Rydge's Resort at Eaglehawk played host this last week to the 2000 Country Meatworks Convention; a celebration of meat eating, products and companies in the industry, and an attentive forum for guest speaker Lenard Poulter, who discussed what he saw as the future of the industry. The founder of the fresh food retailer Lenard's, which controls more than 200 shops across Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and South Africa, built his success on value-added poultry, beef, pork and lamb. Value-added meat is already prepared for cooking, being spiced or decorated. The meat industry has suffered under the perception that large portions of meat are unhealthy, and Poulter spoke to an attentive audience of butchers, meat producers and processors, about the ways this could be remedied. He believes the main problem is that "brand loyalty barely exists" in meat retailing, and argued the need for "consistency and excellence in branding" which would encourage consumer loyalty and "get your customer to share your passion for your product." Poulter attributes his success in part to his enthusiasm for the trade: "I'm lucky I love what I do. I enjoy it enormously every day I get up."Other producers at the convention believed the answer to rejuvenating the meat industry lay in "developing new directions for animal bile." One company was anxious to acquire every ox gallstone it could because "in today's business environment, all by-products must be assessed for their potential."