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.
Recalls in our industry are nothing new, of course, and with new food safety regulations bringing new reporting requirements, petfood recalls seem to have increased within the past two years -- even though industry professionals know that's not the case. Rather, manufacturers have become more proactive and complied with the new regulations by reporting any incidence of Salmonella or another pathogen found in a facility, even if no products were contaminated (which is usually the case).
May 6-12 is National Pet Week, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, which says the week is celebrated in the US and other parts of the world to "promote responsible pet ownership, celebrate the human-animal bond and promote public awareness of veterinary medicine." Perhaps your company is planning a special promotion or at least timing promotional activity with local celebrations at pet retail outlets.
Recent reports from the US Department of Agriculture offer good news for petfood manufacturers that use corn- or wheat-based ingredients in their formulations: Planting of corn and wheat in the US is ahead of schedule so far this year thanks to favorable weather. As of April 15, about 37% of the spring wheat crop had been seeded and 17% of the corn crop had been planted, according to reports.
For Interzoo 2012, the organizer of the event -- arguably the largest pet trade show in the world -- invited me to give a presentation during the show's international press conference. While honored and flattered by the invitation, I was also rather nervous, initially, because of the requested topic: innovation in petfood and treats.
... literally! The fur was flying at Petfood Forum 2012, especially on Tuesday, April 3, when two rescue groups, members of the Petfinder.com network, visited with more than a dozen dogs and puppies, plus a couple cats. That was in addition to several booths in the exhibit hall hosting dogs (and one amazingly calm cat).
A new report shows retailer Walmart and Nestle, parent company of Nestle Purina, ranking among the top corporate sustainability leaders worldwide, according to GreenBiz.com. Based on a survey of "industry experts and professionals" by GlobeScan Inc. and SustainAbility Ltd., the report names 13 such leaders, with Unilever at the very top.
It's not uncommon for media and others to see certain marketing terms and trends with petfood -- such as humanization -- and interpret them literally. Yet recently, BloombergBusinessweek took the concept to a whole new level.
Everything you've ever wanted to know about new product development but were afraid (or didn't know whom) to ask ... That's what you'll find at Petfood Workshop: New Product Development, April 4-5 at the Renaissance Schaumburg near Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Two sources -- the US Department of Agriculture and the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) -- are predicting a record corn harvest for the US this year, according to WattAgnet.com. FAPRI, a think tank based at the University of Missouri, puts the crop number at 13.916 billion bushels, reports a Reuters article, a 6% increase over the previous record set in 2009 (and based on the second largest plantings since World War II).
Last week was the largest Global Pet Expo ever -- at least according to the organizer, the American Pet Products Association. A few people I talked with on the show floor seemed skeptical of that claim; nevertheless, APPA president Bob Vetere said this year's show had the most booths, exhibitors, retailers and media.