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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.

Del Monte making big push to expand petfood share

Del Monte's announcement last week that it was divesting its human canned food business to focus on its petfood products was quite a bombshell -- at least for me, from both a personal and professional level. As a consumer growing up in the US at the tail end of the Baby Boomer generation, I have always regarded Del Monte as one of those iconic food companies.
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Petfood and GMO legislation cross paths again

While the US federal government shutdown may threaten legislative-related activity, such as the pending release of the preventive control rule for feed (including petfood) under the Food Safety Modernization Act, plenty of things are still happening at the state and local level. For example, a proposed law on the ballot for November 5 elections in Washington state that would require labeling of genetically modified foods is causing a war of words that has ensnared petfood.
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Finished product testing a hot petfood safety topic

Should petfood manufacturers regularly test their finished products for Salmonella, holding them in inventory until test results return? And should that testing be mandated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as part of the new preventive control rule for feed soon to be released under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)?
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What sustainability means to consumers (and what that means for petfood)

Sustainability has become a buzz word in marketing and other circles; it is also a concept that is resonating more with the petfood and human food industries as we struggle to find sustainable sources of protein and other ingredients to feed the growing number of people in the world (not to mention their growing number of pets). And we often hear that many consumers seek brands and products that follow or support sustainable practices. But what exactly does that mean?
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Alternative protein sources for petfood: are insects the answer?

Increasing humanization of pets around the world -- even in China, a small (but rapidly growing) pet market, 90% of pet owners say their pets are part of the family, according to Mars Petcare China -- means rising numbers of pet owners who want and expect to feed their pets products similar to the types of food products they're seeking for themselves. When it comes to protein sources, that translates to seeking "human grade" meats, poultry or fish and shunning any ingredients perceived as lesser quality, such as meat or poultry by-products or meals. Petfood manufacturers have understandably responded to these consumer demands. So everyone should be happy, right?
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China pet care market growing rapidly

The global pet care market will reach US$96 billion in sales by the end of this year, reported Clarissa Nicklaus, senior research analyst for Euromonitor International, during Petfood Forum China 2013 last week. With the market growing 4% annually each year since 2008, that means it could top the US$100 billion mark in 2014. Petfood makes up 77% of the global market, Nicklaus said, meaning sales will hit nearly US$74 billion this year.
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Human food trend that petfood should not follow: ignoring FSMA

Since the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law in January 2011, I have seen reactions in our industry ranging from approval to grudging acceptance to complaints to anxiety. I have even heard anecdotes about a few, mainly smaller petfood or treat manufacturers who say they do not have the time or resources to comply with the law and its regulations, so they plan to just ignore it.
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