Don’t question sustainability, says retired McDonald’s exec to poultry industry

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Bob Langert, retired vice president of sustainability, McDonald’s, highlighted the importance of sustainability in the poultry industry in his comments at the Alltech REBELation.

“Consumer expectations are driving the global poultry market, and sustainability is the new norm. Don’t question it. If you do, you will get left behind. Poultry production must provide a purpose in life beyond profit. Sustainability is the answer,” said Langert.

Consumers care where their food comes from, what’s in it and how they feel after consuming it. Poultry producers must focus on quality, safety, assured supply and value with sustainability. The term sustainability may be seen as fuzzy, but it must be taken seriously. To address sustainability, McDonald’s developed Our Journey Together for Good, a program that aims to position them as a modern burger company. “Today we sell the same amount of chicken as we do beef,” added Langert. This program combines both business and social values to position McDonald’s as a leader in sustainability.

“The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef is leading the way for the beef industry. I wish poultry was doing the same,” added Langert. Poultry producers should be forming groups with civil society and nongovernmental organizations to build trust within the industry.

“We need to do more in a proactive way. The poultry industry needs to collaborate and set up a system of measures to show how sustainable the industry can be. It needs to develop principals and standards that are adopted globally,” concluded Langert.

Consumers are calling for more sustainable foods. And, according to Langert, the poultry industry must answer that call to stay relevant.