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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.

Ingredient scarcity calls for innovative solutions

After one of the worst droughts in US history this past summer, along with hot, dry weather in other parts of the world, it's no surprise that projections for crop supplies are continuing to decline. According to BloombergBusinessweek, a new report from the International Grains Council projects global corn production for the 2012-2013 harvest year to come in at 833 million metric tons, down from August's prediction of 838 million metric tons and 2011-2012's actual crop of 875 million metric tons.
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SuperZoo sets record, organizer says

In another sign of the seemingly ever-resilient pet industry, last week's SuperZoo pet trade show in Las, Vegas, Nevada, USA, drew a record number of participants, according to the World Pet Association, the show's organizer. Those numbers included a 12% increase in attendees from 53 countries, 871 exhibiting companies and 160,000 square feet of (sold-out) exhibit space.
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Forcing FDA's hand on new food safety regulations

It's not just people in the petfood industry who are getting antsy about when the US Food and Drug Administration will finally issue pending regulations in accordance with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The human food industry has definitely noticed the delay, and now two organizations are trying to force FDA's hand.
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Packaging: what consumers (say they) want

Consumer surveys routinely show the same wants and needs for packaging of consumer goods products: convenience, ease of opening and closing (and, increasingly, ease of resealing the package), product freshness and sustainability -- though the majority of consumers surveyed don't seem willing to pay more for eco-friendly packaging. These all hold true in a survey conducted by Packaged Facts earlier this year and reported by Marketing Daily.
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What corn and soybean prices at all-time highs mean for petfood

Though parts of the US Midwest have finally received some rain over the last few weeks, it's a case of too little, too late. The 2012 US drought has done irreparable damage to this year's crops of corn, soybeans and other grains (and the farmers who grow them) and will likely have a long-lasting impact on meat supplies and prices, too. This will definitely affect the prices of food, feed and, likely, petfood in the near future; food prices are already soaring in some parts of the world.
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Where does FDA stand on FSMA implementation?

The US Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is seemingly becoming a classic case of "hurry up and wait." When the act was signed into law by President Obama in January 2011, many players in the human food, petfood and animal feed industries began making an urgent case that food producers in all three industries needed to prepare, and fast, for new rules and regulations emanating from the law. Some experts even sounded notes of doom and gloom over concern that the new regulations would prove costly and onerous, especially for smaller manufacturers.
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Grow the market by encouraging pet ownership

Ownership of dogs and cats in the US has continued to rise in the two decades that the American Pet Products Association (APPA) has been conducting its National Pet Owners Survey. That's the good news. The not so rosy news is that since 2006, the increase in ownership has been very small -- for example, dog ownership increased just 1.5% in the 2011-12 survey from the previous one (2010), while cat ownership grew just 1.8%.
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Get forecasts for feed grain costs and availability

The US Department of Agriculture will issue its latest supply-and-demand report tomorrow (Friday, August 10), and all expectations are that the agency will again reduce its corn production forecast, according to a Dow Jones Newswires poll of analysts. These analysts project USDA will cut production another 15.4% after a devastating drought has decimated much of the US corn crop.
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The global scramble over corn, meat and other petfood ingredients

If you hear anyone still expressing doubt that today's economy is global, just point them to all the recent news about the price of corn, soybeans and other commodities. As recently as early to mid June, the US Department of Agriculture and others were crowing about the record US corn crop expected this year, potentially 9% larger than the 2011 crop, which itself set a record.
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