A hidden champion girds itself for the future

Dr. Eckel celebrates anniversary with customers and partners

No less than the future of the industry featured in this year’s trade conference. Sustainable, profitable and animal-welfare oriented: these are the guiding principles for tomorrow’s food production. But which is the path that will lead to success? What are the challenges that need to be overcome? And how can growers, producers, processors and retailers be economically viable while fulfilling all the requirements for animal welfare, the climate, the environment and resources? Speakers and participants addressed these major issues in talks and panel discussions.

Prof. Johanna Fink-Gremmels, Chair of Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology at Utrecht University, made the role of nutrition in animal health and welfare particularly clear in her talk, stating that, besides contributing significantly to stable health, proper nutrition is also a key factor for better performance, lower medical costs and consequently better returns. Dutch company New Generation Nutrition is also all about nutrition. In her talk, CEO Marian Peters clearly demonstrated how important insects could be to nutrition, both animal and human, in the future.

Dr Gereon Schulze Althoff, Head of Quality Management and Veterinary Services at Tönnies, provided exciting insights into the role of producers, in particular the responsibility and potential of the various stakeholders in the value chain. A visionary presentation by Dr Francesca Blasco, Vice President Product & Innovation, outlined how to achieve profitable and animal-friendly production. The conference culminated in a panel discussion, including the speakers and audience, on how the industry can find a balance between animal welfare and profitability.

“It was a great mix of high-calibre expert talks, inspiring debates and plenty of opportunity for discussions with international industry peers,” said Bernhard große Austing from Austing Mischfutterwerk GmbH & Co. KG, adding: “Animal welfare is no trivial matter. Rather, as amply demonstrated at this conference, it is a necessity. Only healthy animals can provide healthy food. Because ultimately, this is what the consumer wants and what our world needs in order to ensure sufficient food supplies in the future.”

In his keynote address the previous evening, Matthias Lindenberger, Head of Consulting at Ogilvy Germany, had already referred to changes in consumer behaviour observed worldwide and their significance for B2B business. His talk was the prelude to a convivial evening with customers, partners and long-term associates in celebration of Dr. Eckel’s 25th anniversary. Following a champagne reception and celebratory dinner, the guests were treated to a special surprise: a casino of the senses, where wines, spirits, unusual mineral waters and exclusive chocolates could be tasted and categorised by origin, variety or cultivation method at the various tables. The event, organised by the International Wine Institute, was absolutely entertaining and provided numerous eureka moments.

Founder and CEO Dr Antje Eckel has expressed her gratitude for all that has been achieved and promised many more innovations: “Twenty-five years of Dr. Eckel – that’s 25 years of innovation, growth and success for and with our customers. We are proud to be able to celebrate this today, a privilege for which we are very grateful. The world has changed fundamentally in recent years. The momentum of the climate debate, the debate on the production of animal protein and the matter of animal welfare have transformed the issue of animal nutrition into an economic and political hot potato. Our vision is to integrate animal welfare, economic viability and food quality in a novel manner. We subscribe to a holistic approach that goes way beyond today, for the sake of our future.”