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Riva del Garda (Tn), Italy
The media are full of a new report by the World Health Organization attacking processed red meat, and meat products such as sausages, for increasing the risk of cancer. To the knowledge of your editor, however, this is nothing new. Anti-red meat lobbies have existed for a long time for a number of reasons and have already caused reduced consumption of red meat.
One thing is for sure, however; this kind of news does definitely not promote the consumption of red meat either and is, therefore, another potential attack on the production of hides and skins for the leather industry.
I contacted a shoe manufacturer in Asia this morning and asked him if this news worried him. He said no as they are already using less leather and, if things come to the worst, they can do without it. He pointed out, as other footwear news also did today by coincidence, that the big trend in footwear is for athletic leisure and athletic casual in which less and less leather is used. This is what most young people under 30 wear all over the world. It is a business ruled by the big, well known brands who market these kinds of shoes.
There are still, of course, leather footwear makers but there are no complaints about a lack of leather from their side, and they have been declining in importance in the 21st century, with all the new innovations and technologies in material development and fast changing fashions.
In conclusion, if we are to eat less red meat and, therefore, produce fewer hides, this will not be a disaster for the shoe industry.
For other purposes, like upholstery and car leather, the hides no longer used in the footwear industry are now available to them. But not all will be suitable quality wise and, for this reason, reduced red meat consumption could still become a problem in those sectors. However, the first impressions shown on TV today when interviewing consumers is that this new report will not keep them away from eating red meat.
As already said, negative stories about eating red meat are not new and those sensitive to such news have probably already done so. They may see this more as a confirmation that they took the right decision at the time.
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