On July 16-18, WATT Global Media and the National Chicken Council hosted the 42nd annual Chicken Marketing Summit in Asheville, North Carolina at the Omni Grove Park Inn.

The event commenced with a keynote presentation from Bill Lovette, CEO of Pilgrim’s, which featured insights on sustainability and closing the consumer perception-reality gap. The following educational sessions focused on research surrounding the industry’s hottest topics, such as the “self-expert” millennial consumer’s mindset, the poultry health risks associated with elimination of antibiotics, and an in-depth look at consumers’ chicken consumption patterns. Results from the survey revealed that the primary concern among consumers is food safety, and many have false perceptions about the overall care of chickens.

This year’s agenda included two panel discussions, one being the traditional Chicken Buyer’s Panel, which featured executives from Chick-fil-A, Harris Teeter, Church’s Chicken, Ingles and Blue Apron, and a new Broiler Welfare Panel Discussion. During the Broiler Welfare Panel, the audience had the opportunity to seek advice and gain key perspectives from executives of American Humane Association, Perdue, and Aviagen and former executives from Tyson Foods and McDonald’s, on how to communicate with consumers and buyers on the rapidly growing buzz surrounding broiler welfare.

“The Chicken Marketing Summit has grown substantially over the last two years doubling the number of attendees from just a few years ago,” said Terrence O’Keefe, content director, WATT Global Media. “This event offers a unique combination of education and discussion of trends impacting broiler producers and marketers as well as opportunities to network with chicken buyers.”

Event organizers have reported that a record number of industry professionals were in attendance for the 2017 executive conference, which included representatives from Brinker International, Case Foods, Chick-fil-A, Foster Farms, Harris Teeter, Ingles Markets, Maple Leaf Farms, Mountaire Farms, PDQ, Peco Foods, Perdue, Pilgrim’s, Restaurant Supply Chain Solutions, Sanderson Farms, Simmons, Supply Management Services (SMS), Tyson, Wayne Farms, and Zaxby’s.

The 2018 Chicken Marketing Summit will take place at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, on July 22-24. Details on the 43rd edition of this annual executive conference are expected to be released this fall.