and which will usher in new ways of living. Airplanes and hotels, on the other hand, have never been this clean! The pharmaceutical industry has demonstrated a breathtaking ability to develop, produce and launch new vaccines in record time.
Other changes are more obscure. Early disruptions in supply chains gave rise to dire calls to ‘bring everything home’, but lately it is becoming clear that many supply chains are stronger than they initially seemed. Remote working is another change that is likely to last.
Either way, the impact of COVID on the food world is clear: it accelerates the move toward automation and away from a heavy reliance on human labor. This fosters a greater commitment to biosecurity and blockchain mediated traceability. And finally, it opens up the possibility that the same vaccine development technology that has given rise to COVID vaccines will be able to find solutions to some of the world’s most prickly animal diseases.
Verdict: Warm, but unexpectedly cold, in the second half of 2022.
Attend 2022 Poultry Tech Summit
Join an exclusive international gathering of industry-changing innovators, researchers, entrepreneurs, technology experts, investors and leading poultry producers at the 2022 edition of Poultry Tech Summit October 30 – November 1 in Atlanta, Georgia. Attendees can expect the same unprecedented innovation and insightful presentations that well-attended past events, with in-depth dialogue on new potential solutions and developing technologies.