Special Edition – EDA Annual Convention 2023

The Future is Dairy

Our EDA Annual Convention last week gathered over 150 dairy executives and experts in Brussels. Together with the Belgian dairy industry association BCZ-CBL, as well as ASSIFONTE, we convened in Brussels, at the heart of Europe, for an engaging discussion and collaborative effort towards shaping the future of our European lactosphère. Under the motto ‘The Future is Dairy,’ we demonstrated that Europe is the global dairy superpower in all facets: milk and dairy products offer a unique blend of essential macro- and micronutrients, playing a vital role in supporting a healthy diet across all life stages.

Moreover, they embody exceptional culinary pleasures and carry a profound cultural legacy. In rural Europe, milk and dairy stand as pillars, making substantial contributions to our economic prowess within the Union and on the global scale. Our dedication to sustainable production and processing sets a benchmark recognized worldwide “As the echoes of insightful discussions and shared knowledge settle, we take this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude to all those who contributed to the success of our EDA Annual Convention 2023. This gathering of industry leaders, Members of the European Parliament, and science pioneers in sustainable dairy served as a powerful platform, showcasing the strength of our industry.

‘We believe ‘the future is dairy’. Dairy products are tasteful, naturally nutrient rich basic products that contribute to healthy and sustainable diets. Not only are they part of our history and cultural heritage, they are also of great importance for our future’ stated Catherine Pycke, President of BCZ-CBL.

A look at the coming EU Belgian presidency 2024

The EDA Annual Convention 2023 kicked off with the Belgian Deputy Prime Minister, in charge of agriculture, Mr. David Clarinval, as the keynote speaker. He shared valuable insights into the Belgian EU Presidency 2024 priorities and underlined the importance of dairy and agriculture for Belgium and for Europe.

The dairy sector has already made significant efforts towards sustainability by minimizing waste and reducing water usage in milk production David Clarinval Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium

BCZ-CBL President Catherine Pycke and ASSIFONTE President Dieter Kuijl

Europe — the Global Dairy Superpower

The European Union’s dairy industry ranks as the second-largest agricultural sector within the EU, constituting over 12% of the total agricultural production. Europe not only caters to its own dairy needs but also stands as a significant exporter of dairy products. It’s undeniable that Europe wields immense dairy influence on a global scale. The theme for the first session, “Europe – the Global Dairy Superpower,” underlined the alignment of our global impact with our responsibilities at economic, social, and environmental levels.

Participating in our panel were CEOs from leading European dairies, each boasting extensive experience in the global business arena: The COO of Arla Foods, Peter Giørtz-Carlsen; COO of Groupe Lactalis, Thierry Clément; Jan Derck van Karnebeek, CEO of FrieslandCampina; Louis Ska, CEO of Solarec; and Charles Brand, Executive Vice-President of Tetra Pak. The session was brilliantly moderated by Rose O’Donovan, editor of Agra Facts & Agra Focus, the leading magazine in Brussels on agriculture.

In the coming years, the mounting global dairy demand is expected to underpin the global dairy markets. The critical pillars for the future of our sector rest on resilience and sustainability. Achieving these goals involves harnessing innovation to address the essential need for young farmers to join the business, fulfil consumer expectations for accessible and top quality dairy products, and meet environmental and animal health standards in Europe and worldwide.

Shaping the Future of EU Agriculture & Dairy 2024-2029

The second session was dedicated to discussing the coming legislative term with prominent Members of the European Parliament. The session was moderated by Alexander Anton, secretary general of EDA, and included Norbert Lins (EPP, DE), Chair of the Agri Committee, along with coordinators from the political groups in the Parliament: Paolo De Castro (S&D, IT), Martin Hlaváček (Renew, CZ), and Bert-Jan Ruissen (ECR, NL). They all presented their strategic ideas for the next legislative term. The presence of these influential Members underscored the significant attention EU lawmakers are giving to European dairy.

Dairy Sustainability at work

The final session focused on sustainability. Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Windisch (TU Munich) and Prof. Dr. Leo den Hartog (Wageningen University) provided important insights on how to strengthen environmental sustainability in the dairy industry. The session was thoughtfully presented and moderated by Sanne Dekker, Manager in Public Affairs at FrieslandCampina. It perfectly showcased how dairies across our Union engage with farmers, science, and innovation to achieve our environmental objectives and highlighted the vital role of ruminating animals in agriculture and food production.

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