The October issue of Poultry International is dedicated to our annual look at the World’s Top Poultry Companies, and this year you will see that our report is bigger and better than ever before.

Along with the details of individuals companies, you will also find a market overview along with details of how to use the online Top Companies database. This Web-based tool allows users to search by region, country, and company name and is a valuable resource all year round.

Of course, in any global market there will be winners and losers, some markets are performing rather well, while some are struggling. China’s slowdown is continuing, the US is still not out of the woods and Europe’s problems are as diverse as its various languages as a glance through this issue will reveal.

Out there somewhere  

However, there is still business out there, and the companies that are successful are those that are able to act quickly and work cleverly to take the opportunities that do exist. This is important in any climate, but particularly when some economies are in recession or at best stagnant: Nobody gets anywhere by sitting and moaning!

If a customer base is declining, or customers are not purchasing as much as might be desired, there are other potential customers who might be able to help sales grow. Finding out who they might be, what they might want and when, and how best to approach them is crucial. And because you may have dealt with only one type of customer in the past, does not mean that you have to stay in that field - reviewing what you do, and who you do it with, is always worthwhile. Without this, the costs can be surprisingly high. How are competitors performing? How are other industries faring?


Waste not, want not  

Last month, a report was published that looked at the EU common fisheries policy. If found that through fishery “management” across all EU fleets, stocks of cod worth GBP2.7 billion (US$4.4 billion) were discarded in the North Sea, the Channel and Skagerrak between 1963 and 2008. While you might ask what relevance does the European fishing policy have for the global poultry industry, the example illustrates that even the best plans can go badly wrong and result in huge waste. Careful planning followed by regular reviews are essential for any business.

So where should the industry be going? Of course, in such a diverse global market, no one size fits all, but as living standards improve and basics become easier to afford, consumers do tend to gravitate towards what is perceived to be higher quality. Our website is a constant source of insight into how markets are developing and what consumers want. You might like to read "Are quality labels making their mark in the poultry industry?" and "An end in sight for commodity meat?".

Looking back and learning lessons and looking forward are both important, but the focus must be kept firmly on the future and the possibilities that it may hold. Reading the following pages, I hope, will give you some indication of the companies that are successfully applying the principle.