Friday, July 3, 2015

Study: Pet ownership can benefit older adults

Research published in Activities, Adaption & Aging calls for increased understanding about older adults, the relationship between pet ownership and health, and the current barriers which limit older adults’ chances to own a pet. The study, “Fostering the Human-Animal Bond for Older Adults,” goes into detail about physical and financial risks for older adult pet ownership and how it can be diminished.
Medical problems that arise with older adults, such as physical illness and emotional issues, have the potential to be mitigated by companionship of pets because it reduces social isolation and enhances physical activity. But illnesses that are often associated with aging, ranging from arthritis to diabetes, make it hard or impossible for older adults to provide routine care for their pets. Financial barriers are another issue that older pet owners face.
In the article, the researchers describe these common issues affecting older adults, particularly those living alone. They tell a story about Janet, a 75-year old obese woman who has diabetes and arthritis, but really wants a cat for company. Though she described herself as a “cat lady,” she worries about the monetary investment and the fate of the feline should she fall ill or pass away.
When asked about what sparked the study, author Keith Anderson from the University of Montana commented “As a geriatric social work researcher, I’ve always been interested in finding creative, cost effective ways to improve the lives and well-being of older adults … My co-authors direct the Veterinary Outreach Program, affiliated with The Ohio State University, which provides mobile wellness care for the pets of older adults and/or homebound residents. Our interests overlapped and we began to discuss ways in which we could link pets in shelters with older adults who may benefit from pet ownership.”
The study was funded by the WALTHAM Foundation.
The researchers found that programs are beginning to arise to overcome these obstacles. “Programs are emerging that facilitate the adoption of pets by older adults. These programs match older adults with adult shelter animals and provide support throughout the adoption and ownership processes.” Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks that these programs need to overcome, but the authors seem hopeful about finding potential solutions: “Lower-income older adults often live in buildings where there are fees and deposits associated with owning pets. We need creative solutions to address these financial barriers.”
 “Future researchers should continue to explore the human-animal bond for older adult populations, particularly for those with cognitive, physical, and financial limitations. There is so much potential benefit here for both pets and potential pet owners” wrote the research team.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Protein For Pets launches raw dog food line

Protein For Pets (P4P), the rapidly expanding company that is revolutionizing the way people shop for natural pet food and supplies, is launching P4P Naked, an exclusive brand of raw dog food that will be available in its stores beginning July 2015.
The introduction of P4P Naked marks the latest of many steps Protein For Pets is taking to become even more eco- and economically friendly. P4P Naked raw dog foods are made in California and sold in California. In addition, the P4P Naked brand stimulates and strengthens the local economy because all dollars spent start and stay in California.
“As Protein For Pets continues to grow, we are taking significant strides to further enhance our easy, one-of-a-kind customer-friendly experience as well as help the environment,” said founder and CEO Marco Giannini, who plans to open at least four more locations this year. “We are thrilled to introduce P4P Naked to consumers who are looking for a top-quality raw dog food option that is both unique and cost-effective.”
“Just as with humans, there are many benefits dogs reap from eating a healthy diet. Shinier coats, healthier skin, higher energy levels, cleaner teeth and smaller stools are just some of the advantages dogs will experience as a result of eating raw food such as P4P Naked,” said Giannini. “In addition, and equally important, eating raw foods supports a healthy planet. The earth benefits from utilizing simpler food sources while great amounts of natural resources are spared.”
Among its new P4P Naked offerings, Protein For Pets will feature USDA Organic Chicken for dogs that is Non-GMO Project Verified and Step 3: Enhanced Outdoor Access. There is also a P4P Naked raw turkey for dogs that is hormone- and antibiotic free. Both the P4P Naked organic chicken and raw turkey for dogs are available in two-pound rolls.
But that is only the beginning. The forward-thinking company will also have a selection of P4P Naked dry kibble choices that are available in drop-down gravity dispensers and then packaged in recyclable bags. This allows Protein For Pets customers to choose the amount of food they want to purchase at a given time. The foods, which include grain-free chicken, chicken and brown rice and lamb and brown rice, all have no wheat, corn, soy or animal by-product meals.
The trend-setting company will also sell reusable food bags which customers can continue to bring to the store when they need to fill up during future visits. Offering customers the opportunity to purchase P4P Naked in bulk enables them to save even more. Fewer trips to the store requires less fuel which is a win-win for the planet as well as for pet parents’ wallets.
Protein For Pets has stores open in Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Ventura, Anaheim, Rancho Cucamonga, Laguna Niguel, San Clemente, Rancho San Diego and Santa Clarita. Having recently successfully secured additional funding through CircleUp, the ambitious company plans to further expand throughout California, and eventually the West Coast of the United States.
 Formed in early 2014, Protein For Pets was created to fill a void in the retail landscape for an independent pet food and supply store that is strictly driven by customers’ needs and convenience while also making the increasingly important natural pet food and supply concept more accessible to people of all income levels. With an emphasis on supporting health and the environment, Protein For Pets is dedicated to promoting its motto of “Happy Pets, Healthy Planet.”

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Humanization driving trends in pet food

American pet owners want the best for their pets, so much so that the pet food category is experiencing a trend in humanization evolving beyond flavors to ensuring nutritional benefits, ingredient quality and manufacturing standards are as high as human food.
Highlighting the impact this growth has had on American pet owners, new research from Mintel reveals that one-quarter of pet owners worry that the pet food they buy is making their pet obese.
Furthermore, 55% of all pet owners agree they worry about filler ingredients in pet food, including grains and meat byproducts. As pets are increasingly considered members of the family for many Americans, standards for pet food, including treats -- the fastest-growing segment in the pet food category -- are on the rise.
70% of households own a pet
Pet ownership is widespread in the US, with 70% of all households owning any type and any number of pets. The number of US households that dote after a single pet is 26%, dropping down to 19% of households owning two pets and 25% owning three or more. Among those who own pets, dogs are the most popular, with 73% of American pet owners owning a dog. As expected, cats are the second most popular pet, with 51% of all American pet owners owning a cat. America’s third most popular pet is fish with 17% ownership among total pet ownership. Pet ownership of small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and other types of pets, lags behind with less than 10% ownership.
Owners of other pets, excluding dogs and cats, are more likely to own three or more pets, reflecting the ease of ownership for these smaller, often caged pets. Households with children have considerably higher rates of pet ownership than those that do not. In fact, 84% of households with children under the age of 18 own pets compared with 63% of those with no children under age 18 in the home.
Diet and nutrition are top concerns for pet owners 
Forty-five percent of American pet owners consider whether their pet would like the taste of the pet food they buy as the most important factor in their purchase decision. Second is overall price, which 42% of pet owners identify as an important factor. Products made in the US and natural product offerings are also top purchase considerations for consumers (36% and 32% respectively). While pet owners’ interest in taste reflects perceptions of pets as family members, a growing trend Mintel has identified in American pet owners, overall price will limit the capacity for consumers to upgrade to premium-priced products.
Regarding pet nutrition, American pet owners are as concerned with what is not in their pet’s food as what is. More than half (55%) of pet owners are concerned about the amount of filler ingredients in pet food, such as grains and meat by-products. Nearly as many (49%) feel that the best diet for their pet is a “wild” diet - allowing their pet to eat only what they would have eaten in the wild, such as all-meat diets without artificial ingredients. Interest in pet foods that resemble “wild” diets is highest among millennial pet owners, 56% of whom agree that such diets are best for their pets compared with 47% overall.
Pet owners also express interest in organic diets for their pets with 39% agreeing that organic pet food options are better than non-organic options. Millennials are more inclined (37%) to worry than older generations that the pet food they are buying is making their pet obese (compared with 25% overall). Furthermore, millennials are more inclined (34%) to prepare their pet’s food from scratch (compared to 23% overall).
“The perception that pets are members of the family will continue to define the humanization trend in 2015 and drive price increases in the pet food category in the future. Manufacturers should note that the pet food humanization trend translates into pet owners wanting the same quality and safety standards for pet food as for their own food,” said Amy Kraushaar, US category manager, food and drink and foodservice, at Mintel. “As far as nutrition is concerned, some pet owners express interest in foods that cater to pet-specific diets, such as what their pets would have eaten in the wild. This entails reformulating products to be without grains, artificial ingredients or meat by-products. Consumer interest in pet food that meets human criteria for food health, safety and nutrition will drive pricing, particularly in the wake of ongoing concerns related to pet food recalls. Pet foods with specific attributes that mirror human food trends, like gluten-free, organic and locally sourced, may attract less price-conscious pet owners.”
Pet owners are highly satisfied with the brands of pet food they purchase, with 55% of pet owners reporting they are completely satisfied with their current brand. Experimentation with new pet foods is uncommon among US pet owners, with just 28% saying they sometimes experiment with other pet food brands. As few as one-fifth of pet owners (22%) would be interested in buying variety packs -- which allow them the opportunity to test out new products before switching brands entirely -- but this may be driven by desire for new flavors versus wholly new products or brands, and only 20% have changed pet food brands in the past 12 months.
Treats communicate love from owners
Pet treats are closely associated with the affection pet owners feel for their pets, with 45% of pet owners reporting treats are their way of showing their pet they love them. Mintel research shows that treat-giving behavior as a demonstration of affection increases with pet owner age: 49% of owners age 55-64 see pet treats as a way to show love, compared with just 41% of owners age 18-24. Nearly half of dog owners (48%) give treats daily, compared with 28% of cat owners. Habitual dog treat usage may relate to the role treats play in dog training.
Interestingly, few pet owners rely on the same brand for both pet food and pet treats, as just 16% of American pet owners use the same brand of treats as food. Mintel research suggests that pet owners likely buy different brands of treats and food because they hold treats and food to different standards. While food has to provide nutrition as well as taste, pet treats only have to be enjoyed by pets. Accordingly, 22% of pet owners look for unique flavors and ingredients in their pet treats to appeal to their pets.
“Treats are the fastest growing segment in the pet food category. Because treats are used primarily to demonstrate pet owners’ emotional involvement with their pet, pet owners assess treats more for the flavors and indulgence they offer versus nutrition – which they rely on pet food to provide. Pet treats that leverage this alternate need have more potential to grow,” said Kraushaar.
Humanization leads to market growth
Total US sales of the pet food category were $21 billion in 2014, an increase of 0.4%. Mintel forecasts the pet food market will grow to $22.8 billion in 2019, an increase of 9% from 2014.
 “Sales growth in the pet food category in 2014 was limited by lagging rates of American pet ownership. Demographic factors similarly showed slowed growth; households with children, which are most likely to own pets, continued to decline as millennials delay marriage and childbirth. Flat wages undercut expectations that premiumization would drive growth. While pet owners continue to see pets as members of their family, the humanization trend in pet food will more likely involve pet owners looking to healthier pet foods without filler ingredients rather than trading up to premium-priced products,” said Kraushaar.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

PetSmart lays off workers at Phoenix headquarters

PetSmart plans to lay off 15% of its employees at its headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, according to reports.
The company was bought by a private equity consortium led by BC Partners Ltd. for US$8.7 billion in March 2015. Along with the sale, PetSmart’s CEO David K. Lenhardt was replaced by Michael J. Massey.
“We are focusing our efforts right now on PetSmart’s future growth,” a company spokeswoman said in a report. “We identified priority areas of the business where we need to invest additional resources. And as part of this, we also identified areas where we need to gain efficiency.”
“This is an important step to ensure that we are staying true to our commitment to become a highly efficient retailer and to further invest in the future growth of the company,” the spokeswoman said.
PetSmart employs 53,000 people at more than 1,400 stores in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico. About 1,700 people work at the headquarters. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Petco launches on-demand delivery service

Petco has launched PetcoNow, the first on-demand delivery service in the pet specialty retail category. Powered by Instacart in a first-of-its-kind partnership, the service gives pet parents the ability to access all of the Petco quality pet products they need, delivered directly to their door in as little as one hour.
"In today's on-demand retail economy, customers expect to have the world at their fingertips," said Brad Weston, Petco executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. "PetcoNow represents an evolution in the way we're able to provide quality products and customer service to pet parents. Combining our 50-year heritage, expertise and retail footprint with strategic partnerships ensures we stay at the forefront of innovation in today's changing marketplace."
Available now in select markets, the service provides customers with a selection of approximately 13,000 Petco products – including all food (dry kibble, wet, fresh, frozen, freeze-dried), treats, toys and supplies for pets ranging from dogs and cats to fish and birds. Accessible through both an easy-to-use web portal and mobile app, PetcoNow serves US pet parents in Atlanta, Georgia; Austin, Texas; Boston, Massachusetts; Boulder, Colorado; Chicago, Illinois; Denver, Colorado; Houston, Texas; Los Angeles, California; Miami, Florida; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Portland, Oregon; San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; and Washington, D.C.
Additionally, Petco and Instacart are excited to announce expanded delivery zones in Miami and Chicago beginning June 23 and 30 respectively.
"In January, we introduced Petco as Instacart's first non-grocery retail partner, and we have continued to see growth," said Apoorva Mehta, founder and CEO of Instacart. "Through our partnership, Petco is able to offer customers the ease and convenience of on-demand delivery without the need to handle the logistics themselves. We're excited to expand this offering to pet owners and will be introducing additional markets later this year." 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Coveris acquires Latin American plastics company

Coveris Holdings S.A., a global packaging and coatings solutions company, has acquiredOlefinas, an agricultural plastics company with operations in Guatemala and Mexico. 
Entering Latin America supports Coveris’ initiative to providing a full range of packaging solutions for agricultural products. This is the second new geographic market Coveris has entered in the past six weeks, after the recently announced acquisition of Elldex, a full-service flexible packaging company in New Zealand.
Olefinas manufactures packaging solutions for a full range of agricultural products, including tree bags, labels, twine and aging ribbons for the banana industry, as well as mulch and fumigation films, insect traps, modified atmospheric packaging and shrink films. Since 1959, Olefinas has been the pioneer of banana plastics and produces more than 300 million pounds of high-value-added products annually dedicated to enhancing crop yield.
“We consistently look for opportunities to better serve our growing customer base and expanding our market reach,” said Gary Masse, Coveris CEO.
Olefinas has more than 600 employees across its two locations in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and San Luis Potosi, Mexico.  Capitalizing on Coveris’ global strengths and Olefinas’ agricultural market expertise, this Latin America-based operation will be rebranded as COVERIS-Olefinas.
“Olefinas is thrilled to become part of this growing, global packaging company,” said Clayton McNeel of Olefinas. “Olefinas has enjoyed tremendous success in our markets, and we are excited to continue our journey with Coveris.” 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Growing pet ownership seeks excitement in pets’ diets

Pet ownership in the US has hit an all-time high, with 78 million dogs and 86 million cats in 65% of households, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA).
APPA says 80 million households in the US have a pet, including 8 million that are new pet owners. Thirty-three percent of minority households now have a dog or cat, also an all-time high.
The high rate of pet ownership means pet food sales will keep rising. Packaged Facts estimates that domestic pet food sales will rise 16% from 2015 to 2018 to reach $33 billion. Packaged Facts says frozen/refrigerated cat and dog food and cat treats led volume gains in 2014. The global pet care products market was $90 billion in 2014, according to Euromonitor.
In the US in 2014, 95% of dog owners bought dry food, 37% bought wet food, 34% bought both, and 78% bought biscuits/treats. Ninety-five percent of cat owners bought dry food, 51% bought wet food, 47% bought both, and 44% bought treats. Premium products made up for 42% of pet food sales.
Fifty-two percent of pet owners say they are looking for no byproducts in the pet food products they purchase, 50% are looking for all natural, and 47% are looking for real meat as the No. 1 ingredient.
Trends show pet owners are looking for exciting flavors and textures for their pets, such as gravies, juices, cheese and bacon.