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Food for Thought for Pet Food

Marcel Blok is a longtime pet food industry expert, executive and consultant, based in Europe. He writes on business strategy, marketing and communication, and strategic product development.
Pet Food Market Trends
hand writing transparency with marker
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Pet food transparency: Buzzword is not a goal

March 12, 2018

Probably every industry needs a few buzzwords, including pet food. And when these get stale, new ones will emerge.

Transparency is, I think, a typical example. Whenever you read about developments in our industry, transparency pops up as the best after sliced bread. As if it is a goal in its own right. Well, for me it isn’t.

Transparency is a mindset

If we pretend to be well-behaved — or even better than others — by being transparent, I wonder what happened to good old honesty. Transparency isn’t a unique selling proposition (USP), neither is it pseudo intellectual property. It’s a mindset.

And then we read that transparency is a trend, which means — I think — that the trendsetters have decided to become honest, to let people look in from the outside. An excellent development in itself, but it’s a shame that both official pressure such as regulations and consumer pressure are needed to bring us to become more transparent — or rather, more honest.

Pet food should have nothing to hide

What have we got to hide? If we claim to work for the best interests of pets and their owners, we do not wish to hide anything, of course. And yet, we are or plan to become more honest.

Which leads to the question of why we shouldn’t call things by their proper name. Instead of by-products, offal would be a proper denomination — stuff that we refuse to eat as humans (there are clear cultural differences), but which is perfectly okay to feed to our pet animals. And yet, we are afraid that offal has a bad connotation (has it?) and therefore name it differently.

We create a world of make-believe on the one hand and strive for transparency on the other. Let’s just be honest and stop spinning the wrong tale.

 

21st Pet Street, home of Change Stranamics 

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marcel.blok@home.nl

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