Pet food sales in Mexico increased 13.7 percent in 2015 to MXN42.6 billion (US$2.28 billion), making Mexico among the top 10 pet care markets globally. To meet the needs of that booming market, representatives from Petfood Industry magazine have announced a new addition to the Petfood Forum portfolio of events.

The Petfood Technology Workshop Mexico will take place December 5 – 6, 2016, at the University of Baja California in Mexico.

This workshop involves a hands-on learning opportunity focused on the creation of next generation, premium pet food and pet treats. Throughout the day, participants will use professional-grade equipment to formulate, mix and manufacture products. At the same time, participants will build business networks with representatives from the manufacturers of that equipment, such as Extru-Tech, Schenk Process and Kemin.

“We’re trying to getting this personal, upfront, tactical experience,” said Greg Aldrich, associate professor at Kansas State University and president of Pet Food and Ingredient Technology Inc., who is involved with the workshop. “This is not theory, this is application.”

Steps in pet food manufacturing at workshop

Participants will experience raw ingredient preparation, mechanical and dense phase conveyance, preconditioning, extrusion, drying, coating and packaging.

Leading suppliers in the pet food manufacturing industry will open their equipment to teach critical technology involved in modern pet food production. Specific aspects of each process will be isolated into individual participant kits for a tactile reinforcement of the principals involved in pet food production.

“There is a demand in the industry to continually keep up with consumer demands, which currently are trending toward pet food with a high protein and fresh meat inclusion in the ingredients, particularly in the premium category in the Latin American market,” said Debbie Phillips Donaldson, editor-in-chief of Petfood Industry. “This means there is a need for continued education in order for industry professionals to understand what they need to do to update their equipment and operating techniques.”

Additional details and registration information for the Petfood Technology Workshop Mexico will be available in September, please check for updates.

Pet food premiumization in Mexican market

Until recently in Mexico, most dogs and cats were considered objects for guarding the house, finding drugs, catching mice and other tasks, Román Delgado public relations manager of Mars Petcare Mexico said in his opening address to Foro México sobre Alimento para Mascotas Internacional (International Mexican Pet Food Forum). Within the past decade, dogs and cats increasingly have come to be thought of as members of the family in many households, especially in the middle class.

Fifty-two million Mexican households now have pets, or 29 million families, and 87% of pets owned are dogs, according to a study by Pedigree, Effem Mexico’s (Mars) leading dog food brand, in partnership with Euromonitor. These pets are more likely to live with owners in urban areas, who gravitate toward superpremium and premium pet food products.

Though its retail scene and leading product categories and segments may differ from those in other markets, Mexico definitely shares one key characteristic with many pet food markets around the world: value growth without accompanying volume growth, a sure sign of premiumization taking hold.