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.

Purina and Blue Buffalo wage petfood marketing claims war

In suing Blue Buffalo Co. this week over false and disparaging advertising claims, Nestlé Purina PetCare threw down the gauntlet in terms of competitive marketing claims. Does Purina have a case – and perhaps more significant, if it does, could this be just the first step in a sea change in how petfoods are labeled and marketed? (Not to mention formulated.)
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Petfood industry could learn from new study on GMO labeling mandates

As yet another US state considers mandating labeling of food products with information on inclusion of ingredients that have been genetically modified (otherwise known as GMOs), a new paper looks at the potential impact—positive and negative—of such mandates. The latest state jumping into the GMO labeling debate is Vermont. Its legislature recently passed a bill that would make it the first state to require mandatory labeling of any foods containing ingredients that had been “genetically engineered.” The governor is expected to soon sign it into law.
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Who influences pet owners’ petfood purchasing decisions?

US dog owners are most likely to received petfood recommendations from their veterinarians, followed by a friend or family member, then a pet store, according to the GfK PetInsights Study. While this is not a surprise, the study, presented on during Petfood Forum Asia 2014 by Pushan Tagore, director of pet nutrition services for GfK's Animal Health division, revealed some interesting insights on who and what influences the petfood purchasing decisions for US pet owners.
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Mars-P&G petfood deal a surprise on some levels

Last week’s big news that Mars Inc. had agreed to buy 80% of Procter & Gamble’s petfood business was and wasn’t a surprise. Everyone knew P&G was eager to sell its petfood brands (Iams, Eukanuba and Natura); CEO A.G. Lafley said as much over six months ago, when he told analysts the company was looking to off-load its under-performing business units. While he named no specific units at the time, he did say it would involve products that, combined, represented less than 10% of P&G sales, and that definitely included the petfood brands.
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Global Pet Expo news: petfood spending, natural cat treats, superfoods

At Global Pet Expo 2014 (GPE), held last week in Orlando, Florida, USA, the story was all about growth: Overall US pet care spending is projected to grow nearly 5% this year, topping out at US$58.5 billion, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), organizer of the show. Of that, US petfood spending is expected to reach US$22.62 billion by the end of 2014 after increasing 4.5% in 2013 to a total of US$21.57 billion, APPA said.
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Will "natural"? petfood claims ever be regulated?

When a group of petfood, feed and human food organizations announced their new GMO-related initiative, the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food, in February, nearly lost amid the news was this reason given for forming the coalition and pushing for US federal legislation on GMOs (genetically modified organisms): so the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would define the term "natural" for its use on food and beverage products so human food and beverage companies and consumers have a consistent legal framework for food labels while informing consumer choice.
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