From global to local – the move towards European self-sufficiency for animal feeds

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/simazoran
© GettyImages/simazoran

Related tags: Feed protein vision, Protein

Ruud Tijssens, director of corporate affairs, at Dutch feed group Agrifirm, will be presenting on the regional raw material protein production trend at Feed Protein Vision.

For decades, Europe’s animal feed producers have relied heavily on imported soybeans as a source of cost effective proteins. Tijssens notes, however, that European consumer concerns about tropical deforestation associated with soy production in South American markets and a growing enthusiasm for local sourcing is encouraging the industry to ask a fundamental question: can Europe be self-sufficient in the production of protein for animal feeds? 

His presentation at Feed Protein Vision​ suggests that it is possible, but that it will call for investment, innovation and a balanced approach.

Thirty-year gap in protein production

Tijssens will evaluate the following areas in his talk:

  • How did we get here?  Why Europe has a 30-year development gap in protein production and how innovation can be accelerated,
  • The future for soy?  Evidence from Agrifirm’s own data suggests that Europe is close to the tipping point for economically viable soy production,
  • What else can we feed?  Why soy is not the only answer and what other protein sources hold most promise,
  • How fast are we moving?  With Europe’s retailers enforcing regional sourcing, producers are coming under pressure,
  • What is Europe anyway? If Europe must be self-sufficient, we have to define terms and understand the political agenda.

Tijssens spent ten years in the European dairy industry before moving to the animal feeds industry in 2001, first with CCL and later with CHV.L-BB.  When that firm merged with Agrifirm in 2010, he became responsible for Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR) for the combined companies.

Tijssens was President of the European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation (FEFAC) until June 2017 and, since 2012, has chaired a research consortium formed by the Dutch feed industry, Wageningen University and the Dutch Government.

You can register for Feed Protein Vision here​. 

The event, which is being organized by FeedNavigator, also includes presentations on novel proteins derived from single cell technology, insect meal, and microalgae. There will be a debate on the benefits or otherwise of using more land animal proteins or PAPs in fish feed, and many other topics.

The stellar line-up includes speakers from McDonalds, LMC International, Agrifirm, Rabobank, Skretting, FEFAC, ForFarmers, UC Davis, Cornell University, University of Stirling, the Danish Technological Institute, Wageningen Livestock Research and more.

Interactive session 

The Protein Challenge 2040 partnership will also run a workshop at Feed Protein Vision​. ​That session will bridge the feed and food communities by including delegates attending Food Protein Vision, an event being run by FoodNavigator right after the feed protein conference.

The workshop - Why is sustainable animal feed protein important for the food industry? - ​looks to identify how consumer expectations may change in the next five years, and it will outline the qualities of an animal feed that is fit for the future.

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