GLOBAL - This week's focus is on changing consumer preferences, new research into antibiotic resistance and an update on bird flu in poultry and cases in humans caused by viruses of avian origin.
In future, consumers are expected to have a renewed focus on ethical issues but this will not be too much at the expense of price.
Speaking at the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) Outlook Conference last week, Richard Nicholls from the market analysts, Future Foundation, said that consumers will seek greater transparency when shopping for meat and dairy products. Changing tastes will see consumers across the globe looking for new experiences in their purchases; they will buy meat and dairy products for special and unusual occasions.
As for the Asian market, between 2014 and 2020, gross domestic product is forecast to grow at 4.9 per cent year on year, according to Nick Miles of the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD).
However, the grocery market in Asia is expected to see an 8.5 per cent compound annual growth rate, he said. This compares to between two and four per cent for the EU.
Mr Miles said that Asia has now overtaken the US in terms of economic output and the grocery market is expected to benefit further from this growth. Asia's growing middle class is becoming a major target for meat and dairy exporters, he added.
Three European supermarket groups have been given top marks in an annual global farm animal welfare report published last week. Full marks were awarded to Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and Coop Group (Switzerland).
Now in its third year, the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) provides an annual review of how the world’s leading food companies are managing and reporting their farm animal welfare practices.
According to new research from UK scientists, rivers and streams could be a major source of antibiotic resistance in the environment.
Researchers at the University of Warwick's School of Life Sciences and the University of Exeter Medical School, looking at the River Thames, found greater numbers of resistant bacteria close to wastewater treatment works. They think these plants may be responsible for at least half of the recent increase observed.
5m Publishing is conducting a short survey to find out what readers – producers, vets, politicians, industry organisations and consumers – understand and know about the use of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance. We would value your participation.
And finally on bird flu news, Taiwan continues to suffer with many new outbreaks in poultry; the last week has seen another 35 involving 295,000 birds. New outbreaks have also been reported in the Egypt, Israel, Nigeria and the US states of Oregon and California. There have also been further human victims – almost 60 so far this year in Egypt, and China's total is now close to 600.