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Define your company ‘ethics,’ gain consumer trust

Biomin's 2018 World Nutrition Forum shed light on “Scientific Challenges and Opportunities in the Protein Economy”


“It’s a great time to be in the animal protein business!” – this was the resounding sentiment during the plenary track at Biomin's 2018 World Nutrition Forum — and for good reason. According to Rabobank’s Nan-Dirk Mulder, animal protein production is projected to grow by 35 percent over the next 20 years.

In addition to the species-specific breakout sessions, the overall program examined the role of innovations in agricultural technology, mycotoxin research and advances in antibiotic-free production in improving efficiency and profitability in feed and livestock sectors.

Beyond the technical discussions, each of the industry outlook segments circled back to one critical element: the consumer.

 “We will only be successful in deploying new [ag] technologies if we maintain the trust of the final consumer; otherwise, they will not eat the food we put in front of them,” said Dr. Peer Ederer, program and science director, Food & Agribusiness Forum Platform of CEIBS and Wageningen University.

Ederer noted consumer distrust has resulted in the over-regulation of many available and useful agricultural technologies.

“To gain the trust of consumers, we must create ethical capital in our companies,” he said, noting that the ethics of technology is complex, and scientists should be sensitive to ethical considerations, e.g. cloning.

As consumers increasingly demand companies take an ethical position on major issues, make sure your company is prepared to take a stance.

“Whatever your ethical position, [your company] must be transparent and accountable against that ethical position so the consumer – wherever they are in the world – can trust the food that you produce,” Ederer said.

Heeding this advice, what strategic effort has your company taken to build ethical capital with your customers and the consumer? If you'd like to share your story, contact Jackie Roembke, [email protected]

Editor’s note: Biomin's 2018 World Nutrition Forum was held in Cape Town, South Africa, and hosted more than 800 delegates from 80 countries.

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