These days, petfood product development follows human food trends by only "half a step," according to David Sprinkle, publisher and research director for Packaged Facts, who spoke at Petfood Forum 2013. He referred to a regular report from his company, Culinary Trends Mapping, that covers restaurant trends in addition to product ones and said large petfood manufacturers often buy it.
They're smart. But, not all companies have the budgets to purchase those types of reports. If that's the case for you and you happen to be in Chicago July 13â€“16, I encourage you to consider attending the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting and Food Expo
. Besides a few sessions on petfood (this year focusing on product development and ingredient innovation), the meeting offers many examples of human food trends and products that can provide insights for petfood.
The expo typically includes many ingredient companies that also supply the petfood industry. (Bonus: Most booths offer tastes and samples of their products, so you don't even have to buy lunch!)
The human food-petfood alignment also comes through in the April issue of IFT's Food Technology magazine with an article by A. Elizabeth Sloan, contributing editor, on the top 10 US food trends for 2013. While some obviously don't apply to our industry, a few might reinforce that many petfood manufacturers are on the right track:
Redefining health —Sloan cited data from Technomic (2012) showing that 90% of US consumers believe fresh foods are healthier and link healthy foods to phrases ...