VNV wants to help the entire sector through the crisis
ZOETERMEER – Jos Goebbels is president of the Association for the Dutch meat products industry (VNV) and has it like no other overview of the sector. He and Richard van der Kruijk, secretary of the VNV, discuss the current situation and for the future of the Dutch meat products industry. “We are positive, cold cuts are still seen as an indispensable, tasty and healthy product ”, says Goebbels.
How did COVID-19 affect the processed meats industry?
Jos Goebbels: “Like many sectors, we also suffer from it, but we cannot complain. Unfortunately, less is sold in the food service and catering industry, but this is compensated by increased sales in the supermarket. Consumers still want a sandwich with meat products, so instead of getting something from a company canteen or sandwich shop, they now make it at home. ”
Richard van der Kruijk: “The members of the VNV make meat products from meat and that process is much less labor-intensive than, for example, in a slaughterhouse. It is therefore easier to keep your distance in our sector. In addition, the meat industry is much more of an exporting sector than we are. Meat products are more for the domestic market, the Benelux and surrounding countries. The impact of the global lockdown measures is therefore less for the processed meats industry. «
What is the role of the VNV in these developments?
Goebbels: “Together with the Ministries of Health, Welfare and Sport, and Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, and the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, we have drawn up the protocols to continue working safely. Our members use this as a basis to tailor their own protocol. This is necessary because every company is different. ”
Van der Kruijk: “The VNV wants to help the entire sector through the crisis well. Although our members are each other’s competitors, we share knowledge and experience with each other where we have a common interest. There is a clear common interest in this corona crisis and we provide support and knowledge transfer in this. ”
What are the main developments in the sector?
Goebbels: “The sector will have to continue to respond to two aspects. Those are sustainability and diversity. Firstly, consumers are increasingly demanding sustainable products, from production to packaging and from raw material to composition. A concept like the Beter Leven Keurmerk is a good example of how we have been working on this. ”
Van der Kruijk: “With Beter Leven, sustainability has been achieved that we have achieved together with our suppliers and retailers. Almost all Dutch meat products, especially pork, are now available in the supermarket under the Beter Leven Quality Mark. We see that as an important achievement. ”
Goebbels: “Second, we can also expand even further in the field of diversity. In recent years, our members have already created enormous diversity in the range of meat products. France has delicious pâtés and Italy the beautiful Parma ham, but they lack the diversity that we have on the shelf, which is really a characteristic of the Dutch meat product industry. The number of times that consumers consume meat products can become even more diverse. In the Netherlands we link meat products – much more than in other countries – unfortunately almost exclusively to bread meals. We see that as a gap in the market, because meat products also go well with drinks or evening meals. ”
After all, how do you view the meat imitations and meat substitutes?
Van der Kruijk: “We see a growing focus on vegetarian products and meat substitutes, also within our own companies. That is valuable for the entire sector, so we do not want to be too frenetic about it. We do attach great importance to a fair trade name for products. We don’t think the name sausage or burger is an issue, but references to animal elements in a vegetable product are a different story for us. We consider vegetarian chicken skewers or liver pate to be misleading and an unfair infringement of the production and marketing efforts of the animal products. By definition, a chicken or a liver cannot be vegetarian. Nor can we come up with a soy burger made from pork. So fair trade names for everyone. Equal monks, equal hoods. ”
Goebbels: “It should not be a consumer deception, consumers should know what they are buying. That must be 100 percent clear. ”
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