To meet consumer demands, researchers and the meat sector must work together.

Amsterdam, December 1st, 2011

 Maria Angels Oliver, researcher at IRTA:

At the international conference ‘Boars heading for 2018’ on December 1st, 2011, researcher Maria Angels Oliver emphasized two important influencing factors to end castration of male piglets in the EU in 2018. There is an urgent need to focus on market acceptance and on satisfying consumer demands, stated Angels Oliver. The IRTA researcher showed the results of research already been executed and showed the way to necessary new research to take the next steps.

In her presentation at the international conference ‘Boars heading for 2018’ in Amsterdam, December 1st, 2011, Maria Angels Oliver gave an overview of all the research that has been done so far. Surveys were done on the attitudes of stakeholders inside the production chain. Research projects are running on feeding, breeding and management at the pig farm. Various studies were done to detect the incidence of tainted carcasses. New methods for on-line detection of boar taint were developed, i.e. the electrochemical biosensor and the human nose. ,,We know much more now and many results surprised us,” Angels Oliver said.

Within the pork production chain we have to inform each other about these results and we must learn from each other experiences.”

According to Angels Oliver, the main, and most challenging research lies now in the area of market acceptance and consumer demands.  ,,Buying decisions are based on knowledge but also very strong on emotions. Behaviour, thinking and acting can be very different. Boar taint can influence consumer decisions negative. We have to find out what the key drivers are at consumer level.”

,,We definitely will be able to find solutions for pig farming issues like breeding, feeding and management.  Just as we can find out what the key drivers for consumers are. But,” Angels Oliver emphasized, ,,to reach the goal to end castration in 2018, researchers must  work closely together with all stakeholders in the pork supply chain to create market and consumer acceptance.”

About Maria Angels Oliver

Dr. Maria Angels Oliver is head of the IRTA Product Quality Department at the University in Barcelona, Spain. She is an international leader in the field of boar taint studies and meat quality. Her main research area is the quality of meat, from a technological, nutritional and sensorial (boar taint- consumer studies) point of view, including its relationship with genetics and sustainability.  She has participated  in International projects (Cooperation research projects with Uruguay), FP5, FP6 and FP7 (Young train, PIGCAS, SABRE, ALCASDE, Quality pork-chains), as well as in Interregional cooperation (OTRAC). She has been working extensively in research projects with the European pork sector.