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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.

Petfood companies need to define sustainability for their markets

In yet another trends list for the year (and yes, I’m guilty of issuing one of those lists, too), Leslie May, founder of Pawsible Marketing, identifies one of the top trends for the pet industry as “quality, healthy, made in the US, green, eco-friendly.” Whew! That one trend covers a lot of ground. But I agree with May that the general concept that pet owners increasingly are seeking pet products, including petfood, that they believe are healthier for their pets and the planet.
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Petfood volume flat in 2013, new feed survey shows

The volume of petfood produced globally in 2013 grew less than 1% over 2012, from 20.5 million tons to 20.7 million, according to the just released 2014 Alltech Global Feed Survey. That's slightly less than the 1% growth reported for production of feed for all species, from 954 million tons in 2012 to 963 million in 2013. Petfood makes up only about 2% of that global total.
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First petfood M&A deal of 2014 portends more to come

The petfood and pet care industries have been a hotbed of merger and acquisition (M&A) activity for several years now; in fact, even during the recession, that activity picked up, unlike in most other industries. Thus, last week's announcement that Nestlé Purina PetCare had acquired Zuke's Performance Pet Nutrition, a maker of natural, functional treats, came as no real surprise to anyone in or watching our industry.
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Petfood quality, pet health top purchasing drivers, mirroring human food trends

A new survey of dog owners by a UK-based pet supplies website shows the quality of petfood outweighs costs for many pet parents, echoing ongoing premiumization in the US petfood market and mirroring purchasing drivers for human food. Conducted online by GJW Titmuss from October to December 2013 and responded to by 675 dog owners, the survey showed 61% of the owners consider quality the most important factor when choosing a dog food, versus only 9% choosing cost. 
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Media perpetuating petfood safety myths, misconceptions

Another day/month/year, another media report on petfood safety with misleading, out-of-context or downright inaccurate information. Since the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released the proposed preventive control rule for animal feed (including petfood) in late October as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), it's been big news throughout mainstream media. Unfortunately, it's difficult to see how some of the news being disseminated is at all helpful to pet owners, let alone the petfood industry.
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Looking into the 2014 petfood crystal ball

I don't really have a crystal ball (and I probably wouldn't trust it if I had one). Nor can I claim to predict, with full confidence, what will happen in the global petfood industry next year. But I can make a fairly informed speculation about the issues and events that may affect petfood in 2014. In no particular order of conviction or chronology:
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Petfood industry can help shape FSMA preventive control rule

While the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) overall and, specifically, its recently proposed preventive control rule for animal feed represent a paradigm shift in how petfood will be regulated, the petfood industry has a rare -- if rushed -- opportunity to have a say in how the final rule will read. Yes, believe it or not, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants your input.
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2014 human food trends that could affect petfood

Testing sub head here.
At last week's Food Ingredients Europe in Frankfurt, Germany, an annual show described by organizer's as the "global meeting place for all stakeholders in the food ingredients industry," Innova Market Insights introduced its top 10 food and beverage trends for 2014. While not all apply to petfood (and only five of the 10 included descriptions), some might be worth considering for petfood manufacturers and marketers.
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Snapshot of petfood ingredient market shows ongoing growth

A report on the global animal feed ingredients market released last week offers a few tidbits of data and information regarding petfood ingredients, with the highlight that the overall market as well as the segment that includes companion animal food are both growing strongly. That growth is projected to continue at a compound annual rate of 5% to 7.5% through 2019.
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