Founded in Spain in 1963, Affinity Petcare - part of the Agrolimen Group of companies, leading manufacturers of consumer goods in Europe - has been striving to produce novel, healthy products for pets for more than 40 years. Ranked number six in our annual list of the top 10 petfood companies for 2008, the company offers a wide range of products, from special veterinary diets to superpremium foods to value-priced products for cats and dogs. Affinity says it is committed to the following values: imagination, innovation, flexibility and a scientific, systematic approach.
According to the American Pet Product Manufacturers Association (APPMA), the top two ways that pet owners find new products for their furry companions are browsing store shelves and watching television advertisements. What does this mean to companies wishing to make an impact in the ever growing pet market? Novel product and packaging development is the key to not only attracting new consumers, but also plays an important role in continued brand loyalty.
It used to be enough that petfoods met pets' tastes and their nutritional needs. But with the significant evolution of the global petfood market that has been accompanied by a strong premiumization trend, foods that are going to fly off shelves also have to answer to the pet owner's demand for the best quality, period. Petfood companies are now looking at how dogs respond genetically to a particular diet and how cats respond to different moisture content in kibble. Petfood manufacturers should spend a considerable amount of time conducting controlled feeding studies to determine the right combination of ingredients and processing techniques to produce a nutritious, palatable food.
Cost-efficiency and energy-efficiency in particular, combined with high quality production, is an increasingly hot topic for every manufacturing sector. In the case of the petfood industry, a great benefit in this regard can be obtained through optimized use of drying and cooling systems.
Maximizing profit margins and avoiding misbranding means knowing just what goes into your petfood and treat products. Accurate measurement and precise adherence to levels of moisture, fat, proteins and other key nutrients is more important than ever
What does it take to make tails start wagging and tongues drool when it's feeding time for consumers' cats and dogs? Petfood has to be palatable, healthy, nutrition-rich and above all, safe to eat. That's where our industry's finicky and discerning taste-testers come in, ready to put our culinary offerings to the test.
If 2007 is to be remembered as the year of the recalls, then we in the industry should be working hard to make 2008 a year focused on safety, reliability and, most of all, trust. Although traceability should be just one element of already established quality control systems, it may be the most important factor in assuring product excellence and security.
The initial scheme for Freshpet came about when Cathal Walsh, COO and co-founder, and John Phelps, VP of R&D and co-founder, both worked for a major petfood manufacturer in Australia. "In Australia the fresh market is 22% of the petfood market," according to Walsh, "so it's large, successful and growing. The US market is one of the most advanced markets in the world and consumers were absolutely primed for it. All the trends pointed toward fresh food."