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.

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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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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