Feb 3, 2012
By Debbie Phillips-Donaldson
If you are new to the petfood industry -- or work in another function besides dry petfood production and need to learn much more on that subject -- one of the best ways is by attending the annual Feeds and Petfood Extrusion Short Course at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, USA. The course, just concluding its 22nd edition, offers a nearly week-long immersion into grinding, mixing, extruding, drying, cooling and coating of dry petfoods and feeds, combining classroom sessions by industry experts with live demonstrations on machines designed to do all those petfood production steps.
The short course is part of the Extrusion Technology Program within the Food Protein R&D Center, directed by Mian Riaz, PhD, at Texas A&M. Dr. Riaz is well-connected in the industry and, together with his staff, puts together a first-rate program that attracts participants from around the globe: 15+ countries this year.
Besides diving into the details of all phases of dry petfood production, the course also includes information on ingredients (especially ones that help promote product quality and safety, such as antioxidants), petfood categories and the overall industry. Each year Dr. Riaz invites Petfood Industry to attend and present on the global petfood market, and this year I was fortunate to present there for the third time.
I was impressed with the participants and the organizations they represented -- from industry giants (both manufacturers and suppliers) to smaller, niche companies -- as well as the insightful, spot-on questions they asked of me and other speakers. It made me feel more positive than ever about the state and future of our industry.
I was also encouraged seeing some of the countries represented, including from established petfood markets like the US, Canada and Australia, rapidly rising stars like Brazil and up-and-comers (at least in terms of petfood) like Argentina, Chile and Israel. Their presence validated some interesting data from Euromonitor that I included in my presentation:
It all goes to show that when it comes to petfood, there's truly a world of opportunity out there.
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