All natural is the wave of the future, according to John Y. Brown, the former governor of Kentucky and co-founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Speaking during the opening session of Alltech’s 28th Annual International Symposium, Brown stated that this trend is going to change the restaurant and food industries, and the way these food industries look at their supply chains.

"This is a new experience for CEOs of restaurant companies to talk about feed, and how it will impact their finished product," said Brown. "Alltech is developing ways to produce food without hormones or antibiotics, and we have a number of companies going into testing and development with this type of product."

Brown also stated that Alltech has conducted independent research that has shown consumers prefer flavor, tenderness and moisture on seasoned grilled chicken using the Alltech system. 

Part of the solution  

Brown said the food industry has to take the lead in these changes. "There are a lot of scares with tainted food; we can't allow the press to dictate our outcome. We have a tremendous obesity problem—how is food industry going to be part of the solution, and not the problem?"

Tim Gannon, founder of Outback Steakhouse, spoke on the impact of beef and chicken on the food industry.

"Our biggest concern as we grow Outback Steakhouse has been the sourcing of commodity items. We are looking at new and innovative ways to get that. Safety is the first issue, then taste and value. Our real threat is supply, and how to get safe beef to customer."

Gannon said that great food comes from great ingredients. "You have to know how your steaks are being fed. You have to understand your ingredients. You have to learn about cattle, and how they are fed. You have to be ready to change quickly and be ahead of the curve to produce the best all-natural product."

The symposium started Sunday evening and will continue through Wednesday with an emphasis on how nutrigenetics and epigenetics will help meet the challenge of feeding the world's growing population.