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Overwhelming Success for First Hubbard Premium Forum

05 August 2015
Hubbard Breeders

NETHERLANDS – The first Hubbard Premium Forum fully focusing on premium broiler products and markets, held in Breukelen near Utrecht in the Netherlands, was an overwhelming success with 106 attendees from 18 different countries.

At the end of the forum Hubbard promised their customers of Hubbard Premium products that this well received forum will be the first of a series of meetings which will be held in different parts of Europe.

Hubbard, global leader in the market of ‘premium chickens’ (organic, Label Rouge, 81-day Free range, 56-day Free Range, Certified, Freedom Food, Chicken of Tomorrow, etc.), gathered its main customers of ‘premium chickens’ in Europe to get to know each other better, to exchange about Hubbard’s R&D for premium products and to share technical and practical information from the field.

It allowed the participants to increase their knowledge about Hubbard’s Premium product range, the growing differentiation of the broiler markets in the EU and how to get the best performance and optimal results for this growing segment of the market.

During two morning sessions the presentations focussed on different aspects of the premium products and markets in Europe.

After the kick off by Olivier Rochard (MD of Hubbard), Peter van Horne (Senior Agronomist of WUR-LEI in the Netherlands) made a comparison of broiler production costs of the main countries in the EU and also compared these with the main exporting countries: the USA, Brazil and Thailand.

He concluded that without trade barriers the EU certainly cannot compete on costs. Therefore a differentiation in production systems can be a way to stay ahead. Paul van Boekholt (Hubbard Business Director Northern Europe) summarised the past and current developments of product and market types in the EU and the growing differentiation, nowadays not based on tradition but driven by animal welfare and more recently the need to reduce the use of antibiotics in the production chain.

Wilbert Hilkens (Sector Manager Animal Production of ABN AMRO) presented the recent developments of differentiated broiler production chains in the Netherlands, e.g. ‘Beter Leven’ and the ‘Chicken of Tomorrow’, as a good example on how the industry can react to changing consumer demands. He also gave an overview of changing consumer preferences and its expected implications for the supply chains of meat, eggs and vegetables by 2020.

French broiler integration Duc presented the development of their certified broiler production in free range and indoor in France since 1991, while Campoaves explained the production of their free range chicken ‘Frango Do Campo’ in Portugal.

Mark Barnes (COO of Hubbard LLC in the USA) summarised the recent developments of the production of Antibiotic Free (ABF) broilers and slower growing chickens in the US market. The production of ABF broilers is driven by large restaurant and supermarket chains supported through social media and changing needs of the millennials.

The ABF market is there to stay. Five of the top ten integrations are or will be producing ABF broilers. It is now becoming the norm, not the exception, and in 2015 represents nearly 25% of the total output of broilers.

The sales of slow(er) growing products initially started for the New York and California markets, but is spreading more throughout the country due to ethnicity, taste, demographics, social media and customer demand. Hubbard’s sales in this market segment more than doubled over the last two years.

Frederic Fagnoul (Hubbard geneticist for the Hubbard Premium product range) gave more insight in the work done at R&D level with a clear focus on robustness, welfare traits, productivity, efficiency and meat quality.

Hubbard has been selecting slow(er) growing broiler breeds for nearly 50 years and has adapted its breeding program to changes in consumption patterns and the increased demand for conformation and meat quality. For that, Hubbard has intensified its selection following these latest trends and is finalising a multi-million Euro investment in its R&D and production centre for the Hubbard Premium product range in Courtenay, France.

Marcel Vanlauwe, who has been involved in the selection of the Hubbard Premium Products for several decades, summarised the excellent breeder results in the field for the Hubbard JA57, JA87, Redbro M and P6N. These field results are gathered from Hubbard’s customers using the Hubbard Flock Recording system, which is available for free for all Hubbard customers.

Based on these data Marcel could proudly show that for all breeder females the average production of hatching eggs per hen housed is above the Hubbard standard. He stressed that it is very important to develop a good carcass during the first period of rearing. It helps to achieve the best uniformity, combined with good appetite and egg size and to get good peaks and good persistency.

Claude Toudic (Hubbard Technical Manager EMEA & Brazil) focussed on the results of an experimental trial done by ITAVI and INRA in France on a multi-criteria evaluation of the Hubbard JA757 and JA957 broilers in indoor, winter garden and free range housing systems. He concluded that carcass quality tends to be better when birds have access to a winter garden or a ranging area (less fat pads and skin lesions).

The winter garden and free range systems are improving the image of broiler growing towards consumers. However, ‘free range’ is a recognised category in the EU regulation, but the ‘winter garden’ as used in the Netherlands is not. This makes the involvement of retailers in the communication to consumers very important.

At the end of the forum it was clear to all attendees that Hubbard offers the largest range of parent females and males to be able to respond to all the different requirements of the premium markets ranging from organic, Label Rouge, 81-day free range, 56-day free range, certified, Freedom Food and the more recent developments like ‘Beter Leven’ and the ‘Chicken of Tomorrow’ in the Netherlands. Hubbard takes the premium market segment very serious as it is a key objective of Hubbard to bring the ‘taste with a difference’ to more people in the world!

During the afternoon of the first day the group was welcomed by HatchTech to visit their latest innovation called ‘HatchCare’ at the Lagerweij hatchery in Lunteren. This was followed by two visits to farms producing the ‘Beter Leven 1-Ster’ (Better Life 1-Star) broilers till 56 days in an extensive indoor system (25 kg/m2) with a ‘wintergarden’, covered ranging area, using the Hubbard JA757 breed. The group was very surprised about the level of investments, the technical results and the professionalism of the broiler growers producing slow(er) growing broilers in the Netherlands.

The group having a close look at a brand new broiler house for the 56-day ‘Beter Leven 1-Star’ production in the Netherlands.

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