Hochwald ponders the future at forum

Forecasts are always associated with imponderables, but strategic engagement with future issues has become a good and productive tradition for farmers and members of the Hochwald Milch dairy, which for the fifth time participated in the Hochwald Zukunftsforum (future forum). This year it focused on the relationship or the intersections of market, society and agriculture.

The first subject was that market research has shown a decline in meals eaten at home. Out-of-home consumption has increased significantly over the last 15 years, with corresponding changes in private demand in food retailing. But there is a ‘but’ in modern research, as figures of GfK confirm the continuing gap between the opinions and attitudes of consumers expressed in surveys and the concrete demand in trade. Price continues to reign on the refrigerated shelf.

After looking at the German consumer market, the outlook on exports followed. For the first time since 2013, the summer of 2019 saw a slight decline in global milk production, it was noted. Important figures, considering that 49% of German milk is exported. But German milk can achieve success in international competition. The reason is high quality of the raw milk and high quality of the processing.

The participants were told that farm public relations is becoming a crucial key to the success of the agricultural sector. Confidence in agriculture is still very high, as evidenced by surveys on trusted professions. But this trust must be consolidated through positive, active communication. The milk industry should have a tremendous communicative tailwind, if at least 15-20% of the farms actively communicate.

Positive stories can be told from the farms, the attendees heard. For example, virtually every dairy cow owner has a 100,000-litre cow in the barn or cows over ten years old. The health of animals has improved in recent decades with increased milk yield. The farmers were encouraged to seek contact with consumers in an active and steady manner, and not just when they get criticised.

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