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.
Do you have questions about retaining the nutritional viability of certain ingredients during processing? Are you struggling to obtain a steady, sufficient supply of a key component of your latest formulation? Have you hit a roadblock in finding the latest novel protein or other new ingredient to expand your line?
When the full membership of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) voted in January to adopt a regulation that requires calorie-content statements on all cat food and dog food labels, it ended an eight-year-long debate that was sometimes contentious. (If you have ever doubted that rule-making bodies take a long time to reach final decisions, here's yet another piece of proof.)
Every two years, the American Pet Products Association releases its APPA National Pet Owners Survey, usually during or just after its Global Pet Expotrade show. So we're in luck, because the 2013-2014 survey results just came out, showing US pet ownership at an all-time high of 68% of all US households in 2012.
With the news last week that a scientist is studying Salmonella in space and, more importantly, gleaning important insights from the study, we can hope that this pathogen might become easier to control in petfood plants and everywhere else it shows up. (Because, after all, it's in the environment nearly everywhere.) That might help decrease the number of petfood recalls related to Salmonella each year.
Innovation is often in the eye of the beholder. What one person or company might see as innovative (or at least label "innovative" in marketing materials), another might see as just a continuation or expansion of an ongoing trend or category. Such has been the case with innovation in petfood for a few years now. The new petfoods and treats on display at Global Pet Expo last week might have changed that a little -- depending, again, on your perspective.
A new Pet Food Market Assessment 2013 from the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI) neatly encapsulates the opportunities and challenges for petfood manufacturers based in or selling to the US. While much of the information in the report is not new to our industry, it gives a fresh perspective on US petfood's short-term future.
When Colgate-Palmolive, parent company of Hill's Pet Nutrition, reported its fourth-quarter 2012 results last week, they included a worrisome sign for Hill's: While sales and profit had both increased for the parent company, Hill's sales declined 1% while operating profit decreased 2%, according to theWall Street Journal.
A new global feed tonnage report from Alltech, combined with 2012 data from Euromonitor, speaks volumes about growth in the global petfood market. (Cue groans at that "volume" pun now.) And it shows that, as with petfood sales, the markets growing the fastest are those in Latin America, Eastern Europe and, to a lesser extent, Asia.
If you are responsible for procuring and purchasing commodity ingredients for your company's petfoods -- or you formulate with such ingredients -- you probably are already aware that 2013 is shaping up to be another challenging year. (The same is true for meat ingredients, since that meat often comes from animals that eat commodity grains.) But do you know where specific challenges lie and how to prevent or handle them?
Surveys conducted by the pet care website petMD.com show that many pet owners are confused about pet nutrition, petfood labels and ingredients and, more importantly, their own pets' nutrition needs. While the overall results may not surprise anyone in our industry, some of the individual survey findings might provide beneficial insights on how to address the problem.