Debbie Phillips-Donaldson

Debbie Phillips-Donaldson

Debbie Phillips-Donaldson is editor-in-chief of Petfood Industry. Email her at


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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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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