COVID-19 and swine fever “practice runs”

7th September 2020 | Eativity editors

New Zealand futurist Melissa Clark-Reynolds claims that COVID-19 and African swine fever are “practice runs” for more significant global threats we may face in the future.

These confronting words have kicked off Australian Pork Limited’s (APL) new podcast, “Next on the Menu”. The future-focused podcast is hosted by APL Chairman, Andrew “Billy” Baxter and GM of Business and Innovation, Mitch Edwards.

Clark-Reynolds compares African swine fever to COVID-19, saying both pandemics are merely test runs for the next international economic, health or food-security emergency, which is why what we do and how we learn to live with pandemics is so important.   

Bone broth offers opportunities for utilising the whole animal.

The first episode of Next on the Menu abounds with messages of warning, wisdom and encouragement for Australia’s livestock industries. As a social entrepreneur and a professional director, including the first independent director of Beef + Lamb New Zealand Inc, Clark-Reynolds works with companies around the application of new technologies in the face of disruption, with most of her work involving the future of food and agriculture.

Questioned around what emerging opportunities Aussie pig producers should have their eyes on, Clark-Reynolds highlights the potential of tapping into markets for collagen and bone broth: “One of the things that I think is a major opportunity is collagen,” she says. “There’s a real trend around using the whole animal, and we need to think carefully how we can do that. I haven’t really seen pork bone broth on the market, and I don’t know why?”

A growing market: more consumers are seeking meat alternatives such as Beyond Meat.

On the topic of alternative proteins, Clark-Reynolds cautions against taking a “point and laugh” approach to meat alternatives, as other food and fibre industries have done when presented with similar disruptions in the past. 

“When we see the future and we don’t agree with it, we don’t like it, or we don’t get it – our first response is to mock it,” she says. “Some industries blew it because they didn’t take the threat seriously. Ultimately, they didn’t respect the customer enough.”

Next on the Menu co-hosts Billy and Mitch have lined up a range of guests selected to challenge anyone interested in the future of food and farming. The first episode launched on Friday and can be found at australianpork.com.au, at anchor.fm/nextonthemenu, on Spotify or on Apple Podcasts, with new episodes released every fortnight on a Friday.

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