Extremely good but also extremely undervalued. Rabbit meat, thanks to its quality, is one of the healthiest products in the agro-food sector. The main problem is poor knowledge, in terms of nutritional and gastronomy properties alike, among most consumers. And, as if that were not enough, Italy is witnessing a full-scale 'import problem'.
Figures speak for themselves: there is a need for innovation in the sector, starting with the promotion of rabbit meat. 'We slaughter 500,000 head per week. However, about 15% percent of rabbit meat consumed in Italy comes from abroad, with a significant impact on the domestic market,' as Eurocarne Post heard from the AssoAvi Manager (National Poultry and Rabbit Producer Association), Emanuele Rossi. 'Critical issues in the sector, in addition to its seasonal character, include the need to define regulations for imports of foreign products'. Imported rabbit meat, in fact, cost one-third less than home-grown produce, draining income that the sector cannot endure for much longer.
To help support players in this sector and improve public awareness, we are in the process of creating an association bringing together rabbit breeders and producers under a single symbol. The former originally launched the idea, since breeders are the weakest link in the production chain for this type of meat. The objective is to promote the product and attempt to boost sales through a more significant offering on the market.
'This is a truly innovative initiative. The rabbit sector has never seen a campaign of this type before,' Rossi continued. 'The project emerged from the crisis in the sector caused by falling consumption and imported foreign products. The aim is to reverse the trend and improve the situation in coming years'. Ads and discussion programs have been launched with major Italian radio stations with the goal of encouraging consumers to try rabbit meat.
Breeders offer an excellent product that has to be promoted among the general public, while also emphasising the strict controls characterising our sector. 'Rabbit meat is lean, especially ideal for children and rich in potassium. It has a high protein content and as such is the healthiest meat on the market, along with lamb. Lastly, it is one of the most strictly controlled meats and this explains the slightly higher prices than other products,' Rossi concluded. Innovation must focus on the product and its promotion, while equally seeking to stem imports from Spain, France and Hungary.
Source: Eurocarne Outlook