For the first time, the BIOMIN World Nutrition Forum was held outside of Austria.
Singapore, where "East meets West", had been chosen as the ideal location for such a truly international event.
The welcome at 200 meters in the sky
Stretching longer than the Eiffel tower laid down or four-and-a-half A380 jumbo jets, the Sands Sky Park boasts an impressive 12,400 square meters of space. This was the magnificent location of the 2012 World Nutrition Forum Welcome Reception, where over 700 visitors had feasted their eyes on the unforgettable panoramic view of Singapore while Erich Erber, Chairman and Founder of BIOMIN, officially opened this year's event, welcoming delegates from more than 70 countries from around the globe.
Erich Erber: "The cheap times are over!"
Erich Erber's keynote kickstarted the first session of the scientific program on the next day. His theme for the WNF 2012 was expressed by the formula: "e + f = g²" - where "e" stands for economy, "f" for generation F and "g" for geopolitical change. He started talking about the "age of affluence" marked by a continuous growth based on cheap resources and the "Green Revolution" which kept food costs low and sufficient for the world population growth. The turning point, however, came in 1999. Then, the world awoke from a period of slumber where things had become "too easy". Erber referred to this period as "the age of scarcity". Prices went up while resource availability went in the opposite direction. Asia and China in particular were all of a sudden not cheap anymore and the East moved into the position where, in recent years, it has had to bailout the West.
"In the absence of cheap energy, cheap labor and cheap commodities, we must learn to manage the shortages that lie ahead. Stronger integration with better supply chain management and a greater focus on productivity within the industry and on customers will provide some answers to the challenges ahead." said Erich Erber.
Another key point he mentioned was the shift from generation X and Y to generation "F" (from Facebook) and how this will change the way we communicate and consume.
With "e" representing the management of resource shortages plus "f" for managing the new generations of consumers, Erber added this equation up to "g", which represents geopolitical change. The heavily indebted "West" would be unable to maneuver itself out of the current crisis other than by heavily devaluating its currencies and increasing inflation. China would soon have more millionaires (now already ranked No. 3 on a worldwide survey) than any other nation. Asia would be able to buy technologies and goods from ailing Western nations with its strong population growth and appreciating currencies.
Erber concluded by saying that despite all of these challenges, we will be able to manage the future if we would only allow innovation and new technologies to optimize the use of resources and improve lives. The World Nutrition Forum once again provides a great platform for moving a step closer towards this goal.
In search of a New Global Model
International best-selling author, John Naisbitt, and the Director of the Naisbitt China Institute in Tianjin, Doris Naisbitt, followed with their keynote speech on Day One of the 5th World Nutrition Forum.
They focused on an analysis of China's key economic, cultural and political transformations and how these impact on the global business landscape.
People – Performance – Profit – Planet
The World Nutrition Forum is recognized as a valuable scientific event and this would not have been possible without the high profile speakers that opened the floor to many challenging discussions under the theme "NutriEconomics® - Balancing Global Nutrition & Productivity as People, Performance, Profit, Planet".
Species-specific breakout sessions, featuring poultry, pig, ruminant and aquaculture experts from industry and academia, were a good opportunity to discuss the fundamentals of livestock production and the drivers behind. The conclusions and main ideas of the four sessions were brought back into the plenary by Mike Eder (CEO of BIOMIN Americas) and the four session chairs Randolph D. Mitchell, Barton S. Borg, Patrick Sorgeloos and Paul Vriesekoop.
Followed by an impressive panel of internationally renowned industry experts and academics the second day addressed the issue mycotoxins and their impact on livestock production.
The scientific part of the congress concluded with the issue of the environment, which will continue to influence the role of animal nutrition in achieving sustainable yet profitable farming.
Franz Waxenecker and Roger Campbell tackled the twin objectives of quality nutrition and economic viability, while Frank Mitloehner addressed the impact of livestock production on climate change and depicted some misconceptions.
B.R.A.I.N. Award winner
Research and development is one of the cornerstones of BIOMIN. Strong in-house research teams work together with leading institutions and organizations to form the foundations by which innovative solutions are developed for the industry. One of these successful cooperations was awarded during this year's World Nutrition Forum. David J. Caldwell, professor in the Department of Poultry Science at the Texas A&M University received the BRAIN award for his studies on probiotics and mycotoxin deactivators in poultry.
Celebration of diversity and internationality
Singapore is a mosaic of contrasting cultures with four major races living in harmony – Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian. The theme of the first conference dinner reflected this and was a great opportunity for participants to form their first impressions on how cultural diversity can unleash its charm in this cosmopolitan city. Old traditions had been brought back to life, giving delegates from all over the world the chance for a unique encounter.
The second and last day of the World Nutrition Forum 2012 concluded with the traditional gala dinner highlighting internationality as the theme of the evening. Reason for this was not only the diversity of participants but also BIOMINs great development throughout the last (almost) 30 years, from a small local business to a major global player.