Slagerij toonbank

Challenges for the meat industry: effectiveness of launching innovations 

Why this project?

The meat sector has been confronted with some very big challenges in recent years, both socially (such as animal welfare, health, environmental impact, etc.) and economically. The entire chain has made great efforts in the past few years to find innovative solutions to these challenges. For example, there have been innovations in sustainability, product reformulation, animal welfare, health, etc. 
However, companies are finding it difficult to bring these efforts and innovations to the consumer in a reliable way. There is currently a huge overload of information that causes confusion and misinformation. The consumer has difficulty separating science-based information from other information. The companies are looking for support and tested tools and knowledge that will increase the effectiveness of launching innovations.

Research approach and results

Meat the Challenge was a collective research, development and dissemination project (COOCK type) with the aim of gaining more knowledge about the effectiveness of communication strategies for innovations.

This was reduced by:

  • Conduct research into the thoughts of consumers and set up communication strategies around specific topics and the role of meat in this regard, based on 5 business cases:
    • As a meat producer, how can I best market a vegetarian product?
    • As a meat producer, how can I best counter prejudices/information with my innovative meat product?
    • As a meat producer, how do I best communicate about my local innovative meat products and how should I adapt my message for a dual target audience?
    • What role does consumer ethnocentrism play in this?
    • As a meat producer, how do I successfully communicate the innovative story behind my product to young people? Is storytelling an option?
    • As a meat producer, how do I communicate about innovative products made in Belgium? Are certain labels a possible aid in this?
    • Converting the general information into presentations at workshops for the broad target group so that these lessons could be put to work immediately. In addition, interesting communication experts were invited to share their knowledge. These presentations were recorded and can also be purchased and viewed after the project (more information below).
  • The 'Meat Advisory Panel' is headed by Prof. Frederic Leroy. The role of this 'Meat Advisory Panel' is:
    • Bringing together knowledge relevant to the meat sector (knowledge institutions, communications world, experts in the field of nutrition and sustainability). The collected knowledge is 'translated' so that everyone from the business world can get started and can be shared online (
  • The experts on the meat advisory panel come from both home and abroad, so that the information is presented in a broader and international context.

Access to results

The project has ended in September 2021, but the recordings of the workshops in which the results of the business cases were shown, supplemented with information from communication experts, can be ordered as a webinar on demand. For more information and/or to place an order, please contact the project manager.

Target group

This project was geared towards the entire meat sector, throughout the entire chain, from producer, slaughterhouse, butcher, processor to seller. 

The ‘Meat advisory panel’ will provide correct, science-based and validated information as well as put information that appears in the media into context where needed. They will also help put the efforts made by the meat-processing industry to find solutions for social problems into context. The information can be consulted by meat companies, related businesses, federations and other institutes and used to support their communications. The generic knowledge from the cases, regarding the impact of different manners of communicating and the real consumer concerns will be integrated into practical workshops. The tools that are developed will allow companies to set up their communication strategies, adapted to the specific message, to bring their innovations (new products or innovative product processes) successfully on the market. Lastly, Flanders’ FOOD will also have access to an advice network to assist companies with their communication strategy.  

Project partners

Flanders’ FOOD managed and coordinated the project.  
The following research institutes and partners are responsible for the execution

  • Research group ‘Media, ICT and Interpersonal relations in Organisations and Society (MIOS)’ from the University of Antwerp, under the supervision of Prof. Charlotte De Backer.
  • Fenavian, under the supervision of Anneleen Vandewynckel
  • Belgian association of meat science and technology (Bamst), under the supervision of Prof. Frédéric Leroy
Flanders' FOOD logo
Universiteit Antwerpen
Logo Fenavian
BAMST logo


In the future, the 'meat advisory panel' will publish infographics on various topics online ( The information on this website will be kept up to date with new scientific insights under the supervision of Prof. dr. Frederic Leroy.


Kevin Winnen
innovation manager