Despite the similar names, attending both upcoming workshops could benefit pet treat and pet food industry professionals.

On August 8, the IGP Institute at Kansas State University will conduct the Pet Food Workshop. This workshop occurs the day before the Extrusion Processing: Technology and Commercialization short course starts.

A month later, the Petfood Innovation Workshop and K-State Pet Food Experience will take place from September 13 to 15.

“Come in August, learn the fundamentals, so that when you come in September you’re really tooled-up to understand how to use advanced technology,” said Petfood Industry columnist Greg Aldrich, PhD, who is involved with both workshops. Aldrich is an associate professor at Kansas State University and president of Pet Food and Ingredient Technology Inc.

While the first workshop will lay the groundwork of understanding pet food and treat manufacturing, the Petfood Innovation Workshop and K-State Pet Food Experience will explore techniques for making high-impact products, especially by using novel protein sources and functional ingredients.

IGP Pet Food Workshop, August 8

The IGP workshop could be thought of as the introduction to pet food and nutrition class, said Aldrich.

This one-day workshop will provide an overview of pet food formulation, nutrition, trends, product safety and micro-ingredients. Participants will use computer software to simulate pet food formulation recipes. Participants will use formulation software like that used in the industry to design their own pet foods or treats.

IGP’s workshop would be ideal for people who are new in the industry or new to jobs in formulation and extrusion, said Aldrich. Special session topics will include cat food sensory evaluation and pet treats.

Extrusion Processing: Technology and Commercialization, August 9-12

This short course will follow IGP’s workshop. The extrusion short course will examine the basics of extrusion, operations, trouble-shooting, drying, die design and ingredients.

Attendees also will get hands-on experience with single and twin-screw extruders “tweaking knobs and punching buttons” to make pet treats and human food, said Sajid Alavi, PhD, course coordinator and professor of grain science and industry at Kansas State University. The course includes a tour of a working extrusion plant with taste samplings of extruded human foods, such as non-fish fillets made from textured vegetable protein.

Petfood Innovation Workshop and K-State Pet Food Experience, September 13-15

This workshop involves a hands-on learning opportunity focused on the creation of next generation pet food and pet treats using meats and novel proteins.

Throughout the day, participants will use professional-grade equipment to mix products. They’ll be getting their hands dirty in sticky vats of meat, said Aldrich.

“We’re trying to getting this personal, upfront, tactical experience,” said Aldrich. “This is not theory, this is application.”

A full day will feature the Kansas State Pet Food Program team showcasing their latest research on a variety of pet food related topics.

“It’s not that it is going to be over everybody’s heads, it’s not,” said Aldrich. “Just the opposite, what we’ve got is experts sharing their information at an understandable level.”

Although the material will be in-depth, newcomers to the pet food industry won’t be left behind at the September workshop, said Aldrich. Start-ups and entrepreneurs can explore a product idea using professional equipment, network with their peers and meet manufacturers.