Melinda Miller has been hired as Chief Executive Officer of Bravo Pet Foods, a provider of raw and cooked pet food and treats. Previously, Miller has held executive positions at Earth Animal Ventures, MiracleCorp, Smith Ridge Veterinary Center and Animal Nutrition Technologies. She is the co-founder and president of the North American Raw Petfood Association and was a Bravo co-founder and its managing director for six years beginning in 2002.

An advocate for natural animal health, Miller has been professionally involved in every aspect of the companion animal industry for more than 20 years. Miller managed the largest integrative (holistic and conventional) veterinary hospital in the US. She has provided management, behavioral and nutritional advice to veterinarians, canine trainers and daycare facilities as well as pet food companies. Miller is also the owner and co-breeder of several national award-winning Portuguese Water Dogs. Arabian horses she bred or collectively managed hold 43 national titles.

Raw pet food trend continues 

Bravo Pet Foods is a manufacturer of raw pet foods, which, despite recalls of several raw pet food products in 2018, have gained popularity as part of the pet humanization trend. The pet humanization trend continues to grow as consumers demand the same healthy, safe, minimally processed foods for their animals that they expect for their own diets.

With this desire for minimally processed pet food products, consumers are increasingly turning to raw pet foods, which are growing 23 percent year over year for the third year in a row. High-pressure processing (HPP) is a proven means of creating a safe, clean-label raw pet food, according to Mark Duffy, CEO of Universal Pure, and Aaron Grimm, chief operating officer of Nature's Variety, speaking at Petfood Forum 2018 on April 24.

HPP is a non-thermal process, which uses water and pressure, to inactivate foodborne pathogens and spoilage organisms. Unlike traditional thermal pasteurization and cooking methods, though, HPP maintains a product’s nutrients and flavor, said Duffy.

HPP has many benefits over traditional processing in producing clean-label raw pet foods because it allows for formulation of a healthier diet with more minimally processed ingredients. Since HPP enables production of a safer raw pet food, it can help companies protect their brands with fewer recalls, Duffy said. Selling raw pet food with a clean label can also be a point of competitive differentiation for companies over foods with more-processed ingredients. Other benefits of HPP cited include: improved sustainability, extended product shelf life and enabling innovation in raw pet food.