Articles by Debbie Phillips-Donaldson

Something to Chew On: New keys to growth?

For continued growth, our industry may want to help increase pet ownership and continue focusing on health
Though the 2011-2012 APPA National Pet Owners Survey shows an all-time high for pet ownership in the US—72.9 million in 2010, a 2.1% rise since the last survey in 2009-2010—only dogs and cats have enjoyed increases and those are small: 1.5% and 1.8%, respectively. Nearly all other US pets, including birds, small animals, reptiles, horses and freshwater fish, have declined.
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Something to Chew On: Fighting pet obesity

Information such as calorie contents and feeding directions using common measurements could be an important weapon
The fourth annual National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Study from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention ( shows more than 50% of US dogs and cats are now overweight or obese. Specifically, the survey highlights these preliminary data.
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Nestlé Purina: building on a tradition of trust

Already an icon, this petfood leader continues to improve, innovate and grow
When a company has been making petfood for 90 years and has an iconic name and unprecedented trust in the marketplace, you might think it has no new heights to scale. Yet Nestlé Purina PetCare is not content to rest on history or reputation. In November 2010, the company reached a new milestone by earning the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.
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Something to Chew On: Food for thought

During Global Pets Forum, experts presented trends in human foods, health and technology that could play out in petfood, too
In January I was privileged to attend Global Pets Forum, an annual conference organized by Pets International magazine ( This year’s event was in Barcelona, Spain, and drew about 200 pet industry professionals, mainly from Europe but also from all other continents.
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Something to Chew On: Doing well by doing good for pets

Like companies in other industries, petfood makers find embracing a cause is good for the bottom line as well as the soul
Recently a newspaper reporter called seeking information for an article he was researching on corporate social responsibility in the pet industry. One of his questions was whether petfood companies participate in community programs and charitable causes.
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Something to Chew On: Presaging consumer behavior for 2011

Market research firms look into their crystal balls and identify consumer trends that might have important implications for our industry
For better or worse, I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions, and I find most lists predicting what will happen in the coming year to be fairly trite and, well, predictable. (Sorry, bad pun.) But I do pay attention to ones from market research firms like Packaged Facts and Mintel, because I think they identify consumer trends that have important implications for our industry.
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Something to Chew On: Making the case for pets

More and more experts think the benefits to humans of owning pets can be quantified and backed by scientific research
Those of us who love, live with and/or work with pets know intuitively the many benefits they bring to people. But can those benefits be quantified and backed by sound, scientific research?
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Something to Chew On: Joining the App revolution

Petfood Industry is launching an App for the iPhone and iPad. Should you be doing the same for your brand?
Once upon a time, not all that long ago, a mobile phone did what its name said: It let users talk on the phone while on the move, away from the house or office. Soon most of these phones gained the capability to also send text messages, take photos and play music. And now more and more people around the world have so-called smart phones.
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Overby Farm takes pet treats to the next level

This small family business prepares to introduce innovative, functional formulations beyond its signature cherry products
A growing body of research shows that in humans, tart cherries can act as an antioxidant and help people suffering from various conditions and forms of inflammation. “Our family found relief from arthritis and gout through cherry concentrate, and that got the ball rolling,” says Carol Jones-Adams, describing how her functional treat company, Overby Farm, was born.
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