During the American Veterinary Medical Association’s annual conference in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, in July, several sessions and press conferences focused on one significant issue: an overall 17% decrease in veterinary visits for US pets over the past two years. This sobering figure comes from the Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study, a collaboration among Bayer Healthcare, Brakke Consulting and the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues.
If you are one of the 940 million people worldwide with a mobile broadband subscription (according to the International Telecommunication Union as reported on mobithinking.com), you have access to all sorts of information and data about petfood via the smart phone or mobile device in your pocket, purse or briefcase. For example, if you have an iPhone or iPad, you can download the free Petfood Industry App to read each new monthly issue and get updated news and information about new products.
Biología y Nutrición SAU's position as the sole petfood supplier and category manager for Mercadona, a supermarket chain with 1,325 stores and a 39% petfood market share in Spain, makes its need for a central location critical. Fortunately, the company has found that just outside Zaragoza, in a converted feed factory in El Burgo de Ebro.
Nearly every petfood producer I have talked with this year, including in Europe, has expressed concern about the continually escalating cost of ingredients, especially commodities. As of this writing, corn futures for this month (July 2011) were trading on the Chicago Board of Trade at US$7.59 a bushel, according to Agriculture.com.
A professional with 35-plus years’ experience in companion animal nutrition and petfood remarked recently that trends in our industry are now only three months behind human food trends. Petfood used to follow human food by at least six months, he said.
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.
The fourth annual National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Study from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (www.petobesityprevention.com) shows more than 50% of US dogs and cats are now overweight or obese. Specifically, the survey highlights these preliminary data.
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.
In January I was privileged to attend Global Pets Forum, an annual conference organized by Pets International magazine (www.petsinfo.net). This year’s event was in Barcelona, Spain, and drew about 200 pet industry professionals, mainly from Europe but also from all other continents.
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.