INTERVIEW ▶▶▶ Markus Dedl

“Phytogenics offer us a powerful story”

Two years after the first groundbreaking study on product perception and consumer habits of millennials, phytogenic feed additive producer Delacon delved deeper into this important target audience.


elacon’s CEO Markus Dedl: “The new study could lead to radical changes in how our industry promotes its end products.” The poultry industry faces pretty steep demands from today’s consumers when it comes to

animal welfare, production without the use of antibiotics and transparency of production. And every food company follows its own strategy in how to bring their best practices to the attention of the consumer. Many tailor their approach following demand, but only a few really want to understand what drives the con- sumers in the first place. “That is what we wanted to find out two years ago. Consumers have the power to change every aspect of the animal livestock industry. Their concerns, their acceptance of production methods, should be critical in how our customers and we ourselves organise our businesses,” says Delacon’s CEO Mark- us Dedl.

“Millennials really

‘dig’ the concept of phytogenics”.

The first research showed that millennials, key influencers in the field of meat consumption, are really susceptible when it comes to animal wellness, good management practices and natural plant-based feed ingredients. “What works best in the way we promote and label our products was the next big question we

30 ▶ ALL ABOUT FEED | Volume 27, No. 3, 2019

wanted to answer.” Mr Dedl continues: “Our objective in the latest research was to learn more about which messages appeal to the millennial consumer and how phytogenic feed additives can cre- ate value and differentiate a product at retail level.”

Wrong tone of voice The latest survey was conducted online in the United States by Millennium Research on behalf of Delacon in October 2018 among 517 millennial adults ages 26-36. To avoid survey bias, all label testing was conducted prior to exposing the definition: “Phytogenic feed additives are natural ingredients, many as com- mon as those found on a kitchen spice rack, fed to chickens, pigs and other animals. Not only do these ingredients offer proven safety to animals and people, but they also naturally promote ani- mal wellness and environmental sustainability.” One of the most surprising outcomes is that current labelling practices have the wrong tone of voice. Mr Dedl: “Despite the barrage of marketing claims found in most grocery aisles – cage-free, gluten free, no added hormones – consumers are as confused as ever. One in five millennials (20%) are so conflicted about food information they don’t know what to believe.” Meanwhile, industry professionals warn that “free from” labels have been misused as a fearmonger- ing tactic that erodes consumer trust in the entire food business. Mr Dedl on the subject: “If you state on a label that your poultry meat is produced without the use of antibiotics, at the same time you imply that other poultry meat is produced with antibiotics. In that way you dig a ditch for the rest and it will reflect on you as well as being part of the poultry industry.”

Move to positive claims According to Mr Dedl, the way forward is to move to positive claims instead of negative claims. “It’s time to give


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