Articles by Debbie Phillips-Donaldson

Brown lab eating dry pet kibble from bowl

Update: measuring petfood palatability

New ways key palatability companies are conducting and improving testing
Palatability has become as important to petfood formulation as the core ingredients. After all, those ingredients can’t provide nutritional benefits if pets won’t eat the food or, perhaps more importantly, their owners don’t perceive the pets are enjoying the food. Thus, leading organizations invest heavily in research and work to ensure they can accurately measure the palatability of various formulations and flavor enhancers.
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Something to Chew On: Consumers no longer a captive, passive audience

Much of the media coverage of petfood safety and recalls has sprung from heightened interest by consumers
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has posted an online FAQ about the recent spate of Salmonella-related petfood recalls online FAQ. I for one am glad to see it and especially gratified that the very first entry attributes the rise in recent incidents to increased awareness, renewed vigilance by petfood companies and regulatory authorities and the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Reportable Food Registry.
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Nature’s Variety makes petfood with a purpose

The maker of raw and holistic diets seeks to help transform pets through its products, philosophy, education and research
A brand should have a purpose, a reason for being, says Erin Mulligan Nelson, VP/chief marketing officer for Dell computers, in an article for Advertising Age. “It should make a difference in the world in some way.”
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Survey: consumers drive sustainability in petfood

An industry survey shows petfood companies are responding to consumer demand but have some concerns
“Top consumer groups turn to sustainability.” That was the headline for an article by Bill Roth, president of NCCT, a San Francisco-based consulting firm specializing in sustainability marketing and business strategies. Roth, writing about last year’s Sustainable Brands Conference, was referring to US youth, women and CEOS. Representing an annual buying power of about US$10 trillion, these three consumer groups are “shifting their purchasing criteria toward sustainability,” Roth wrote.
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Something to Chew On: Petfood stands strong at Interzoo

A large portion of the stands at this global pet trade fair displayed petfood products or supplies
Everyone in the world who has anything to do with the pet industry converged on Nuremberg, Germany, the week of May 10—or at least that’s how it seemed. Actually, more than 38,000 pet trade visitors from 117 countries attended Interzoo 2010, according to its organizers, in addition to 1,052 companies from 53 countries exhibiting their products for cats, dogs, small mammals, birds, fish and reptiles or supplies for companies manufacturing those products.
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Something To Chew On: Sustainability comes to petfood

Results of a Petfood Industry survey on sustainability are similar to those of other studies of global business leaders
A group called the Social Investment Forum issued a report earlier this year showing a more than 33% increase in the number of leading publicly traded US companies reporting on their sustainability initiatives. Specifically, 66 of the firms in the S&P 100 in 2008 issued a formal sustainability report with performance data, compared with 49 companies producing such a report in 2007. 
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Three Dog Bakery bounds into pet stores

The company builds on its boutique business with three new lines for pet stores, including baked dog food and treats
"I always joke with our employees: It's not the best business model to say no over and over to people who want to buy your products." That's how Scott Ragan, president and "chief dog lover" of Three Dog Bakery, explains the impetus for the company's first foray into selling its baked foods and treats outside its bakery franchises.
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