28 September 2018 – Ludger Rolfes, a Germany-based marketing expert provided insight yesterday evening at Feed Additives 2018 into the mood of consumers and how their appetite impacts the additives value chain.

Rolfes, Division Director, Animal Health & Nutrition Research at Produkt + Markt presented the results of a survey involving around 400 German consumers and 400 UK consumers.

Generally-speaking, consumers are a lot more interested in animal welfare, environmental issues and food safety. The survey showed that a majority of consumers in Germany and the UK are concerned about how animals are raised and kept, with a few differences between gender and age ranges, but only half of the consumers asked cared and are concerned about the safety of feed and the additives that go into the feed. At the same time, less than 40% perceive feed additives as being positive for the environment.

Vitamins are perceived by the end consumer as beneficial for animals in the minds of 55% German consumers and 54% in UK minds. Herbal extracts didn’t fare too badly either with 60% in Germany and 42% in the UK. However, amino acids were only 15% and 18%, pre/probiotics 11% and 28%, organic acids 9% and 24%, and enzymes 15% and 16%, respectively.

The survey showed that consumers are hardly aware of the benefits of feed additives. Less than 3% of those surveyed said they were knowledgeable about feed additives.

“The feed additive industry should communicate more directly with the consumer”, Rolfes commented.

The general lack of consumer awareness may come as a shock to the animal nutrition industry. But at the same time it’s no real surprise that the larger restaurant chains who track consumer behavior are not too involved in developments at feed additive level either, or at least not yet.

Jeroen Dekkers, Supply Chain Manager, and Floor Uitterhoeve, Manager Sustainability, at McDonald’s Netherlands told their Feed Additives 2018 audience that McDonald’s – the biggest buyer of beef worldwide – expects sustainable protein programs from their meat suppliers and is eager to stay informed about best feeding practices and the benefits of feed additives. For instance, 65% of soy in the feed of broiler chickens for McDonald’s European markets is certified by RTRS or ProTerra.

However, Dekkers admitted that McDonald’s is lagging behind in terms of some sectoral changes and innovations such as non-meat hamburgers, or algae.

“It is important to focus on joint innovation and implementation”, added Uitterhoeve. “We need to stimulate and endorse innovation from the ground up”.