In this file:


·         UK: National consumer study forecasts pork consumption trends and market stability of the pig industry

·         US: Alternative Proteins Not a Threat to Animal Agriculture



National consumer study forecasts pork consumption trends and market stability of the pig industry

Will James, University of Leeds School of Geography and Leeds Institute for Data Analytics, explains how PigSustain consumer analysis will allow the pig industry to forecast pork consumption trends and market stability of the pig industry.


The Pig Site

4 October 2019


PigSustain is a national project using a multi-disciplinary, integrated systems approach to model and assess the resilience of the UK pig industry historically, currently and in the future.


The aim of the project is to develop models to assess how the industry will likely be affected by intensification, fluctuations in consumer demand, climate change and risks associated with global production and international trade.


The project is broken down into five work packages: economic impacts; climate and links to disease prevalence; automatic detection systems; health and welfare issues; and consumer data analysis.


The multi-million-pound PigSustain project is now in its third year so with another year to go, the five packages continue to work as individual forces before coming together to produce one definitive model of the UK pig industry. To date, each group has published a number of articles featured in international journals.


In March 2019, the first results of the project developing the automatic detection system were published in Sensors. The paper proposed a new, robust, on-line multiple pig detection and tracking method which eliminates the need for manual marking and physical identification of the animals being monitored, and works efficiently under both daylight and infrared (night-time) light conditions.


In May 2019, the first results from the project analysing consumer data were published in Nature. The study has been the first step towards bridging the gap between published consumer data and known drivers of local variation in consumption habits. Will James, University of Leeds School of Geography and Leeds Institute for Data Analytics, and lead author in this study, explains how this broad analysis will allow us to forecast pork consumption trends and market stability of the pig industry.


“In this project, we didn’t just investigate pork consumption, we looked at the expenditure records of about 108 food and drink products, for comparative purposes and to ensure we spotted key trends in consumer behaviour that could link with pork buying habits,” says Will.


“What we want to be able to factor into our predictions is, for example, if people stop eating pork, what are they substituting it with in their diets?


“Equally, if there was a health scare in one industry, would people buy more or less of a certain product?


“We’re looking at people’s expenditure on products and what people are most likely to do if their opinions on production or climate change or health change.”


The first half of the project has involved analysing historical data collected between 2008 and 2017 and now the research team is beginning to run some future projections for specific food trends and the effects this will have on the pig industry. These projections will then lead to producing strategies on how to prepare for these changes and how to respond in the future.


The first results of the study indicated that buying and consumption behaviour varied much more over space than Will and the team thought it would, and that time actually had less of an impact on consumption trends than predicted.


“We’ve noticed significant differences between certain areas of London, and between areas like Devon and Cornwall and the rest of England,” says Will.


“We were also expecting to see a downwards trend in pork consumption recent years, because of the movement to vegetarianism and veganism, but this hasn’t shown up in the data at all really which is interesting.”


An example of this geographical trend can be observed when comparing the average spend per week on sausages...





Alternative Proteins Not a Threat to Animal Agriculture


Source: American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) 

October 3, 2019


An American Farm Bureau Federation official says alternative proteins won’t disrupt demand for animal agriculture. Micheal Clements has more.


Clements: The rise of alternative proteins prompts questions about how the products will impact animal agriculture production and demand. However, Scott Bennett, American Farm Bureau Federation Congressional Relations Director, says alternative proteins are not a threat to conventional meat in diets.


Bennett: There will always be a demographic of consumers that want and prefer conventional meat, and to be honest that’s most consumers in America. If a consumer wants to try a plant-based protein, by all means let them try it. Our job here is just to make sure they know exactly what it is they are buying which is in fact not meat.


Clements: Bennett says AFBF supports consumer choice, however labels cannot be deceptive or misleading.


Bennett: Alternative proteins are not meat and that needs to be crystal clear. Look, in my opinion, these products are for a niche market. For most Americans just trying to feed their family, they’re headed to the meat counter to pick up their next meal.


Clements: Bennett says its important to stay focused on growing the protein market.


Bennett: We tend to get caught up on the small slice of the pie of the market share that these alternative proteins are capturing. I would rather us focus on growing the size of the pie. That benefits more diets globally and still allows for that consumer choice. And, American producers of protein are first in line to benefit from that growth.


Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.


document, plus audio [1:16 min.]