Friday, May 29, 2009

Pet market holds up despite economy

Despite the recession, the American Pet Products Assn. estimates Americans will spend $45.4 billion on pets in 2009, up 5.1% from last year, according to an article from BusinessWeek.
Proof of the recession-resistant market is
PetSmart, whose stocks from the beginning of 2009 have risen 21%.
PetSmart beat expectations by controlling expenses and driving traffic to its stores through sales and other promotions, according to analyst Mike Baker, in addition to the need-based nature of petfood.
"We are executing well despite the economic climate and continue to define the pet specialty customer experience," chairman and chief executive Philip Francis told analysts in the article.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Greenies restricted to veterinarians, specialty retailers

Nutro Products Inc. has restricted the sale of Greenies, canine and feline dental chews, to veterinary hospitals and pet specialty retailers, according to a FAQ section on Nutro’s Web site.
Pet owners suggested that the treats were too difficult to digest because when some pets swallowed the chews whole, the treats became lodged in the pets’ throats.
However, the company created a new
Veterinary Oral Health Council-approved, 96% digestible formula for the chews in 2006. Since the reformulation, no problems with the chews have been reported.
The Web site stated the reason for the restriction: “Each of the five sizes [of Greenies] is specially formulated to deliver the maximum dental benefit to each weight range.”
“Pet medical professionals at veterinary hospitals and well-trained, knowledgeable staff at pet specialty stores are best equipped to ... make the right recommendation,” Carolyn Hanigan, vice president of marketing at Nutro.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Nutro issues voluntary cat food recall

Nutro Products announced a voluntary recall of select varieties of Natural Choice Complete Care Dry Cat Foods and Max Cat Dry Foods with “Best If Used By" dates between May 12, 2010, and August 22, 2010, according to a statement on the Nutro Web site.
The cat food is being recalled in the US and 10 additional countries, but the recall does not include dog food.
The recall is due to incorrect levels of zinc and potassium in Nutro’s finished product resulting from a production error by a US-based premix supplier.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

AVMA and Hill’s unite to curb obesity

The American Veterinary Medical Association and Hill’s Pet Nutrition teamed up to create a series of short videos addressing pet and owner obesity.
The videos, available under the
"Training Room" tab at, were compiled in order to combat the reported 54 million overweight pets, according to the introduction video. The videos feature personal trainer and dog owner Gunnar Peterson.
Hill’s also promotes their Science Diet and Prescription Diet on the website to aid weight loss, tapping into the diet petfood market that annually rakes in an approximated $13 billion.

Petfood donations becoming critical during downturn and the WellPet Foundation are each donating 5,000 pounds of dog food to the Pooch Pantry in Mundelein, Illinois, USA, according to an article from
The pantry helps financially strapped families feed their pets, according to the article.
The goal is to feed as many dogs as possible by keeping the petfood bank stocked for months, said Anthony Holloway, owner.
Also, Pedigree donated 500 pound of petfood after Friday Night Live, a Corning, California, USA, teen group that helps out local seniors, discovered they were sharing part of their Meals on Wheels food with their pets because they could not afford to buy petfood, according to
Corning Observer.
The group asked petfood manufacturers to help, and
Pedigree responded with a donation of gift certificates for 500 pounds of dog food, said FNL leader Tina Zastrow.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Maine votes on tax increase for petfood

Maine's Senate Agriculture Committee has passed a preliminary proposal to increase the petfood tax by 1%. If signed into law, petfood in Maine would be taxed 6% as opposed to 5% for most other products.
The Washington D.C.-based
Pet Food Institute issued a statement saying, “PFI will mount a major effort to mobilize consumers, retailers, pet groups, business groups and others to fight this.”
The bill is scheduled for a vote in the state Senate followed by a House vote. An outcome on the proposal is expected by the end of June.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Menu Foods stocks, sales increase

Menu Foods Income Fund reported its first gain in profits since its petfood contamination lawsuit in 2007, according to a Canadian Press article.
The company’s stocks increased by 25% in the first quarter of 2009 to a 52-week high of CAN$1.68 (US$1.44) on the
Sales also increased from CAN $55.6 million (US $47.75 million) to CAN $84.1 million (US $72.2 million), which the company attributed to three price increases as well as a 6.7% rise in the volume of can and pouch sales, according to the article.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Petfood manufacturers combat price increases

Manufacturers and distributors are in a difficult position as customers mistakenly blame them for intentionally increasing petfood prices when in reality production costs are going up, according to an article from The Greeley Tribune.
“People kept attacking us, but our markup is the same. We’re not increasing our prices — it’s the companies we buy from,” said Josh Saunders, of
Poudre Pet & Feed Supply.
Several brands, including
Nutro and Hill’s, have turned to cutting reward programs, downsizing packages, levying fuel surcharges, and/or increasing prices in the final product order to balance the increased production costs.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Petfood manufacturer sponsors vet fund

ZuPreem, an exotic pet and animal food manufacturer, announced the sponsorship of the Ben Cote Veterinary Scholarship Fund.
The fund annually awards research grants to the nation’s top veterinary students to complete innovative studies in the areas of canine cancer, human-animal bond, and pet relinquishment issues.
“This scholarship fund helps keep this spirit alive and reminds us of the importance pets make in our everyday life,” said David Morris, president of ZuPreem.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Petfood market still growing

According to the recently released Pet Food Manufacturers Association annual report on the condition of the petfood industry in the UK, sales showed a 7% increase in value for 2008.
Hill's Pet Nutrition reported petood sales by unit volume were down 7% in its first quarter, but pricing increases led to sales increasing 0.5%, with particular volume growth in Russia, Germany, Turkey, the Benelux countries and Austria.
Also in the first quarter,
Nestle PetCare saw 11.5% organic growth and 5% real internal growth.

Friday, May 15, 2009

PFI develops model for safe petfood manufacturing

The Pet Food Institute (PFI), the trade association for many US petfood companies, recently released a set of model principles for its members, intended to provide guidance for safe manufacture of petfood products.
The “Model Commercial Pet Food Manufacturing Principles” were developed by PFI members over a period of one and a half years. Their efforts originated from the recommendations of the National Pet Food Commission, which
PFI formed after the 2007 US petfood recalls.
PFI’s Product Safety Subcommittee, chaired by Jerry May of P&G Pet Care, developed the model principles, along with a “Model Salmonella Control System for Non-Hermetically Sealed Products.”
“The PFI board proactively addressed changing consumer attitudes on food safety by developing these documents for one of the most highly regulated of all food products: petfood,” says Duane Ekedahl, president of PFI. “These documents are the product of a careful assessment of industry practices and are intended to provide added assurance of the safety of petfood products.”
The model principles cover various aspect of product manufacturing including:
*Emergency preparedness;
*Plant security;
*Sourcing of materials;
*Storage and distribution;
*Consumer relations; and
*Record keeping.
The principals are intended to be flexible and considered as guidance only, PFI says. Their application is voluntary and will differ according to the size, nature and complexity of the organization involved.
The model Salmonella control system is a practical expansion of the model principles and could be expanded for other specific pathogens, according to PFI.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Vegan-based pets diets gaining popularity

Vegan-based diets for pets are gaining in popularity as some vegan owners are deciding that they want their pets to adopt a similar diet to their own.
Mainstream public opinion, including other vegans, hasn't offered much support, given the fact that dogs are omnivores and cats are carnivores: some require nutrients not found in human diets, vegan or otherwise.
Despite this fact, some petfood companies have made their niche selling vegan petfood, such as the Minnesota-based,
Evolution and Canada-based, Medi-Cal Royal Canine.
Some veterinarians are skeptical of the idea, pointing to the fact that owners and their pets are completely different species; each requiring their own specialized diet and nutrition.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Company donates 5,000 treats to Animal Rescue Inc.

Stella and Chewy’s, a natural, raw petfood company, donated 5,000 Carnivore Kisses dog treats to Animal Rescue Inc. at the recent H.H. Backer spring trade show, according to a press release from the company.
Animal Rescue Inc. is a nonprofit organization located in metro Baltimore, Md., USA.
“As an independent animal welfare organization we rely on the care and support of companies such as Stella and Chewy’s,” said Phil Staelens, Animal Rescue Inc. director. “We take these donations to heart to keep our organization going strong.”

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

FDA seizes ingredients from herb supplier

The American Mercantile Corporation was raided May 7 after FDA investigators discovered evidence of rodent and insect infestation throughout the company's warehouse in March, according to a statement from the FDA.
The FDA proceeded to seize $1.5 million worth of ingredients from the company after it failed to correct the contamination problems. The seized articles include food products such as sarsaparilla, spearmint leaves, cornstarch, sweet orange peels powder, licorice powder, sassafras, and salt, according to the statement.
American Mercantile is the parent company of
Herbs for Horses, according to a press release on the Herbs for Horses Web site, which is an herbal product company for the equine and pet market. The ownership affiliation between the company and American Mercantile may prompt questions about whether contaminated ingredients are in finished pet products.
The FDA said there are no reports of illness associated with consumption of the products containing American Mercantile-sourced ingredients.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Possible carcinogen found in Chinese products

Hydrolyzed leather protein, known as a possible carcinogen, was found in batches of dairy products in Jinhua City, Zhejiang Province, according to an article from The Epoch Times.
An anonymous letter was sent to authorities exposing the illegal practice to boost the apparent protein content of its product, according to the article, and was later confirmed by tests that the products contained the protein.
Morning Garden, the company who produces the dairy products, is a food manufacturing company based in Lanxi City.
Experts said that leather protein is similar to melamine but different in that leather protein is harder to detect because it is a real protein that is also toxic, according to the article.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Petfood Forum 2009 posters and videos available online

During Petfood Forum 2009, several petfood scientists presented their latest research on processing, safety, feeding trials and other key topics. The posters are now available online.
This was the first time Petfood Forum included such scientific posters.
Also during the event, a team of video editors interviewed speakers, exhibitors and attendees about their work and businesses, as well as their experiences at Petfood Forum. View all the videos here.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Unicharm Petcare Corp. stock prices rise

Japan-based Unicharm Petcare Corp. stock prices rose 5.5% after the petfood maker reported 27.4% growth in its operating profit for the year that ended in March, according to an article from Forbes.
The demand for the company’s products increased with more people in Japan owning pets, causing Unicharm’s operating profit to rise 6.6 billion yen (US$68 million) in 2008.
Unicharm expects its operating profit for this financial year to increase another 6.2%.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Former teacher opens homemade petfood business

Lynn "Nahnee" LaPointe, who worked as an educator in the Van Buren Public Schools for 27 years, has opened Nahnee's Nibbles, a business in Wayne, Mich., that provides homemade meals for pets, according to an article from The Belleville View.
The inspiration for
Nahnee's Nibbles came after LaPointe's dog Bear was experiencing digestive issues and his veterinarian recommended a temporary diet of ground beef and rice. Because Bear responded so well to a natural food diet, LaPointe decided to develop other recipes.
"Nahnee's Nibbles has a collection of recipes offering a flavorful variety to suit a pet's individual tastes preferences and are sure to please even the most discriminating tastes," said Karen Reich, business partner and daughter of LaPointe.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

FDA releases final substance guidance for feed

The FDA has issued a final document, “Small Entities Compliance Guide for Renderers – Substances Prohibited from use in Animal Food or Feed,” to provide guidance on the requirements of the final rule, according to an update from the administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.
This rule is in an effort to protect consumers against
bovine spongiform encephalopathy, otherwise known as “mad cow disease.”
The guidance’s purpose is to help rendering firms comply with the rule that became effective April 27 of this year. The guidance should also help slaughter facilities and farms supplying offal and dead livestock to the renderers understand their obligations under the rule.
A copy of the final guidance can be found at

Monday, May 4, 2009

Petfood company sponsors ‘Bow-Wow Bailout’

Dogswell, a petfood company in Los Angeles, Calif., is sponsoring the nationwide Bow-Wow Bailout in order to help struggling pet owners who can’t afford to feed their pets, according to an article on
From now through May 15, the company will offer one free bag of dry dog food to the first 10,000 eligible people.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Nutro, FDA deny investigation

Nutro Products Inc. has denied that the company is being investigated by the FDA despite an anonymous FDA official affirming the investigation, according to an article on
But a spokesperson from the FDA denied the investigation as well, according to an
article from Action News Detroit.
“Normally, we do not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation,” the spokesperson said to Action News. “In this situation, though, it's unfair to the company to leave the implication out there, so I want to state that there is no investigation currently underway into Nutro products."Rumors have been circulating on the Internet claiming that Nutro made pets sick, but Nutro is assuring consumers that its petfood is safe.