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.

What's the state of the global petfood industry?

Despite petfood recalls in the US, problems with chicken jerky treats from China and the still-stumbling economy -- especially in Europe -- the global petfood industry seems to keep humming along. For example, a new report from Research and Markets shows the nearly 200 US-based petfood manufacturers (including huge multinationals like Mars and Nestle Purina) earn a total annual revenue of about US$47 billion.
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Petfood trends at Interzoo 2012

Interzoo 2012 has ended, with 1,539 companies from 53 countries exhibiting and more than 37,000 people from 115 countries visiting -- and petfood products galore. While the number of exhibitors and and exhibit space were records, the number of visitors to the show in Nuremberg, Germany, decreased slightly. But most petfood exhibitors I talked with were happy with the show traffic and number of leads or amount of business they received from the show.
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The latest petfood recalls: Is our industry at another crossroads?

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).
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Celebrate National Pet Week with good news about pet care spending

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.
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For petfood manufacturers, corn and wheat harvests might mean good news

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.
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For petfood, true innovation now lies behind the scenes

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.
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Petfood Forum went to the dogs this year ...

... 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).
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Sustainability: not just for huge multinationals

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.
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