The Annual Meat Conference is very much about education and that includes getting the big picture when it comes to the industry not only here in the United States but also around the world. We got that perspective from Jeff Simmons, President, Elanco, who spoke on “Making Safe, Affordable and Abundant Food a Global Reality.”
You can listen to or download Jeff’s full speech here: Jeff Simmons Keynote Speech
Jeff started off by telling us some personal stories about his participation in a leadership event that changed his way of looking at the issue of food and world hunger. He also shared anecdotes from travels to countries that are facing serious food shortages even as their population grows. As a result of this he concludes that the next few years in the meat industry are as much about our heart as our mind. He says, “I think it’s coming to a point in time where our voice has to be as clear as a line and convincing as we’ve ever had before.” He believes the industry has a great story to tell and “. . . we’ve had a tendency to not tell that story . . .”
There are three key things he sees that will be very important to the meat industry. These are Middle Class – fastest middle class growth in history of man . . .; Global Volatility – significant shift in demands, margins and costs . . . and Brands – increasing “brand” orientation with the global consumer.
Innovation is also vital to creating new technology that will help improve and increase food production. He noted how some countries like the UK have stifled innovation by excessive regulations and now find themselves having trouble feeding themselves. Besides innovation, Choice is also key by allowing consumers choices when it comes to food and finally, Globalization is necessary meaning that we need good trade systems to move food to where it is needed.
I sat down with Jeff after his presentation to discuss some of these ideas and more. You can listen to my interview with Jeff here: Interview with Jeff Simmons