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.

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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Parsing petfood numbers: volume versus value

This site and Petfood Industry magazine often highlight reports from Euromonitor International, Research and Markets and others indicating the continued growth of the global -- or, in reports from Packaged Facts, the US -- petfood market, despite ongoing economic crises and slow recovery from the recession.
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Finding useful petfood market data

If you rely on data from the US Department of Agriculture on grain crops and prices -- or data on other petfood ingredients -- you may have cause for concern. Possible US federal budget cuts may affect the agency's ability to continue to provide such timely and accurate data, according to Joe Prusacki, director of the statistics division at USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).
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Online pet retailers and related sites succeeding with innovation, social media

Despite Facebook's less than stellar initial public offering, there's no doubt it remains a force to be reckoned with. With more than 800 million users worldwide -- a number that is expected to reach 1 billion by next month (August 2012) -- along with nearly 47% revenue growth from 2010 to 2011 and many other impressive statistics, this leading social medium has become a household word and daily habit for many consumers. Which means it's also become an invaluable marketing platform for many consumer goods companies, including those that make, market or distribute petfood.
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Corn crop increases, along with wheat prices

The global corn harvest may set another record this year, with a 9% increase in yield over the 2011 crop, itself a record, according to Dr. Joseph Glauber, chief economist at the US Department of Agriculture. The rise in the global crop is being driven by an almost 20% increase in the US harvest, he said.
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