["That proves the strength of the market even while some countries, regions and other industries are still struggling economically.", "It is happening in conjunction with Victam International, where you can visit with key suppliers of petfood ingredients, equipment and other materials."]

In 2010, the global petfood market grew 9% over 2009 sales, reaching a total of US$61.9 billion, according to Euromonitor International. That proves the strength of the market even while some countries, regions and other industries are still struggling economically.

This continued growth arises from the innovation in the petfood industry and the expertise of its professionals. You can tap into that by attending Petfood Forum Europe on May 4 at the Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany. It is happening in conjunction with Victam International, where you can visit with key suppliers of petfood ingredients, equipment and other materials (www.victam.com). Plus, Petfood Forum Europe offers plenty of opportunities to network with familiar colleagues as well as make connections with new industry peers.

Following is the schedule and list of topics and speakers as of press time.

9:00-10:00  Registration and check-in with coffee and light breakfast

10:00-11:00  Consumers and Web 2.0: impact on the global petfood market —Lee Linthicum, head of global food research for Euromonitor International, UK, discusses the relatively recession-proof status of the global pet care industry, thanks largely to the ongoing trend of pet humanization. With the global economy slowly recovering, he provides analysis of the major trends and developments driving pet care sales, including the role of the internet in shaping consumer preferences and spending habits.

11:00-11:40  Open innovation: what is in it for you? —Edwin Grim, general manager for Ralco Nutrition, Netherlands, describes how using the world as your dynamic R&D source accesses virtually unlimited talent and input. The new challenges are in managing that input, filtering and scaling it to your needs. Expanding your network both within and outside your business offers a playing field with rich rewards—and painful pitfalls.

11:40-12:20  Applying polymer science to petfood production —Brian Plattner, processing engineering manager for Wenger Manufacturing, USA (in a paper co-authored by Galen Rokey of Wenger), describes how polymer science, the study of the glass and melt transitions of polymers, has in recent years been applied to many areas of petfood processing—including extrusion and drying troubleshooting and product storage—to better understand and predict processing effects. It can even be applied to ingredient selection, which is often a unique challenge during product development.

12:20-13:45  Lunch buffet 

13:45-14:25  Advances in palatability for dogs —Marie Jane Fallourd, dog platform manager for SPF France, discusses palatability for dogs, which is mainly driven by the petfood’s smell, taste and texture. For dogs, the nature of the palatant used as well as the way to add it to the kibble are important to maximize palatability. All drivers can be looked at when it comes to increasing performance, including the segmentation requirements of the dog food market.

14:25-15:05  Assessing risks when buying raw materials for petfood —Ivo Reekmans, general manager of Radar Automation NV, Belgium, explains how risk management is part of the job for a raw material buyer. Traditionally, the focus in risk management was on quality. In the past few years, changes in commodity trading markets and highly volatile prices have meant an urgent focus on financial risks and availability. General management needs effective, adequate information to assess raw material coverage and position risks.

15:05-15:45  Coffee break 

15:45-16:25  New frontiers in nutrition for pet health: the role of nutrigenomics —Peter Spring, PhD, professor of monogastrics and head of the Animal Science Department at the Swiss College of Agriculture, provides an overview of nutrigenomics, the study of the effects of nutrition on gene expression, which helps us understand nutrition at a more profound level. Such complete knowledge enhances the potential to transfer gained information from one species to another. This is of particular interest in pet nutrition, where research approaches are often limited by ethical reasons and high animal welfare standards. Dr. Spring focuses on novel information on nutrition, antioxidant protection and digestive system health.

16:25-17:05  Energy recovery and odor reduction in petfood production —Tjitze Smit, petfood division manager for Graintec A/S, Denmark, presents the average energy consumption for extruded petfood manufacturing, as well as ways to save energy. One solution is through condensation and recirculation of the air. Several models are suitable for different types of plants. In addition, because of new EU directives, odor impact has taken on a heightened focus. It is important to analyze and quantify the odor problem, then implement suitable solutions.

More information
Find more information about Petfood Forum Europe, including how to register and find a hotel.