Business and marketing experts have always known the way to continued growth and success is through innovation. In no industry is that more true than petfood.

Despite the global recession, our industry has continued to grow at least partly because petfood manufacturers keep finding and creating new ingredients, formulations, processes, formats and packaging to make even healthier, more convenient and appealing products.

This is true of the pet industry overall. In 2008, the number of new pet product launches in the US alone hit 1,074, compared with 957 in 2007, according to Packaged Facts (citing Productscan Online from Datamonitor). And that's with the recession officially starting in December 2007 and hitting the US economy hard in September 2008.

In "Get in-depth with the Top 10" , you can see the new product trend continuing for petfood. Data from Mintel show the top 10 companies for new cat and dog food product launches globally for 2009 through October. The total number of new products from these leaders has increased compared with the amount from the top 10 for the same period through 2008: 648 new cat food products for 2009 vs. 625 in 2008 and 615 new dog food products in 2009 vs. 585 in 2008.

Over the last several years, the top 10 companies for new petfood products has included several from rapidly growing regions such as Latin America (Nutriara Alimentos, for example) and Asia (Nisshin Seifun Group). In fact, Asia is the only region where the growth rate in cat and dog food sales is expected to be higher over the next five years than in the previous five ( Table 1 ).

You can find examples of new products ( click here to see them). As you have probably noticed, we're introducing a few changes in the magazine, and that's one: We've expanded this department, combining new retail products (for consumers) with new products from suppliers (for manufacturers). We've also added a larger Industry Calendar ( click here to see it).

In contrast, we've downsized the news section ( click here to see it), because by the time we can get news into a printed magazine, most of it is not so new! But rest assured we will continue to update news online as frequently as possible and deliver it to your inbox several times a month via our e-newsletters (sign up on PetfoodIndustry.com ).

Speaking of online, we will be carrying our changes through to PetfoodIndustry.com this summer with completely new functionality and features, including more blogs and better access to other media such as videos, podcasts and eLearning.

We hope you enjoy Petfood Industry 's new look and, especially, continued success in this new year.

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Comment on this month's issue at Petfood-Connection.com or e-mail editor@wattnet.net .