Pet food manufacturers located within the Kansas City (KC) Animal Health Corridor represent 61% of the total pet food sold in the US, according to that organization. If you are not familiar with this entity, it might be time to get acquainted, considering the level of business and clout its members wield.

Founded in 2006 and anchored by Manhattan, Kansas, USA, and Columbia, Missouri, USA, the KC Animal Health Corridor comprises more than 300 companies and organizations involved in animal health and nutrition, including leading universities and research institutions. For example, Manhattan and Columbia are home to Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, respectively.

In between those towns lie several facilities of some of the US and world’s largest pet food manufacturers: Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Mars Petcare, Nestlé Purina PetCare and its Product Technology Center and Big Heart Pet Brands (with two facilities in Kansas, though they’re listed on the KC Animal Health Corridor site as Del Monte Pet Products). In fact, Hill’s and Nestlé each has an executive sitting on the Corridor’s advisory board: Kostas Kontopanos, US president of Hill’s, and Kay Dowling, site director for Nestlé.

In addition, the KC Animal Health Corridor’s company members—31 in all—include a smaller manufacturer of foods for reptiles and exotic pets, ZuPreem, plus several leading pet food industry suppliers, such as Ameri-Pac, Butler Milling, Cargill, Cereal Byproducts Co., Darling International, Land O’ Lakes, Lonza and MGP Ingredients.

All these companies will have a presence at Petfood Forum 2015; and it’s no coincidence that Kansas City is now the new home of Petfood Forum, at least through 2018. Besides accounting for 61% of US pet food sales, the Corridor manufacturer members alone account for 49% of global pet food sales, according to the KC Animal Health Corridor’s 2014 Asset Survey.

The organization worked with Axxiom Consulting for the data announced with the survey; it says that 49% of global pet food sales amounts to US$30.6 billion of the overall global total of US$63 billion. That latter figure seems low: according to Euromonitor International data available at the end of 2014, global dog and cat food sales alone amounted to about US$79 billion.

As for the 61% of US pet food sales cited by KC Animal Health Corridor, it says that amounts to just over US$14 billion of a US total of US$23 billion, which corresponds to data from the American Pet Products Association (APPA). The Corridor’s news release about the survey also includes these data points (none of which matches up with other available data):

  • Companies with a business location within the KC Animal Health Corridor represent 56% of the total animal health, diagnostics and pet food sales, which totals almost US$50 billion in sales (total global sales = US$88.2 billion)
  • Companies located within the Corridor represent 67% of the total animal health, diagnostics and pet food sold in the US, which totals US$21.5 billion in sales (total US sales = US$32 billion)

Still, these are impressive numbers for a geographical area that is really not that large. And that is also home to many other players in pet food that fall outside the “animal health and nutrition” mission of the Corridor but are important pieces of our vibrant industry: equipment manufacturers, processing support organizations, testing and lab services, for example. The list goes on and on.

In fact, the Corridor website lists hundreds of similar organizations by category, its “service provider” members. The accompanying description probably says it best: “Between Columbia, Missouri, and Manhattan, Kansas, sits the single largest concentration of animal health interests in the world.”

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dphillips@wattnet.net