Pet food industry reconnects at Petfood Forum 2021

Petfood Forum 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri, USA, offers pet food professionals the opportunity to reconnect and learn, in person, for the first time in more than two years.

At Petfood Forum 2021, more than 300 leading pet food industry suppliers will showcase their products at services in the exhibit hall. l John Grossman, Images Photographics
At Petfood Forum 2021, more than 300 leading pet food industry suppliers will showcase their products at services in the exhibit hall. l John Grossman, Images Photographics

Scheduled for September 22-24 at the Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City, Missouri, USA, Petfood Forum 2021 offers pet food professionals the opportunity to reconnect and learn, in person, for the first time in more than two years. An on-demand version will also be available starting September 27.

Following an opening reception the evening of September 22, the conference portion of Petfood Forum will begin September 23 with a keynote by Tom Fishburne. A consumer goods marketing expert who shares his insights via his “Marketoonist” cartoons, Fishburne will explain how pet food “Davids” can compete against “Goliaths” using innovation—or to remain innovative Davids even within a larger, Goliath-like pet food company. Using his cartoons to illustrate important concepts about innovation, he will also share captions submitted by Petfood Forum registrants via social media for one of his blank cartoons.

Latest pet food research and insights, including from students

The conference will offer 25 other educational presentations, including general sessions on the pet food market, consumer perceptions and purchasing behaviors, and pet food intellectual property; concurrent session rooms on pet food sustainability, ingredient and nutrition research, and keeping pet food safe with technology; and panel discussions on fresh and human-grade pet food research, optimizing e-commerce and new research on cat nutrition. (A few speakers, unable to travel, will have the video recordings of their sessions played during Petfood Forum.)

Students from companion animal programs at leading universities will present their latest research, as will industry researchers. Petfood Forum will close with a session revealing the results of an exclusive consumer survey conducted by Jefferies and Petfood Industry on changes in pet ownership and consumer engagement post-pandemic.

Petfood Forum will also feature many networking opportunities, plus a large exhibit hall showcasing more than 300 industry suppliers of pet food ingredients, equipment, packaging materials, testing services and more. Top suppliers will present Pet Food Tech Talks demonstrating their latest products and technologies.

Petfood Forum 2021 agenda

(As of press time)

 Wednesday, Sept. 22

10 a.m.-6:30 p.m.           Registration

10 a.m.-5 p.m.                 Exhibitor move-in

5-7 p.m.                            Petfood Forum and Petfood Essentials opening reception

Thursday, Sept. 23

7 a.m.-5:30 p.m.             Registration

7 a.m.-2 p.m.                   Cash coffee bar

7-8 a.m.                            Breakfast

8-8:50 a.m.                      Welcome and opening keynote: Using innovation to be a pet food ‘David’ within a â€˜Goliath’—Tom Fishburne, Marketoonist

8:50-9:30 a.m.                 General session: Connecting with pet food consumers in a changing landscape—Michael Johnson, Finn Cady

9:30 a.m.-6 p.m.             Exhibit hall open

9:30-11:30 a.m.               Paws for a Break (visiting pet charities)

9:45-10:30 a.m.               Coffee break

9:45 a.m.-12 p.m.           Petfood Forum Student Program research presentations

10:05 a.m.-12 p.m.         Pet Food Tech Talk

12-1:30 p.m.                    Lunch

1:30-4:15 p.m.                 Concurrent sessions: Sustainability in pet food

Partnering with consumers to meet your sustainability goals via upcycling—Ben Gray, Upcycled Food Association, and Alex Waite, Shameless Pets

Innovative and sustainable pet food processing solutions—Brian Streit, Wenger Manufacturing

Lifecycle assessment and eco-design of pet food products—Aurelie de Ratuld, Ph.D., Diana Pet Food

Why a single path to sustainable pet food packaging may be barking up the wrong tree—Bill Barlow, Printpack

Assessing the environmental sustainability of common pet food protein sources—Caitlyn Dudas, Pet Sustainability Association

Mealworms as a sustainable ingredient for pet food and treats—Aimee Rudolph, Beta Hatch

1:30-4:15 p.m.                 Concurrent sessions: Ingredient and nutrition research

Innovation and alternative pet food proteins—Susanne Wiegel, Ph.D., Nutreco NuFrontiers

Black soldier fly larvae: Results of new adult maintenance feeding trial in dogs—Brad Ewankiw and Laura Metcalf, Enterra

Omega-3 phospholipids versus triglycerides in Alaskan Huskies—Lena Burri, Ph.D., Aker Biomarine

Postbiotic nutrition and functional metabolites to support pet health and well-being—Juan Gomez-Basauri, Ph.D., Alltech

Alternative plant protein for pet food: Barley protein concentrate—Lisa Schole, Evolve Consulting Group

Value additions to protein co-products for pet treats—Eric Altom, Ph.D., Balchem

1:30-4:15 p.m.                 Concurrent sessions: Keeping pet food safe with technology

Regulating popular pet food market trends—Melissa Hartley and Jennifer Howell, FONA International

Future crises warrant proactive and elevated preparation by pet food businesses—Judi Lazaro, AIB International

Mitigating the risks of unconventional and novel protein ingredients to ensure safe pet food—Ray Matulka, Ph.D., Burdock Group

Protecting your consumers: Mycotoxin best practices—Tracie Sheehan, Ph.D., Merieux NutriSciences

Industry 4.0 and smart data: Improving your pet food plant’s performance using big data—Pete Ensch, WEM Automation

High-pressure inactivation of enteric pathogens in raw pet foods—Alvin Lee, Ph.D., Institute for Food Safety and Health

2:35-3:05 p.m.                 Coffee break

4:15-6 p.m.                      Networking reception

4:30-6 p.m.                      Student and industry research poster meet-and-greet

Friday, Sept. 24

7 a.m.-2 p.m.                   Registration

7 a.m.-2 p.m.                   Cash coffee bar

7-8 a.m.                            Breakfast

8 a.m.-2 p.m.                   Exhibit hall open

8-8:30 a.m.                      General session: Consumer conceptions about pet food formats: Kibble, canned, alternative—David Sprinkle, Packaged Facts

8:30-9 a.m.                      General session: Intellectual property update: Turn your pet food IP rights into a competitive advantage—Douglas Robinson and Leanne Rakers, Harness, Dickey & Pierce

9:15-10:30 a.m.               Panel session 1: Fresh/human-grade pet food research and executive roundtable: Why digestibility, the microbiome and other factors differ—Kelly Swanson, Ph.D., University of Illinois; Donna Raditic, DVM, DACVN, Nutrition and Integrative Medicine Consultants; Martha Cline, DVM, DACVN, Red Bank Veterinary Hospitals; plus for the Q&A: Gerardo Perez-Camargo, DVM, PhD., Freshpet; Oscar Chavez, BVetMed, MRCVS, JustFoodForDogs; Justin Shmalberg, DVM, DACVN, DAVSMR, NomNomNow

9:15-10:30 a.m.               Panel session 2: Optimizing the e-commerce boom for your pet food business—Megan Lippert, OneSpace; Renee Streeter, DVM, BSM Partners; Adhithi Aji, Adrich

9:15-10:30 a.m.               Panel session 3: Cats are unique creatures: New nutrition research—Susan Jojola, Ph.D., and Chris Wildman, Ph.D., AFB International; Alexandra Rankovic, University of Guelph; Emma Bermingham, Ph.D., AgResearch

10:05-11:40 a.m.            Pet Food Tech Talks

10:30-11 a.m.                  Coffee break

10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.         Petfood Forum Student Program presentations

12-1:15 p.m.                    Lunch

1:15-2 p.m.                      Closing session: Exclusive consumer research: Pet ownership and consumer engagement post-pandemic—Steph Wissink, Jefferies


Petfood Forum 2021 updatespetfood-reconnect-reception

John Grossman | Images Photographics


Exhibit floor:


Petfood Essentials provides deep dive into ingredients

Petfood Essentials: Ingredients, product positioning, supply chain, scheduled for September 22 at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown, will offer in-depth information and insights on the main ingredients used in pet food, how they are selected for formulations, processed, incorporated into production and ensured to be safe.

Participants will rotate through five sessions led by industry experts on pet food product positioning and claims; the major ingredient categories and their key properties and benefits; sourcing, sub-assembly and upstream processing; ingredients’ effects on pet food processing, and vice versa; and safety, traceability and testing of ingredients.

Petfood Essentials will also offer networking with industry sponsors as well as other pet food professionals during meals, coffee breaks and a mixer. For more information, visit



Petfood Forum on demand, health and safety in Kansas City

For pet food professionals unable to travel to Kansas City for Petfood Forum 2021, an on-demand version will be available beginning September 27. This registration will include on-demand recordings of all conference sessions and Pet Food Tech Talks from suppliers, plus access to a one-on-one scheduler for online meetings, an attendee list, student and industry research posters and exhibitors’ digital showrooms. To register, visit

For the in-person conference, Petfood Forum, the Kansas City Convention Center and Kansas City Health Department will have protocols in place to ensure everyone’s health and safety. As of press time, a mask mandate for indoors is in effect in Kansas City. Masks will be provided by Petfood Forum, along with numerous hand sanitizer stations; registration, session rooms and meals will be set up to allow for physical distancing between participants.

For more information on safety policies and protocols, visit

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