News Hound

Tim Wall, senior reporter for Petfood Industry, explores interactions among culture, media, science and pet food. Wall presents his opinions on how animal behaviors, both human and pet, influence global dog, cat and other pet food markets.

Confusion over GMO corn in US pet food exports to Mexico

A decree ends importation of genetically modified corn to Mexico by 2024. However, exactly what this means for the pet food industry is uncertain. Meanwhile, landraces are losing ground to varieties developed outside corn’s Mexican homeland.
A decree ends genetically modified corn imports to Mexico by 2024. However, exactly what this means for the pet food industry is uncertain. Meanwhile, landraces are losing ground to varieties developed outside corn’s crib in Mexico.
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Pet owners describe selves and pets with same emotions

Pet owners generated lists of 39 emotional terms for dogs, ranging from happy to anxious, and 53 terms for cats’ emotions, including calm, happy, angry and fearful.
Scientists identified ranges of animal emotions and associated behaviors, as described by pet owners. Those same pet owners also noted their own emotions while interacting with their pets.
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Pet food exec sustainability idea differs from consumers

As sustainability claims have become a mainstream marketing message in pet food, the meaning of that message may have diverged among both pet owners and pet food professionals.
The multiplicity of sustainability problems makes containing them in single term difficult. For many pet owners the concept of sustainability may remain hazy, or they may think of the word in different terms pet food executives and marketers.
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Pet food pods could reduce single-serve packaging waste

Superpremium, single-serve packaging may trade sustainability for convenience. Encapsulated pet food in a dissolvable pod could replace single-serve packages and reduce waste.
Brightly printed, sturdy pet food packages may ensure freshness on par with human foods, but multiple layers of material often mean superpremium packaging must make a trade-off with sustainability.
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Circadian rhythm pet foods: untapped human trend?

Unlike most human food trends, the pet food industry doesn’t seem to have absorbed the circadian diet yet.
Pet owners now feed their pets the same foods morning and night, often day after day. Could specific formulations address pets’ daily metabolic changes while forging new ranges of time-specific dog, cat and other pet foods?
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VR tours of pet food facility may provide transparency

Pet owners increasingly want transparency, to know how their pets’ food was made and what exactly went into it and why.
The pet food industry chose the red pill this year. While giants like Purina can create full-on VR experiences, even small pet food start-ups can use free panoramic camera apps to make immersive pet food facility tours.
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Cute brand ambassador pets never get drunk, Tweet slurs

Even Nazis thought baby animals were cute, but the fascists weren’t happy about it. Now, as dogs, cats and hedgehogs themselves become social media influencers the power of cuteness may grow.
The role of both social media and pets intertwines as animals’ own online presences increasingly influence consumers’ views of dog, cat and other pet food brands. In some cases, animals make better brand ambassadors because they are less likely to behave like beasts than people. Plus, cuteness is power in the persuasion game.
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WHO simulated pet cats spreading new disease among humans

If people were afraid that their fur baby could infect their flesh baby or themselves with a deadly novel disease, would the pet humanization trend continue?
What if a disease erupted that could spread from pets to people and vice versa? The World Health Organization prepared for just that scenario.
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