524 views 3 commentslast update:6 Aug 2012

The F word

We all know the frequently used phrase: "from farm to fork" right? But I think we are missing another important F word here: finance. If we want to cover the whole food chain in one sentence, we have to include the money part. Even more so now with feed and food prices reaching record high levels. So "from farm to fork to finance" makes much more sense.

We all know the frequently used phrase: "from Farm to Fork " right? But I think we are missing another important F word here: Finance. If we want to cover the whole food chain in one sentence, we have to include the money part. Even more so now with feed and food prices reaching record high levels. So "from farm to fork to finance" makes much more sense.

What comes first: farm or finance?
But now we need to ask; where should we place it, after fork or before farm? It is almost like the chicken and the egg theory; what comes first? With increasing feed prices, farms are struggling more and more to produce our daily food. And the farmers who can survive the high feed prices are facing an even bigger challenge to produce high quality animal products for the low price that consumers have been used to for so many years. In this respect the word finance should come after fork.

However, where you place it and what the word 'finance' actually refers to really doesn't really matter. What is important is finding good, realistic solutions for farmers to stay in business and to use ingredients that are both good for animals and humans. However, for some reason these two things do not always go together.

Plant extracts, pre- and probiotics play an increasingly important role in animal nutrition, due to their benefits to animal health and product quality. The problem is often that these ingredients can be costly (remember the €200 per kilo of garlic that I mentioned in my previous blog?). Luckily, feed companies are not only in the business to make money, they are also constantly striving to make their products more efficient (and thus more economic) or to find alternative sources or raw materials to improve their portfolio.

Alternative raw materials, feed additives and higher bioavailability all helps in reducing the pressure that feed prices have on the end product. At the same time, the new feed additives entering the market are not only better, some of them seem to give added value to the end product as well (think of omega 3 and 6 or selenium), which makes me think of more options for the phrase: "from Farm to Fork to Functionality" or "from Farm to Fork to Fine-tuning"... 

3 comments

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    Mesut Cetin

    Thanks very good point. Than from farm to fork will be 4F? Finance, farm, functuonality, fork... Do you beleive the functional food will be more featured products and will be used more and more directly in nutritional products instead of during processing? Cost advantegous? Omega 3 for insteance will be much more cost effective when you add during milk processing instead of adding some bypass products to diets of the dairy cows?

    Thanks again raising this topic ...

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    flavio.veneroni@doxal.it

    Food market in the richest area (where the inquiry is for highest quality/value) requires, before using any micro ingredients, that all the implications have to be considered along all the process from farm to fork.
    Finance functionality and also emotivity, and environment respect/safety use must be tested before his use in order to avoid short use period and/or dangerous boomerang effects.
    A fact is imperative: obtain production and the current costs with the lowest use of chemical agents and/or alien products respect to natural compositions.

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    Blonde

    I would like to comment that working pigs in an outdoor environment is a less of a cost, as pig are also grazing, but grain is still their main diet and yes the price of grain has gone up. those who use their own ideas and are smart about it will come through the other side without too much trouble. Free Range also attracts a premium price so the cost of the grain is not as critical as a shed grown pig. Adding hay to their diet will help and feeding waste products such as fruit and vegetables is also a good idea. Less use of chemicals or no chemicals at all is a better idea and this helps keep the cost of production down also. Yes There are 4 F's in the priduction of pigs and Free could be added to this line. growing

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