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Adventures in Pet Food

Debbie Phillips-Donaldson, editor-in-chief of Petfood Industry, shares her insights and opinions on all things pet food, addressing market trends as well as news and developments in pet nutrition, food safety and other hot topics for the industry.
Pet Food Market Trends / Petfood Forum News
Petfood-Workshop-Family-Feud
Pet Family Feud was one of six stations for Petfood Innovation Workshop, where participants learned numerous data points and insights about consumer perceptions of pet food. l Debbie Phillips-Donaldson

Petfood Forum 2017 by the numbers

April 10, 2017

Petfood Forum 2017 and Petfood Innovation Workshop: Taste of Pet Food’s Future wrapped up last week, April 3-5, in Kansas City, Missouri, USA – a very busy and dynamic three days full of learning, networking and business among pet food professionals from throughout the global industry.

If you weren’t able to attend, or want to catch up on sessions you missed, you can read articles and watch videos about several of the sessions and speakers. For a quick overview, here are highlights broken down by numbers:

  • 6: number of stations at Petfood Innovation Workshop held at Kansas State University-Olathe. Participants were separated into six teams and rotated through the stations, which included games like Pet Family Feud to test people’s knowledge of consumer perceptions about pet food and a palatability mythbusters challenge, plus tests of the senses (smelling for flavors and oxidation, tasting smoke flavors, examining texture and crunch) and new tools for measuring palatability.
  • 43: percentage of US pet owners who say protein quality/content is an important attribute in the dog and cat foods they shop for – the top response for one of the questions in the Pet Family Feud game.
  • 72: percentage of US pet owners who choose better nutrition as the top reason for purchasing natural or organic pet foods. (All the data in the Pet Family Feud came from Packaged Facts’ quarterly consumer surveys, including one conducted in March 2017.)
  • 35: percentage of US pet owners who report buying natural/organic pet food from Walmart, a surprise as the top retail chain for these purchases (just edging out PetSmart at 33 percent).
  • 10: number of years Randi Zuckerberg, the opening keynote for Petfood Forum, worked at Facebook, after her brother Mark talked her into joining the then-fledgling social media company to help with marketing. (She initially told him she’d work there for six months.)
  • 77: percent that US millennials are more likely than other generations to own a pet without being married or having (human) children, according to Maria Lange of GfK, presenting on what’s next for pet food in the US pet specialty channel.
  • 35: percentage of US millennials that now own pets (up from 20 percent in 2007).
  • 40: percentage increase in the price per pound of pet food sold in US pet specialty from 2011 (US$1.71) to 2016 (US$2.40).
  • 8: billions of US dollars of pet food sold in US pet shops and pet chains in 2016, representing about 25 percent of total US pet food sales.
  • 35,000+: number of needy pets served annually by Great Plains SPCA, a Kansas City-based humane organization and one of three pet nonprofits that visited Petfood Forum 2017. The other two were Pet Peace of Mind, which trains and supplies hospice workers, free of charge, to care for their patients’ pets, and Canine Companions for Independence, which provides highly trained assistance dogs free of charge, plus ongoing support, to people with disabilities.
  • 65: percentage of consumers who consider safety first when buying a product, according to Chris Mondzelewski, general manager of pet specialty for Mars Petcare North America. (Interestingly, product safety did not register among the top five concerns in the Packaged Facts pet food survey questions presented as part of Pet Family Feud.)
  • 37: rating of a company CEO on the Edelman Trust Barometer, presented by Mondzelewski as how consumers rate certain individuals as extremely or very credible. (Government official ranks even lower, at 29).
  • 60: rating of “a person like you” – in other words, a fellow consumer with similar likes and needs, tied with academic and technical experts for credibility and trust.
  • 40: number of years that fear has been known in neuroscience as a valid scientific concept, according to Temple Grandin, PhD, closing keynote for Petfood Forum 2017. She addressed the reality of fear in animals, along with other animal behavior insights.
  • 2,700+: number of total participants in Petfood Forum 2017 (up 69 percent since 2014, the last time the show was held in the Chicago area).
  • 30+: number of countries represented by Petfood Forum participants.
  • 412: number of exhibit booths, representing 273 companies
  • 68: number of new exhibitors to Petfood Forum.
  • 23-25: dates in April 2018 for Petfood Forum and Petfood Innovation Workshop 2018, which will again be held in Kansas City.

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dphillips@wattglobal.com

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