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    Debbie Phillips-Donaldson, editor-in-chief of Petfood Industry, shares her insights and opinions on all things petfood, addressing market trends as well as news and developments in pet nutrition, food safety and other hot topics for the industry.

    Petfood Forum 2014 by the numbers

    Apr 4, 2014 By Debbie Phillips-Donaldson

    The global petfood industry wrapped up another Petfood Forum and Petfood Workshop this week. A lot happened in three days, so perhaps it’s best to sum up the conferences with a list of noteworthy (and somewhat random) numbers:

    • 27-30 – as in April 27-30, the dates for Petfood Forum 2015. It was announced during this year's conference that  Petfood Forum will move to Kansas City next year.
    • 1,600+ – total number of participants in Petfood Forum 2014 (exact number still being tallied).
    • 270 – number of exhibit booths this year.
    • 195 – number of companies exhibiting.
    • 25 – number of new exhibitors.
    • 3 – number of months it took for a book on home cooking of petfood to be released in the wake of the 2007 melamine-related petfood recalls, according to opening keynote Steve Dale.
    • 1 – rank for China as a topic of concern among the many pet owners Dale reaches through his radio shows, columns and blogs.
    • 1.7 million – number of shares a January 2013 post on an activist blog claiming that petfood is killing pets earned. (Dale was making a point about how misinformation – and downright inaccurate and inflammatory information – spreads on the internet.)
    • 76,500+ – pounds of petfood distributed by Tree House Humane Society's petfood pantry to Chicago area pet owners in 2013. Tree House and one of its foster cats visited Petfood Forum after the keynote by Dale, who sits on the organization's board of directors.
    • 11.7 billion – amount, in US dollars, of 2013 petfood sales in the US pet specialty channel, defined by GfK as pet stores (chains as well as independent shops), veterinary clinics and farm and feed stores. Maria Lange, senior product manager with GfK, also spoke at Petfood Forum.
    • 64 – rate of growth in number of grain-free petfood products in the past three years; freeze-dried petfood products have grown 75%, while natural products have increased 26%, Lange said.
    • 24 – percentage of increase in average price per pound of petfood in the US from 2011-2013, according to Lange.
    • 4 – percentage of the trash gathered in San Francisco each year that is comprised of dog and cat poop! This jaw-dropping fact was shared by Andrea Fascetti, VMD, PhD, DACVIM, DACVN, of the University of California-Davis veterinary school, who was one of the panelists for a discussion session on nutritional sustainability. Fascetti commented that fecal waste was another sustainability factor that most people don’t even think of (count me among that group until this week).
    • 57 – percentage of consumers who say product videos make them more likely to buy, according to Andrea Fischetti, managing director of ReelPaws Productions, who spoke about marketing petfood online.
    • 6 – number of years that service dog Benji has enriched his partner's life. Joe Worley, a US Navy corpsman veteran who was injured in Iraq in 2004, received Benji in 2008 from America's VetDogs. Worley and America's VetDogs CEO Wells Jones provided the closing keynote for Petfood Forum.
    • 3, 4, 5 – the rule for ensuring in-store graphics capture the attention of shoppers, according to James Fraser, VP of business development for design agency Hunter Straker and also the opening speaker (with his colleague, Matthew Diamond) for Petfood Workshop: Marketing to Today's Consumers. The rule is three seconds, four paces and five words – the limits for grabbing shoppers' attention.
    • 1.4 billion – amount of annual online sales in the US of pet products, according to David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts and a speaker for both Petfood Forum and Petfood Workshop. During an "ask the experts" panel as part of Workshop, Sprinkle shared that online pet products sales are growing 12% a year.
    • 12 – number of videos from Petfood Forum and Petfood Workshop you can watch on PetfoodIndustry.com (many have been linked to from this blog).

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