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PARTICIPANTS AT INTERNATIONAL SHEEPMEAT FORUM EMPHASISE NEED FOR INNOVATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF NEW PRODUCTS, TO BOOST CONSUMPTION

Date

13 Oct 2009

Sections

Agriculture & Food
Health & Consumers

In the wake of declining production and consumption, participants at a major International Sheepmeat Forum emphasised in Brussels today that new products must be developed to meet consumer demands, especially for convenience foods, and international cooperation in research and development must be stepped up.

The Forum brought together around 130 experts from 20 countries to discuss ways to improve the profitability of the sector and to make it more sustainable. Speakers at the Forum outlined the challenges facing the sector, warning of a slow down in consumption, rising costs and a lack of income and profitability which has led to a worldwide decline in sheep flocks. Pekka Pesonen, Chairman of the Forum and Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General, insisted that if no action is taken now, consumption and production will drop even further, causing a further mass exodus from the rural areas of the EU.

In view of this, participants insisted that there is scope for improvements in productivity and in the quality of products as well as need for greater cooperation amongst the different parts of the supply chain. They stressed that international cooperation in research and development must be improved and private and public funding and support must be increased. They also said that there are opportunities to capitalise on complementarity of seasonal supply to ensure year round supply and continued demand from consumers.

In a bid to boost consumption, they emphasised the need to capture in particular the tastes of the younger generation as there is a widespread perception, especially among the young, that lamb is too difficult. To achieve, innovation is essential, capitalising on the trend for boneless meal solutions and the development of new products to meet consumers demands for convenience foods. Speaking at the Forum, EU Farm Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel pointed out that “the Commission simply doesn’t get many requests for funding to promote lamb. So perhaps there are possibilities here”. She also wondered if it would be possible for players around the world to team up for promotion purposes.

Furthermore, participants emphasised the benefits that sheep production can make to tackling climate change and to the environment, contributing to the preservation of landscape and rural areas.

Amanda Cheesley

Press Officer

Copa­-Cogeca

WWW.copa-cogeca.eu

Tel. : + 32 (0)2 287 27 90

Mobile +32 (0) 474 84 08 36

Amanda.cheesley@copa-cogeca.eu

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