The organic boom is now entering its second generation of double-digit growth. - Tim Phillips

"The tipping point is that magic moment when a trend crosses a threshold and spreads like wildfire," explains Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point.

Frain, a supplier of pre-owned equipment, thinks several trends in petfood manufacturing are at their tipping points. They include escalating pressure to:

  • Reduce operating costs;
  • Reduce capital budgets; and
  • Reduce time to commercialization.

Petfood producers will begin sourcing their processing and packaging equipment needs in different ways to accomplish their production goals, believes Frain. Contract packagers and used equipment companies stand to gain substantially as companies seek to lower costs, get to market faster and use capital budgets to back proven market winners.

Human foodtipping points

It is no secret that petfood trends, especially in the past decade, have closely paralleled human food trends. Food Processing magazine recently published six essential trends in human foods.

1. Organic. The magazine scored organic as the biggest and most significant trend for processors to watch. The organic boom is now entering its second generation of double-digit growth, says Food Processing, and is on another big upswing.

2. Health and wellness. The health and wellness category has a larger footprint than organic, contends Food Processing. Any food product can be formulated as organic, but not all products can be called healthy.

3. Age awareness. This trend overlaps with the health and wellness trend, especially for the aging US population. However, there are numerous nonhealth aspects for processors to consider as they help 77 million baby boomers move into old age.

4. Portion control. In some ways, portion control is a health tool. However, notes Food Processing, this year it deserves its own category because it is a merging of health with the recurrent trend for more convenience.

5. Globalization . Asian, Hispanic, African American and other ethnic minorities will make up more than 35% of the US population in five years. More traffic between cultures and instant global information mean rapid dispersal of once regional preferences.

6. Kosher and halal certification. Both areas are experiencing prolific growth rates. Kosher is still progressing at double-digit rates, and halal (Islamic permissible) is in a sudden, major growth spurt.

Positive developments

The World Market for Pet Food and Pet Care Products , a recent report by Euromonitor International, cites several developments that bode well for the global petfood market. These include the "humanization" of pets, product and packaging innovations, improvements in distribution, rising pet levels in emerging markets. rising consumption levels of industrially prepared petfood in developing markets and consumers trading up to premium and superpremium products.

The worldwide petfood market is set to continue to grow strongly in emerging and mature markets.

Embrace change

Change is inevitable, growth is optional. Change energizes some organizations and paralyzes others. Successful organizations are marked by the ability to embrace change rather than ignore it or react to it, says business consultant Ira Blumenthal. In the words of Ben Franklin, "When you're finished changing, you're finished."