“High quality and safety paired with competitive prices”: foreign journalists and opinion leaders are discovering the advantages of European meat. As part of the “Meat with European Quality” campaign, UPEMI welcomed the representatives of the American and Canadian media in early November to familiarize them with EU standards for pork and beef farming and production.
At the invitation of the Union of Producers and Employers of Meat Industry, American and Canadian journalists visited Poland. The visit was organized on November 7-11, as a part of informational and promotional campaign called “Meat with European Quality”. Invited speakers included representatives from the following press titles: Good Food Revolution (Canada), Canadian Hog Journal, Hrimag (Canada), Globe, The National Post (USA), Knapsack News (USA), Refrigerated & Frozen Foods (USA), ProFood World (USA), Winsight Grocery Business (USA).
The main objective of the study visit was to increase the interest of the American and Canadian trade press representatives in European quality meat products. Guests were introduced to the process of farming and meat production. The meetings were an opportunity to learn about quality systems, experience and traditions of the EU meat sector. This allowed the visiting journalists to see and appreciate the high quality of European meat throughout the supply chain, as well as taste and evaluate the taste of dishes prepared with pork and beef by renowned chefs.
According to Eurostat data, in 2020, EU beef exports grew by 3% to reach 491,000 metric tons. Pork exports increased by as much as 19% in the same year to 5.4 million tons; this is how the European Union has remained the world’s leading red meat export market (Beef & Veal Market Situation, Beef CMO 21 October 2021).
Value of EU meat exports in 2020 (Beef & Veal Market Situation, Beef CMO 21 October 2021):
|pork:||€ 72 million||pork:||€ 204 million|
|beef:||€ 49.9 million||beef:||€ 40 million|
|Meat preparations:||€ 24 million||Meat preparations:||€ 138 million|
Value changes of EU meat exports by month August – September
|pork:||11% increase||pork:||6.2% increase|
|beef:||15% increase||beef:||22% decrease|
|Meat preparations:||32% increase||Meat preparations:||5% increase|
American and Canadian media representatives had the opportunity to learn about and take a closer look at the entire meat production process in Poland. Guests visited meat processing plants that maintain trade relations with the USA and Canada (or aspire to establish them) – “Mościbrody” Processing Plant and “Mokobody” Meat Plant. The journalists received comprehensive answers to questions about, i. a., production profitability, export directions and development plans.
“Mościbrody” meat processing plant was founded in 1996. This family-owned company produces and sells cured meats and raw meats. “Mościbrody” products are certified by such labels as “Jakość Tradycja” and “Poznaj Dobrą Żywność”.
“Mokobody” Meat Plant was established in December 2008 and its operation revolves around purchasing beef livestock, as well as slaughtering and selling beef products. Since 2010, the company has been successively extending production rights to foreign markets; it sends its products to, i. a.: Hong Kong, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.
Guests from across the ocean had a unique opportunity to personally experience the high quality and taste of European meats, cured meats and sausages. “Learning about the entire safe meat production process beforehand made the dishes taste even better!” said a representative of the Canadian Hog Journal. During the scheduled lunches and dinners, they tried dishes based on locally produced meat and prepared by excellent outstanding Polish chefs: Adam Gessler and Robert Sowa, to name a few.
Adam Gessler, as a famous Polish chef and restaurateur, welcomed the guests to his famous restaurant where the participants had a chance to taste excellent pre-war Polish cuisine while talking to the owner about combining tradition with modernity, as well as the requirements for serving Polish meat.
Robert Sowa is a chef, restaurateur and a respected figure in the culinary arts. Menu creator for the largest cultural and culinary events in Poland, known from television and radio programs. The owner of an authentic restaurant spent the entire evening with guests, talking about the challenges of the meat industry from the perspective of a restaurateur with ambitions of the high quality in mind.
The meetings with representatives of EU and Polish offices were also an important element of the mission. During the visit, journalists had the opportunity to talk to the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Mr. Ryszard Bartosik and the Deputy Chief Veterinarian Ms. Katarzyna Piskorz about the potential of Polish agriculture for large-scale exports of agri-food products, especially to third-country markets. “The significant potential of Polish agriculture consists of well-developed plant and animal production, the highest standards of quality and food safety, which go hand in hand with competitive prices.” emphasized Deputy Minister Bartosik.
The Deputy Minister expressed the hope for further dynamic development of exports, which will be facilitated by gaining access to the U.S. and Canadian markets for food products of further categories, including poultry meat in the United States.
“The U.S. veterinary services recognizing the equivalence of the Polish supervision system for poultry meat production with the American system was a huge success,” commented Ms. Piskorz. “This achievement gives hope for the aforementioned prompt initiation of beef exports to the United States, as well as expansion in the supply of a catalogue of pork products,” adds the Deputy Chief Veterinarian.
The Delegation of the European Commission in Poland aims to explain to the Poles the influence of EU policies on the functioning of our country. The institution is also in charge of providing the Polish government and other bodies and stakeholders in Poland with information about the EU and informing the European Commission in Brussels about the current political, economic and social situation in Poland. The topic of potential solutions to support Polish farmers was discussed during the visit to the Delegation of the European Commission. Acting Head of Delegation, Witold Naturski said: “The European Union protects small and medium-sized farmers by developing self-sufficient food production in the European Union. We have to bear in mind that all food producers operating in the European Union are obliged to comply with EU regulations at every stage of food production.”
The Food Market and Trade Forum allowed our study visit participants to participate in two discussion panels: “Export Freedom vs. Polish Success. The Pandemic – Opportunity for the prepared” and “Meat in the network of challenges.”
During the first panel, our guests were able to learn more about food exports from the EU, including Poland after the first COVID-19 crisis, especially in terms of trade with the United States and Canada. Exporters have done very well during this time: Poland is the third country in the EU with the largest agri-food trade surplus. The pandemic caused significant changes in the commodity and geographic structure of Polish exports: among other things, a marked increase in food deliveries to third countries compared to years before the pandemic.
During the “Meat in the network of challenges” panel, the main topic was the negative impact of a pandemic on the meat industry in the EU, including Poland. Despite these adversities, meat export from the EU still has great export potential, especially to third-country markets, which was emphasized in the interview by Jolanta Ciechomska, QAFP system Manager in the UPEMI.
The Food Market and Trade Forum is the largest conference in Poland dedicated to the food, retail and HoReCa sectors. During quite intense meetings and debates, over 100 speakers and several hundred participants discussed the shape and prospects of the industry.
In total, the U.S. and Canadian media representatives held more than 25 meetings: during the Forum and in the form of individual talks at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Chief Veterinary Inspectorate and the Delegation of the European Commission. The guests also visited production plants, butcher stores and restaurants so that they could learn about high production standards and restrictive food regulation standards which guarantee the safety of products manufactured in the EU. The issues concerning production requirements defined both at the level of EU legislation and food quality management systems were also raised.
The visits will establish relationships with meat producers and exporters from Europe, as well as provide the opportunity to gain some knowledge of the strict standards for breeding, production, storage and transportation. Visits to butcher stores – both neighborhood and supermarket – allowed the guests to understand the expectations of the European consumer.
The mission was a full success – the guests returned satisfied, with an understanding of the specifics of the European meat industry. “Meetings with producers, discussions with government officials, visiting restaurateurs – thanks to the holistic approach of the mission, I know much more about the European meat production standards. Getting a taste of European quality and tradition was an amazing experience!” commented Aaron Hand, editor of www.profoodworld.com. All guests were aware that the meat industry in the European Union (including Poland) has a rich tradition and its products are valued around the world. We hope that in the long run the visit will facilitate expansion of trade cooperation and thus will become truly beneficial for both sides!