Petfood Forum tackles pet food e-commerce, retail changes

The pet food e-commerce and retailing landscape is dynamic and changing very rapidly. Learn expert predictions on what could happen next and how to prepare.

Petfood Forum offers attendees several networking and educational options, as well as a large exhibit all. | Photo by John Grossman
Petfood Forum offers attendees several networking and educational options, as well as a large exhibit all. | Photo by John Grossman

Executives from leading pet food companies, retailers and online platforms will close Petfood Forum 2019 on May 1 with a panel discussion on how to navigate today’s disruptive, continually morphing world of distributing and selling pet food. Other sessions during the conference will address omnichanneling – where and why pet owners now shop for pet food – plus tips for succeeding on Amazon and other e-commerce platforms and for designing your packaging for the digital world.

Petfood Forum takes place April 29-May 1 at the Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. In addition to the e-commerce and retailing-focused sessions, it includes a full program of other sessions offering the latest data on the pet food market and consumer trends, plus new research on pet food nutrition, ingredients, safety, processing and packaging. Attendees will also experience many networking opportunities and a large exhibit floor featuring leading industry suppliers of solutions for formulating, packaging, processing and testing pet food.

Petfood Forum program features pet food company executives

The executive panel on pet food e-commerce and retailing includes Nathan Marafioti, group director of e-commerce for Nestlé Purina North America. Pet food company executives will also participate in other panel discussions, including Jeff Johnston, senior vice president, research, innovation and product development for Champion Petfoods, and Brent Mayabb, D.V.M., chief veterinary officer and vice president of corporate affairs for Royal Canin, on a panel covering science vs. marketing in pet food product development; plus Jennifer Adolphe, R.D., Ph.D., nutrition manager for Petcurean Pet Nutrition, on another panel providing an update on canine dilated cardiomyopathy investigations and insights for the future.

Katy Nelson, D.V.M., host and executive producer of “The Pet Show with Dr. Katy,” will kick off the conference portion of Petfood Forum on April 30 with an opening keynote on how pet nutrition and health can nurture the human-pet bond. Besides omnichanneling, general sessions will cover the future of pet food premiumization, recent trends and projections for pet food litigation and results of an exclusive global survey of dog owners and their dog food purchasing decisions. Petfood Forum 2019 will also include four concurrent session tracks on pet food nutrition, ingredients, marketing and packaging, and safety and processing. The conference will showcase new research from university students and industry research posters, too.


Attendees at Petfood Forum can learn from many speakers, including Katy Nelson, D.V.M., host and executive producer of “The Pet Show with Dr. Katy." | Photo by John Grossman

Full session descriptions and speaker information, along with a list of exhibitors and information on how to register, are available at

Petfood Forum 2019 schedule (as of press time)

Monday, April 29

7:00 am-7:30 pm            Petfood Forum registration and check-in

10:00 am-5:30 pm          Petfood Forum exhibitor move-in

5:30-7:30 pm                   Petfood Forum and Petfood Innovation Workshop opening reception

Tuesday, April 30

7:30 am-5:30 pm            Petfood Forum registration desk open

7:30-8:30 am                   Breakfast

8:30-9:15 am                   Welcome and opening keynote: How nutrition and health can nurture the human-pet bond – Katy Nelson, D.V.M, “The Pet Show with Dr. Katy”

9:15-9:45 am                   General session: Premiumization: the evolution of pet food’s most important growth driver – Jared Koerten, Euromonitor

9:45-10:15                        General session: Pet food lawsuits: recent trends and the future of labeling litigation – Michael Annis, Husch Blackwell

9:30 am-5:30 pm            Exhibit hall open

10:15-10:45 am               Coffee break

10:15 am-1:00 pm          Time in exhibit hall – including Product Presentation Showcase

10:15-11:45 am               Paws for a break (visiting pet charities)

10:15-11:45 am               Petfood Forum Student Program paper presentations, part 1

11:45 am-1:00 pm          Lunch

1:00-4:00 pm                   Concurrent sessions


Pet food energy calculations: are inaccurate equations contributing to feline obesity? – Natalie Asaro, Petcurean Pet Nutrition

Glycemic index of different starches in dogs and cats – Lynn Weber, Ph.D., University of Saskatchewan

The role of beta-1,3/1,6 glucans in pet nutrition and health – George Fahey, Ph.D., University of Illinois

Learnings from the livestock industry that could potentially benefit pets – Karen Wedekind, Ph.D., Novus

Measuring cat food enjoyment: beyond intake ratio – Susan Jojola, Ph.D., AFB International


New pet food ingredient? What you need to do to use it legally in the U.S. – Susan Hays, AAFCO

Evaluation of black soldier fly larvae as a protein and fat source in pet foods – Ryan Yamka, Ph.D., Luna Science and Nutrition

Protein from wood: nutritional, economical, safe and sustainable ingredient for performance dogs and cats – Ricardo Ekmay, Ph.D., Arbiom

Ancient grains: what’s old is new again – Gary Davenport, Ph.D., ADM Animal Nutrition

Novel probiotic freeze-dried products as functional pet treats or pet food ingredients – J.J. Lin, Ph.D., Imagilin Technology


Pet food on Amazon and beyond: a playbook for e-commerce success – Mike Black, Profitero

Packaging for the digital world – Stefan Hartung, Kick

AAFCO pet food label modernization: what’s ahead? – David A. Dzanis, D.V.M., Ph.D., D.A.C.V.N., Regulatory Discretion

Pet food product claims that matter: 2019 pet parent survey results – Lisa Demme and Kathleen Crossman, FONA International

New recyclable structures for pet food packaging – Nancy Conley, NOVA Chemicals, and Dawn MacDonald, Emmerson Packaging


Evaluating commercial pet treat digestion and safety – Fei He, Ph.D., University of Illinois- Champaign

How storage time and antioxidants affect oxidation measures in frozen and freeze-dried meat patties – Megan Morts, Kansas State University

Innovation in pet food stabilization: selecting the right natural antioxidants for rendering meals and stabilizing pet foods from the beginning – Nicolas Coneggo, Diana-Videka Pet Food

Efficacy of specialty animal proteins for grain-free and limited ingredient diets – Will Henry, Extru-Tech Inc.

Oxidation and its challenges: making sense of animal protein meal oxidation values for pet food – B.J. Bench, Ph.D., Tyson Foods Ingredient Solutions Group, and Namal Senanayake, Ph.D., Camlin Fine Sciences N.A.

2:30-3:00 pm                   Coffee break

4:00-5:30 pm                   Reception

4:30-5:15 pm                   Industry research poster reception and student mixer

Wednesday, May 1

7:30 am-3:00 pm            Registration desk open

7:30-8:30 am                   Breakfast

8:30-9:15 am                   General session: Omnichanneling: the wheres and whys of shoppers’ channel choices for pet food – David Sprinkle, Packaged Facts

9:15-9:45 am                   General session: Choosing dog food: survey results of dog owners’ purchasing decisions – Maria Cattai de Godoy, Ph.D., University of Illinois-Champaign

8:30 am-3:00 pm            Exhibit hall open

9:45 am-1:45 pm            Time in exhibit hall – including Product Presentation Showcase

9:45 am -12:00 pm         Petfood Forum Student Program paper presentations, part 2

10:00-10:30 am               Coffee break

12:00-1:30 pm               Lunch

1:30-1:45 pm                   Dessert stations and announcement of Student Program paper award winners

1:45-2:55 pm                   Panel discussions

Science vs. marketing: what’s driving pet food product development? – Panel members include Jeff Alix, DSM Nutritional Products; Serge Boutet, SBNutrinnov Consultants; Jeff Johnston, Champion Petfoods; Brent Mayabb, D.V.M., Royal Canin

Update on canine DCM investigation: lessons learned, insights for the future – Panel members include Greg Aldrich, Ph.D. (moderator), Kansas State University; Jennifer Adolphe, R.D., Ph.D., Petcurean Pet Nutrition; William Burkholder, D.V.M., Ph.D., Food and Drug Administration; Chris Marinangeli, Ph.D., Pulse Canada; Anna Kate Shoveller, Ph.D., University of Guelph

The future of pet food and its consumers – Panel members include Marcel Blok, Change Stranamics; Maria Lange, Nielsen; Paul D. McKeithan, Buhler Group; Tom R. Willard, Ph.D., TRW Consulting Services

3:00-4:00 pm     Closing panel discussion: Pet food, retailer and e-commerce execs: the new world of selling pet food – Panel members include Ed Yuhas (moderator), Kincannon & Reed Executive Search; Nathan Marafioti, Nestle Purina North America; Brock Weatherup, Petco

4:00-5:00 pm                   Closing cocktail reception, Grand Ballroom D and patio


Find the latest on Petfood Forum 2019

Access an updated schedule and list of sessions:

See the exhibit hall floor map and exhibitor list:


Gain new insights on clean label technology at Petfood Innovation Workshop

Consumers are increasingly expecting transparency with the products they buy, creating a growing interest in clean pet food and pet treat labels. Do you need to change your logistics, production processes or labels to meet this market demand?

On Monday, April 29, Petfood Innovation Workshop will explore trends in transparency, the desire for improved communication through labels and how they match up with the technical, legal and logistical aspects of manufacturing modern pet foods to satisfy both pets and their owners.

Held in a food lab and test kitchen at the Kansas State University-Olathe campus, a short bus ride away from the Kansas City Convention Center, the workshop will feature interactive stations presented by leading industry suppliers. Stations include a look at consumer and market insights, presented by DSM Nutritional Products; processing, presented by 1 Solution Group; supply chain (using virtual reality), presented by Darling Ingredients; market overview, presented by Ingredion; mold/yeast inhibition, presented by Kerry Ingredients; packaging, presented by TC Transcontinental; and food safety and testing, presented by Maxxam Analytics.

For more information, visit

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