am not a Luddite. Admittedly, though, I do tend to keep using my electronic
gadgetry for periods well beyond their optimal utility. Thus, it was a rare and
auspicious occasion when I recently retired my 12-year-old cell phone in favor
of both a new smart phone and a new tablet computer (I won’t divulge the brand
name of these items, but it rhymes with “Snapple”). With that update in
equipment I quickly became exposed to the wonderful world of Apps (short for
applications) and became particularly interested in those related to petfoods.
coincidence, the free iPad and iPhone Apps for Petfood Industry were made available almost to the day I purchased
my new gadgets, so they were the first downloaded. As I understand it, there is
also a Petfood Industry Mobile Web
Reader compatible with other brands of equipment. The applications provide the
reader with full issues of Petfood
Industry (starting with October 2010) along with more frequently updated
news bites and new product information.
note that I tend to be a traditionalist when it comes to my preference in
reading materials—i.e., I enjoy the more tangible qualities of something
printed on paper rather than on an electronic screen. However, I found the
application for the tablet to be easy to navigate and very readable. In fact, I
personally found it much better for me to use compared to the web-based version
of the magazine. Admitted advantages of the App format over physical copies
include the ability to:
the smart phone version of the App was less useful. At least for me, there are
definite limitations in navigation and readability due to the small screen
size. Still, while my first preference would be for the tablet App, it’s good
to know I can also access Petfood
Industry on my smart phone if needed.
could find a few petfood company-sponsored Apps, but those I located dealt with
pet-related issues rather than petfoods per
se. For example, two major manufacturers offer Apps that help consumers
find pet-friendly hotels, off-leash dog parks and other pet-related places or
services. Another company is reportedly sponsoring a game wherein it will
donate food to shelters as you play, though I was unable to download it.
my search was far from exhaustive, I have yet to find an App in which a petfood
company provides information on its products, which is disappointing. As opined
in a Petfood Industry editorial a few
as of yet manufacturers do not appear to have taken advantage of the App
phenomenon to increase awareness about their brands or to provide nutritional
the other hand, there are number of independent Apps that provide information
on feeding dogs and cats. These include at least three that, in part, help
consumers and/or veterinarians calculate daily caloric requirements for
individual animals based on weight, lifestage and other factors. Another App
gives health ratings for a large number of human food and petfood ingredients. There
are a few more Apps that offer advice on commercial petfoods and feeding in
general, but in my cursory review I found them lacking in scientific accuracy
(some much worse than others).
far as regulatory-related Apps, I downloaded both Titles 21 and 9 of the Code
of Federal Regulations. Thus, I now have easy accessibility to both Food and
Drug Administration and US Department of Agriculture regulations in compact
form. I also bought the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act and associated FDA
laws (21 USC). The search function on these Apps works much better than on the
government’s own websites for these documents. If needed, I can effortlessly
clip and e-mail a pertinent regulation or law to a client.
I would really, really like to see is the Association of American Feed Control
Officials Official Publication in App
form. Although I have used the publication for decades and have become very
familiar with its contents, even I occasionally have trouble finding what I
need. Notwithstanding the book’s table of contents and index, an electronic
search function would greatly increase its usability. Priced accordingly, an App
would appear to have high potential as a revenue-generating opportunity for
Table 1. Petfood-related Apps
number of Apps are available for the iPhone and iPad that offer information
about petfood, though most Apps from petfood manufacturers are about pet
services rather than the companies’ products.
more columns by Dr. Dzanis online.
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Dr. Dzanis - thanks for the informative article. I agree with you - more and more consumers are using smart phones/tablets to research. It would be great if Mars/P&G etc. would develop an app about their pet foods. My wife and I would use it when making purchasing decisions for sure.
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