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Adventures in Pet Food

Debbie Phillips-Donaldson, editor-in-chief of Petfood Industry, shares her insights and opinions on all things pet food, addressing market trends as well as news and developments in pet nutrition, food safety and other hot topics for the industry.
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Pet food manufacturing adds $127 billion to US economy

February 12, 2018

The US has 517 pet food manufacturing facilities, which contribute 398,416 jobs and US$126.8 billion in total output to the US economy. That’s according to a report recently released by the Institute for Feed Education & Research (IFEEDER), a research foundation founded by the American Feed Industry Association in 2009.

The US Animal Feed and Pet Food Manufacturing Industry Economic Contribution Study” analyzes 2016 data at three levels: national, state and congressional district. IFEEDER commissioned Decision Innovation Solutions, an economic research and analysis firm, to conduct the study and focus on current contributions to the US economy, rather than looking at economic impact, which tends to measure the effects of changes in the economy.

Pet food’s powerful contributions

The report paints a powerful picture of pet food’s contributions to the US economy:

  • The US$126.8 billion total, which the report refers to as “total sales,” is the broadest measure of economic activity, sometimes referred to as “economic output.”
  • In this report, it includes US$44.3 billion in value-added sales, or total sales minus the costs of inputs.
  • Further, that value-added amount includes US$23.4 billion in labor income, or the “sum of employee compensation (i.e., wages) and proprietor income (self-employed).”
  • The 517 manufacturers also contribute US$9.4 billion in local, state and national taxes.

Note that the number of jobs indicated in the report represents an estimate of full-time, part-time and contract positions in the US industry.

The report also delves into the top five states for pet food economic activity: Missouri, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Iowa and California, which together account for 41 to 43 percent of the national totals listed above. Pet food manufacturers in those five states contribute 165,236 jobs, US$53 billion in total sales, including US$19 billion in value-added sales, US$10.2 billion in income labor and US$4 billion in taxes (at all levels) to the US economy.

It’s certainly not a surprise to see Missouri and Kansas on the list, considering that both help make up the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, which includes, among its many entities, several pet food companies that as of 2015 represented 61 percent of US pet food retail sales. Those facilities belong to heavy hitters such as Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Mars Petcare, Nestlé Purina PetCare and J.M. Smucker (Big Heart Pet Brands).

California isn’t necessarily a surprise, either, considering that its economy overall is larger than that of some countries. With Pennsylvania being home to Ainsworth Pet Nutrition and other sizable pet food manufacturers, its status makes some sense; I am rather amazed to see Iowa on the Top 5 list.

Pet food and animal feed have significant impact

If you want to see how much pet food manufacturers in your state — or even your congressional district — contribute to the US economy, I encourage you to download the report, which is free. And, if you’re curious about how pet food stacks up against animal feed in the US, here are further data.

The US animal feed industry, comprised of 5,715 mills, contributes 545,810 jobs, US$170.4 billion in total sales, including US$57.7 billion in value-added sales, US$32.6 billion in labor income and US$13.1 billion in local, state and national taxes.

Add all that to the pet food data, and you get these totals: 944,227 jobs, US$297.1 billion in total sales, including US$102 billion in value-added sales, US$55.9 billion in labor income and US$22.5 billion in taxes. Those numbers make a formidable case for the importance and impact of the pet food and animal feed industries.

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dphillips@wattglobal.com

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