With four months to go until Feed Additives 2017, we spoke to opening speaker and Editor-in-Chief of Feedinfo News Service, Simon Duke.

Simon is known for his insightful and thought-provoking interviews with industry leaders, so we turned the microphone the other way to gain his views on the specialty feed ingredients sector:

Can you talk about some of the trends which you believe may have big impacts on the feed additives industry moving forward? And what should the feed additives industry be on the lookout for?

[Simon Duke] The fundamentals remain the same: increasing global meat consumption, industrialization of meat products, and growing awareness of quality of dairy and meat products consumed. These are all boosting the feed additives market’s growth, but the main issue now is the transition of the global feed additive sector to the post-antibiotic era, which is now no longer a matter of “if” but “when”. Pressure will come from two fronts: firstly from consumers via the larger retailers and secondly from governments – the global feed additive industry needs to embrace the challenge too as it fine-tunes its image with regard to animal welfare issues and the quality and safety of animal products.

We will increasingly see multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder approaches to fight antimicrobial resistance as well as more nutritional innovation and feed additive product development partnerships. The industry will continue to address the challenge of antibiotic reduction at farm level by furthering its knowledge of the impact that feed processing and composition have on optimal gastrointestinal health and of the use of specific micro-ingredients, while adapting/developing new feeding strategies to meet animal wellbeing requirements. Animal nutrition firms will aim to diversify their portfolios as much as possible. We can also expect such companies to continue exploring the combined use of synergistic and complementary ingredients and providing personalized nutritional solutions for customers.

What do you think are the issues and challenges faced by feed additives, premix and compound feed producers at the moment?

[Simon Duke] Registering and positioning feed additive products globally can be quite challenging from a regulatory perspective. Therefore cooperating with control authorities to create the most efficient and cost-effective control systems, by e.g. exchanging information between private and public stakeholders will be key. In the US, the new Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) regulations went into full effect on January 1, 2017. Brazil and China are following suit and are taking significant steps forward towards a more prudent use of antibiotics. In the EU, meanwhile, ‘generic’ amino acids are set to disappear, starting with threonine. At the same time companies are seeking zootechnical registrations, which are granted exclusively to products with significant and recognized beneficial effects on animals’ performance.

The sector as a whole must find solutions to deal with price volatility, currency fluctuations and unpredictable weather. It will have to pursue its efforts in developing sophisticated traceability technology, getting to grips with the so-called ‘Digital Revolution’, and securing the long-term supply of feed ingredients, while taking on-board national adjustments to meet environmental criteria. And then there are uncertainties: what are the consequences of Brexit? What will the future of global trade look like now that the Trump Administration is in power? How to deal with customer insolvency (e.g. Agrokor crisis in the Balkans) or national concerns amplified by mainstream media coverage (e.g. Brazilian meat scandal and alleged bribery)? And what about those inevitable surprises (future trends we can see coming, but still surprise us when they happen): pandemics, terrorism acts, war and conflict?

What are the topics addressed at Feed Additives 2017 that you are more excited to hear about?

[Simon Duke] We have been told by the industry that ‘Feed Additives 2017’ is a long-awaited conference as it will be the first neutral business gathering and information-sharing platform for stakeholders from across the specialty feed ingredients value chain. We expect the event will set the stage for forward-thinking discussions about the future of the global animal nutrition industry. Topics will cover the growing global economy, regulation, scientific and technological advances, and ‘Feed Additives 2017’ will provide specialist insight into current market information.

I am looking forward to hearing about opportunities for feed additive companies in developing markets and how the political and economical situations potentially affect the feed additives market in general. It will be also be interesting to hear from experts forecasting growth potential in feed additive usage in markets such as China or Brazil, or informing us which micro-ingredients are next on the radar and worth investing in. “What will affect amino acid and vitamin pricing” and “what shifts in the feed phosphate market can be expected” are questions I expect will be answered at the event. Finally, I look forward to finding out more about the holistic approach to animal nutrition, health and welfare, the use of new feed ingredients, and how value-added co-products from other industries and former foodstuffs are gaining in importance.

Hear from Simon and many other informative speakers at Feed Additives 2017. Booking information can be found here.

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