Petfood Forum 2019, held April 29–May 1 at the Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City, Missouri, U.S., included the second year of an expanded student-centered program and abstract competition.

The abstract competition, which included both oral and poster presentations given by selected undergraduate, graduate and Ph.D. students on companion animal nutrition-related topics, was held April 30–May 1. A panel of judges attended each presentation and evaluated on criteria such as clarity of objective, materials and methods, breadth and depth of conclusions, and industry implications of research results.

On May 1, the top oral and poster presenters were announced. Weilun Tsai, a graduate student in the Center for Sensory Analysis and Consumer Behavior at Kansas State University, received top honors for her oral presentation, “Generating consumer terminology to describe emotions in pet owners and their pets.” Heather Acuff, a first-year Ph.D. student in the Pet Food Program at Kansas State University, won for her poster presentation, “Application strategies & efficacy of probiotics in pet food: A review.” Both students received a cash prize, and all student presenters received a certificate of recognition as well as digital publication of their abstracts.

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Petfood Industry Managing Editor and Petfood Forum Student Program Coordinator Lindsay Beaton (right) stands with abstract competition winner Heather Acuff (left), a first-year Ph.D. student in the Pet Food Program at Kansas State University, who presented her poster, “Application strategies & efficacy of probiotics in pet food: A review.” | Photo by Andrea Gantz | WATT Global Media

Three student presenters received travel sponsorships from DSM to attend and speak at Petfood Forum. The Student Program also had several other sponsors, including Extru-Tech, Trouw Nutrition, Wenger and Schenck Process. Sponsorships allow students to attend Petfood Forum and participate in all programs available to regular attendees, as well as special student-focused events designed to increase exposure to the pet food industry and potential future employers.

Petfood Forum 2020 will once again be held in Kansas City, Missouri, U.S., on April 27–29.