Dr Martin Kropp: Managing innovations in animal nutrition
Interview by Erminia Ciarleglio, DLG
DLG Member Martin Kropp from Switzerland joined the German Agricultural Society in 1996. He is responsible for the Animal Nutrition Business of ADM in Europe, Middle East and Africa and appreciates the DLG with its exhibition EuroTier as a platform for exchange of experiences.
Dr Kropp, you are responsible for ADM's Animal Nutrition business in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Could you please describe your tasks?
ADM is a global leader in human and animal nutrition. In my current role, I manage the operational and financial performance of ADM’s animal nutrition business in the EMEA region. This includes overseeing operations for our ingredients, complete feed and nutritional services for the region’s major livestock species. I also work closely with our new global president of Pet Solutions to deliver innovative nutrition products to EMEA customers. I have been with ADM for more than 25 years, and hold a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Justus Liebig University, Giessen.
Locally and around the world, ADM’s international teams apply knowledge gained through research and from customers to develop innovative nutrition products and solutions that are transforming the animal nutrition industry. For example, our state-of-the-art laboratory in Rolle, Switzerland, aims to address some of the main challenges of animal production with sustainability at the forefront. In Valencia, Spain, our Health & Wellness facility is devoted to expanding our understanding of the gut microbiome to support both human and animal nutrition objectives. In the EMEA region, we have 18 factories and employ 1850 members of staff.
What are the challenges in animal nutrition, food safety and what would be the responsible use of resources?
In EMEA and globally, sustainability is a pressing issue, especially because activities in the agriculture sector can generate a significant carbon footprint. Our industry strives to make livestock production more environmentally friendly by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, conserving water, finding local alternatives to imported raw materials, exploring the carbon credit market and more.
What is your business’s secret recipe ? How to meet market expectations?
At ADM, we focus on precise and responsible animal feeding with an emphasis on innovative solutions that support human and animal nutrition in an efficient, environmentally friendly manner. We have a global network of experts and R&D centers, vast experience in delivering animal nutrition solutions and services, and access to consumer insights so we can predict where the market is headed and give our customers an edge.
Our science-based animal nutrition solutions optimize productivity to help meet consumer demand for improved nutrition and quality. For instance, we support livestock producers in reducing use of antibiotics as growth promoters to produce consumer-preferred poultry, eggs, pork, beef and dairy products. We provide feed additives and ingredients that promote animal health and welfare without medication, such as organic acids, amino acids and organic trace minerals. Furthermore, by optimizing animal efficiency we are minimizing environmental impact and ensuring responsible use of natural resources. ADM is currently conducting a thorough life cycle analysis on our animal nutrition products to measure the carbon footprint and energy consumption of each item as well as calculate the potential cost-savings for producers.
How does the pet food market vary in different countries?
While the pet food market varies among regions, ADM’s broad footprint has the advantage of expanded manufacturing and formulation expertise to help meet today’s evolving pet nutrition demands. Our pet resources and solutions are well-established in North America and Latin America, and with the creation of our international Pet Solutions business unit, we’re currently focused on expanding our capabilities into Europe and other regions. We’re tracking shifts in consumer behaviors, such as the desire for premiumization that coincides with the humanization of pets trend. Pets are increasingly treated as family members and many owners are transposing their purchasing values and preferences onto their furry companions. For example, research indicates a 41% increase in pet foods using natural ingredients launched globally (Mintel, The Future of Pet Food 2021 report).
You are a member of DLG for 25 years now. How can you benefit? Do you come to Germany to visit our trade fairs?
I am proud to maintain my DLG membership, as they offer an excellent platform for exchanging experiences, specifically on science and agricultural practices. I also regularly attend Euro Tier in Germany.