Optimism boosts Pig Fair attendance

The 2014 British Pig & Poultry Fair reflected overriding industry optimism for the future as a result of continued growth across the sectors, according to the organiser, RASE.

“The fair was extremely well supported from producers and commercial companies alike,” RASE’s head of technical events, Alice Bell, said. “Stand space was sold out in advance of the fair, and visitor numbers were up 3% on 2012, with 10,318 people through the gate over the two days (5,954 on the Tuesday and 4,364 on Wednesday).

“The RASE is delighted to host the industry at this unique event, and hope the discussions started at the fair will help producers grow their businesses.”

The “Growing Your Business” forum sessions were once again extremely well attended, with 100s of producers attending over the two days.

One of the most highiy anticipated was the forum based on how utilising the media can be advantageous to business growth, and to potentially defend the industry in the event of negative publicity.

While this was a new concept for many producers in an industry where we often shy away from publicity of any kind, Malcolm Munro, an independent media consultant, told the audience to be proud of the pig and poultry sectors and to tell the good news stories.

“Journalists want topical, relevant, and above all else authentic stories, and producers should be telling the stories of how they rear animals to extremely high standards, whilst still producing quality, affordable end products,” he said.

“The industry is full of success stories, but we need to tell them, and to tell them with passion and belief. It puts ‘good news’ into the media bank, helping to slowly overcome and win round public trust and support.”

When questioned, Mr Munro encouraged producers to engage with the media through industry bodies and the use of social media platforms. “Be clear about what you want to say to the media,” he advised.

The responsible securing of raw materials was debated in a forum hosted by ABN, partners of the Britsih Pig & Poultry Fair.

Hugh Burton explained the level to which the supply chain, including retailers, was involved in schemes to ensure responsible sourcing. He was followed by ABN’s procurement manager, Erin Burns, who detailed the high demands placed on protein and how the industry needs to look for alternatives.

“Currently there are many options being researched including insect protein that can potentially produce 200 times the protein yield of soya beans per hectare,” she said.

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