Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Stella & Chewy's donates petfood to New York, Illinois, Wisconsin animal shelters

Stella & Chewy’s donated six, 50-pound boxes of freeze-dried chicken to animal shelters in New York, Illinois and Wisconsin, USA.
“It’s wonderful to get a donation from Stella & Chewy’s, helping us reduce costs in the foster program. Good nutrition is key to maintaining health in shelter settings – what a great two-fer,” said Mary Haight, Lake Shore Animal Shelter board vice president.
In addition, Stella & Chewy’s gave away its Carnivore Kisses to each dog at the PAWS Chicago Fur Ball gala, which hosted more than 750 guests and their canine companions at the Drake Hotel in Chicago, USA.

PetFlow offers 70 brands of petfood, customizable delivery schedule

PetFlow is an online petfood retailer that allows pet owners to have petfood delivered directly to their homes.
PetFlow offers 70 brands of dog and cat food/treats that ship in the US for a flat-rate delivery fee of US$4.95. Customers can select food by type, brand and characteristics, or they can receive petfood recommendations from the site. Customers can also create a customized delivery schedule. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Canidae Natural Pet Food Co. announces support of Pink Ribbon Puppies calendar

Canidae Natural Pet Food has announced its support of the 2011 Pink Ribbon Puppies calendar created to aid in the fight against breast cancer.
The calendar is a fundraising project; funds raised will go toward breast cancer research. "We are thrilled to share with you a wonderful and inspiring project that has been put together by a long-time member of the Canidae breeder program," said Suzanne Alicie, Canidae Responsible Pet Ownership blog author. "While the Pink Ribbon Puppies website may appear to be just an adorable site with puppies on it, there is a serious and touching story behind it."
The calendar features a litter of Canidae-fed lab puppies, born in September. When one of the co-owners of the litter's dam was diagnosed with breast cancer, the other co-owner decided to support her friend via this project. More information on the calendar can e found at the Pink Ribbon Puppies website.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

American Consumer Satisfaction Index for petfood drops 1% for third quarter

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI)  for petfood fell 1% for the third quarter to 83, but remained one of the highest scoring products with no company ever scoring below 79.
After almost two years of stalling scores, the overall ASCI also fell 0.3%, bringing it to 75.7 on a 0-100 point scale. The top scorers among petfood manufacturers were Mars Petcare, whose score rose 2% to 85, and Del Monte Foods, whose score rose 4% to 83. Iam's consumer satisfaction score dropped 6% to 80 with complaints of decreased quality, putting them at the bottom of the industry. The index for Colgate-Palmolive’s Hill’s Pet Nutrition rose 3%, while Nestle Purina PetCare's index fell 5%, resulting in a score of 82 for both companies.
“Periods of stalling ACSI growth have often been followed by weak, and sometimes negative, GDP growth,” said Professor Claes Fornell, founder of the ACSI and author of The Satisfied Customer. “Consumer spending is unlikely to exhibit much of an increase unless bond buying by the Federal Reserve leads to more employment, inflation, consumer confidence and higher stock prices. With the drop in ACSI, consumer spending for the final quarter of 2010 does not look like it will improve enough to spur much economic growth.”

Natural Balance selects winning dogs for Rose Bowl parade float

Natural Balance Pet Foods selected five winning dogs to ride on the "World's Heaviest Float" in the New Year's Day Rose Bowl parade.
More than 100 dogs auditioned for the chance to participate in two activities on the float: dock diving and skimboarding. Three dogs were chosen for the dock diving portion of the float, including a black Lab named Sammi Jane, an Australian Shepherd named Juice and the oldest dog in the competition, a mixed breed named Bubbles. The two dogs chosen to skimboard on the float were a Bulldog named Sir Hollywood and a Jack Russell Terrier named Porter.

Waltham Symposium discussed petfood industry advances

The three-day Waltham International Nutritional Sciences Symposium concluded on September 18 in Cambridge, England, bringing together nearly 250 researchers to discuss advances in pet nutrition, petfood safety and weight management.
Participants were offered presentations on many subjects, including the effects of diet on intestinal bacteria, the potential for enhancing a cat's immune system by dietary supplements, the association between vitamin D and certain tumors in Labrador Retrievers and the problems that diets consisting of bones and raw foods can present for dogs. Two themed sessions were also offered, exploring the challenges in developing nutritional guidelines for pets and analyzing issues related to food safety in the petfood industry.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Eagle Pack named official sponsor of 2011 Iditarod dog race

Eagle Pack Natural Pet Food became the official dog food sponsor of the 2011 Iditarod Trail sled dog race.
As official sponsor, Eagle Pack will supply dog food along the trail and will dedicate funds to the health and care of the Iditarod dogs. The Iditarod Trail race runs more than 1,049 miles from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska, USA.
To celebrate its partnership with the Iditarod, Eagle Pack will also sponsor a sweepstakes to send one winner and a guest to Alaska, USA in March 2011 to attend the race. Entries for this contest will be accepted online until January 21, 2011.

Morrisons fights pet obesity with portion control labels on petfood

Morrisons became the first supermarket to print portion control labels on its petfood products, in an effort to control rising obesity in dogs and cats, according to UK's mailonline.com.
"We’ve had feedback from our customers which says that they are often in the dark about how much food they should be buying and giving their pet," said John Cannan, product development manager for petfood at Morrisons.
The MailOnline article cites research that found 36% of dogs and 29% of cats treated by veterinarians are obese. To fight obesity and pet depression, veterinarians say small dogs need at least 30 minutes of exercise daily and large dogs require more than this. The article points out that giving a cat one saucer of milk is the equivalent of four cheeseburgers, which emphasizes the importance of controlling what pets eat.

Winning products from Pack Expo Selects have use in petfood industry

The Pack Expo Selects 2010 competition highlighted several packing innovations that can be used by manufacturers in the petfood industry.
Pack Expo Selects includes packaging innovations released commercially within the last 12 months by Pack Expo exhibitors. Pack Expo attendees were able to view and vote on the products until November 3, when 10 finalists and the winner were announced.
Coldkeepers LLC's Kold-To-Go thermal bags were selected as the winner of the contest and can be used to prevent freezer burn in raw or frozen petfood products. Chosen as the second place winner, the IML “Handled Bucket” Line submitted by Airlite Plastics Co. features reusable, recyclable packaging for easy storage and pouring of petfood. The third place winner was Ampac's Vapur bottled water packaging. 

2011 AAFCO Pet Food Labeling Workshop to be held in Florida

The 2011 Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) Pet Food Labeling Workshop will be held on January 17 in St. Pete's Beach, Florida, USA.
The event is relevant to anyone who makes treats, is a food control official, is a petfood marketer, handles petfood label compliance or writes copy for catalogues, labels or the Internet. Registration is due by January 1, 2011 and is limited to 200 attendees.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dogs audition to ride on Natural Balance float in 2011 Rose Bowl parade

In Los Angeles, California, USA, more than 180 dogs tried out for their chance to appear on the "Havin' a Splash'' float in the 122nd Tournament of the Roses parade. Natural Balance Pet Food sponsors the float, on which dogs have previously skateboarded and snowboarded. Many different dogs attended the casting call to test their skimboarding skills, including Jack Russell terriers and French bull dogs.
The Tournament of the Roses parade will begin at 8 a.m. Eastern time on Jan. 1, 2011.

All American Pet Co. reformulates petfood to be 'natural'

All American Pet Co. Inc. reformulated all of its products to qualify as "natural" dog food.
This reformulation comes at a time when US retail sales of natural pet products are growing at double digit rates, according to the company.
"The growing strength in natural petfood sales reflects consumer's interest in living well and longer and sharing those same ideals with their -- four-legged -- family members. Consumers know that their personal health and the health and well-being of their dogs are linked. Our entire product line is now natural, including the heart-healthy Grrr-nola Dog Food Bar that doubles as a heart healthy snack, all of the Grrr-nola Natural products and the Bow Wow Breakfast product line," said Barry Schwartz, chief executive of All American Pet Co.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Interzoo 2012 adds exhibit hall for pet industry products

Interzoo has added an exhibit hall for its 2012 pet industry exhibition.
The addition of Hall 10 will give Interzoo more than 90,000 square meters of space for 1,500 companies to present their new products, according to event organizers. Two entrances, Mitte and Ost, will be available for visitors to use.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pongo Fund petfood bank celebrates one year, 1M meals

Because sometimes, a simple bowl of kibble is the force that keeps a family together and saves the lives of the animals they love.
On November 14, the Pongo Fund petfood bank celebrated its one-year anniversary and distribute its 1 millionth meal.
The fund's volunteers distribute petfood directly to families with hungry pets throughout Oregon, USA, and southwest Washington, USA.
“The simple reality is that we make a real difference for very little money in the community,” said founder Larry Chusid. “It reportedly costs around US$750 per month to care for an animal that has been left at a shelter. Yet The Pongo Fund can feed and satisfy that same animal for as little as US$10 per month and the pet is able to remain with its family. It’s a win-win-woof for everyone."

Lily's Kitchen Dogs Diner opens to dogs in the UK

Chef Henrietta Morrison recently opened Lily’s Kitchen Dogs Diner, a new restaurant for dogs in the UK.
Morrison opened the restaurant to promote her Lily's Kitchen petfood line, named after her Border Terrier, Lily. She founded the petfood company after cooking for Lily, who suffered from constant ear infections and rashes. Food in this line is free for dogs to eat at the restaurant, which features a "snooze zone" and "romp and rip" enclosure for dogs to play in. The diner accommodates dogs of all sizes but only allows six in at one time. An herbalist, among other dog specialists, is on hand regularly to offer nutritional and behavioral advice to dog owners.
Lily’s Kitchen Dog’s Diner is located at 30 Pimilco Road, SW1 in London and is open until December 23.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dog owners may be putting pets at risk for diabetes

Many dog owners may be putting their pets at risk for diabetes by feeding them foods other than petfood, according to an article by San Antonio, Texas, USA news station KENS5.
“You would not believe what people feed their dogs,” said Dr. Ronald Walton of South Texas Veterinary Specialists. “My clients profess to giving their pets burgers, doughnuts, pizza, candy, even alcohol.”
Although any dog can develop diabetes at any age, Walton said the disease is breed-specific and mostly genetic. Female dogs, as well as Golden Retrievers, Keeshonds, German Shepherds, Poodles, miniature breeds, Schnauzer breeds, Terrier breeds and Basset Hounds are all predisposed to developing diabetes. Warning signs of diabetes in dogs include weight loss, frequent or uncontrollable urination and an increase in appetite and thirst.
Owners of diabetic dogs must test their dog’s blood sugar level twice daily, and if the levels are too high, they must wait and re-test until the level is right for an insulin shot. Dr. Walton said the number one cause for pet euthanasia is diabetes because treatment is such a commitment.

Monday, November 15, 2010

RECALL: Canadian Food Inspection Agency issues health warning for Beef Pet Food possibly contaminated with E. coli.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued a health warning for Beef Pet Food possibly contaminated with E. coli
The affected product was sold from October 8 to October 23 at manufacturer Surrey Meat Packers as well as Jolly Meats and Fine Foods, both located in British Columbia, Canada. The petfood was sold frozen in 500 gram blocks assembled in 10-unit and 50-unit packages. The petfood may not be marked with a label indicating the packing date or best by date. Those who handle the petfood and pets who consume it may become infected, although know illnesses have been reported yet, according to CFIA's warning.
For more information about this advisory, consumers can contact CFIA at +1.800.442.2342  Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Obesity in rabbits is serious, but preventable concern

One of the most common health issues for rabbits is obesity, which owners can prevent with proper feeding, according to Mairwen Guard, a founder of CottonTails Rabbit Rescue.
Obesity in rabbits poses serious health risks, like inability to groom, restricted movement, improper digestion of caecotrophs, arthritis and heart problems. In addition, Guard explained that obese rabbits are more at risk for fly strike due to a wet tail because the rabbit is unable to completely lift itself to urinate.
Guard claims that petfood manufacturers often have misleading feeding guidelines that recommend food levels nearly double the amount a rabbit should consume. She recommended the average pet rabbit be fed the equivalent of two full, flat egg cups of pelleted food, once daily.
"A rabbit’s diet should consist of 70-80% good quality meadow hay, the remaining amount consisting of fresh green vegetables, in a quantity that the individual will tolerate, and a small measured amount of dried food as indicated above," Guard said. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Colgate-Palmolive report analyzes pet industry, forecasts market trends

Research and Markets offers a new report, titled "Colgate-Palmolive Co in Pet Food and Pet Care Products - World." 
The report's company profile offers an analysis of Colgate-Palmolive's business and examines the performance of its subsidiary, Hill's Pet Nutrition, in the petfood and pet products industry. Company shares are broken down by region and sector, with an analysis of product developments, market and distribution strategies. The report also identifies challenges from competition in the pet industry and offers five-year forecasts of the market. The full report is available for purchase online.

Increased luxury pet supply spending suggests over-humanizing of pets, vet claims

A rise in spending on luxury pet supplies suggests that animal owners may be over-humanizing their pets, claims veternarian Pete Wedderburn in a UK article.
Animal owners are increasingly paying more for pet supplies and premium dog foods, according to Wedderburn. He cited a study published in the October Grocer, which showed that the total petfood market reached annual sales volumes of £1.5 billion (US$2.1 billion).
"Petfood is being designed to closely resemble human food and owners, guardians and pet parents seem happy to pay the increased price," said Wedderburn.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Greenies, Petco to promote pet oral health Nov. 13-14

Greenies will partner with Petco for the Greenies Pet Oral Health Event taking place November 13 and 14.
The event will be held at Petco stores across the US on Saturday, November 13 and Sunday, November 14, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. It will emphasize the importance of regular professional oral care by a veterinarian, as well as at-home preventive care through daily tooth brushing. Pet owners attending the event will also receive product coupons redeemable at Petco.

Organic 'Chew on This' podcast available

A new "Chew on This" podcast, focusing on "organic" in the grocery store, is now available.
Dr. Christine Hoang, assistant director of the American Veterinary Medical Association's Scientific Activities Division, will discuss what the term "organic" really means, who develops the guidelines and how the US Department of Agriculture's Organic sticker gets onto the food that ends up in the grocery aisles. Access to the podcast can be found here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

National petfood drive accepting donations Nov. 5-14 at Petco

The Petco Foundation and Petco are hosting the National Pet Food Drive November 5-14 to help pet parents in need provide a healthy and plentiful holiday season for their four-legged family members. Specially marked petfood collection bins can be found in Petco stores across the US.
During the food drive, Hill's Science Diet will match, bag-for-bag, every bag of Hill's cat or dog food purchased at a Petco store and donated, up to 25,000 pounds.
Petco and the Petco Foundation launched the National Pet Food Bank program in March, starting with about 250 stores in select markets. Today, all of Petco's more than 1,000 stores have designated petfood bins in place for year-round collection. Each store has partnered with a local food bank or animal welfare group to donate petfood and litter directly to economically stressed pet parents in that store's community. The program has provided more than 110 tons of donated petfood and litter to those in need.

Natures Menu lists 'Top 10' ingredients for dog food

Natures Menu compiled a "Top 10" list of ingredients that the company advises all dogs should eat.
Topping the list was tripe, for its dental benefits as well as enzymes, and omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. Parsley was listed as a good source of antioxidants, chlorophyll and vitamins A, C and K. Brown rice is often found in dog food because it is rich in fiber and aids in digestion. The company said carrots are one of the richest sources of beta carotene and apples are rich in vitamin C.
Also on the list were blueberries and swede, which contains the same cancer protecting phytochemicals as cabbage and broccoli. For healthy skin and coat, salmon oil was listed as a source of both amino acids and omega fatty acids that help control inflammation. Other ingredients included chicken, as a source of lean protein, and potatoes, as a high-potassium, alternative carbohydrate.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A few warning signs in petfood industry to watch

Unlike the larger economy, the petfood market seems to be humming along. Last week, Nestle Purina announced it expects its petfood sales in Latin America to surpass US$1 billion sometime next year. And a USA Today article listed pet supplies as one of the few categories enjoying increased US consumer spending this year, while most categories are still seeing declines.

Yet the picture isn't entirely rosy for petfood: The article quotes Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Products Association, saying that while the 7% increase in pet supplies comes partially from growth in sales of organic petfood and other "high-end" items, economy-priced petfood is also selling briskly, with mid-priced products getting the squeeze.

This is certainly not a new phenomenon, especially for petfood, but the recession and its lingering effects seem to be exacerbating the situation. If you have mid-priced petfood brands, this could be a warning sign.

In another good news-maybe not so good news story, a last month a company called Pethealth Inc. released a PetPoint Report, the "first and only monthly gauge of both pet adoptions and relinquishments affecting animal welfare." It's based on aggregate data from almost 850 US animal welfare organizations using the company's PetPoint software.

First, the good news:
* Adoptions of cats rose 3% in September 2010 over 2009, while dog adoptions grew by 2%.
* Owner relinquishments (surrendering to animal shelters or welfare organizations) of cats and dogs decreased by 6% and 5%, respectively.
* Euthanizations declined 10% for cats and 7% for dogs.

All very positive -- and yet:
* Those owner surrenders of cats still totaled nearly 25,000 in September, with over 18,600 dogs surrendered.
* These animal welfare organizations took in over 37,700 stray cats and over 23,000 stray dogs in September.
* Average adoptions prices declined for cats and dogs older than 1 year old, while adoption prices for dogs younger than 1 were flat (meaning overall, shelters are taking in less money).

PetHealth says it will be releasing this report monthly, though I believe you have to subscribe (probably for a fee) to receive it. These numbers bear watching as a sign that many pet owners in the US are still hurting financially.

Pet humanization trend leads to increase in UK petfood sales

Petfood sales rose by 6.7% to a £1.5 billion (US$2.1 billion) in the past year thanks to the trend of pet humanization, according to a U.K. Telegraph article.
A report by retail analysts Kantar Worldpanel attributes this trend to a 26.3% increase in the value of cat treat sales. The article says that sociological reasons are behind the growing pet humanization trend in the U.K., including an increase in single person households and loneliness from longer working hours, combined with a desire to be more attached to pets.
"We are seeing an increased desire not only to treat pets to the very best, but also to ensure what they feed them will meet their optimal nutritional requirements," said Ben Thompson of Mars Petcare.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Original Pet Food Co. introduces grass-fed beef petfood line

Original Pet Food Co. introduced a new line of dog and cat petfood, which the company says is made from organic, grass-fed beef.
The company said the beef for this product line is sourced from Pampas-grazed cattle in Uruguay. This grass-fed beef is high in omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid, according to Original Pet Food Co.
"With the sustainable, organic, grass-fed beef revolution well underway, we believe it's high time for the same quality meats to make their way from the dinner plate to the pet bowl," said Melissa McGinnis, founder of Original Pet Food Co.

Hear the latest global macroeconomic outlook

Dr. Bruce A. Scherr, chairman of the board and CEO of Informa Economics, will present his Global Macroeconomic Outlook in a webinar on December 9, 2010, at 8 a.m. US CST.
Scherr will address critical economic questions for animal agribusiness and other executives, such as whether the global economic recovery is on track or stalling, the shape of the US recovery, whether or not Asian expansion can lead the world recovery and others. See a full agenda and registration information.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Inclusion of rendered products in petfoods should be re-evaluated, blog suggests

Allowing the use of rendered products in petfoods and animal feeds is still legal but should be reconsidered, suggests a veterinary blog on petmd.com.
The blog discusses US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) findings that are still in effect, allowing rendered products to be legally included in petfood and animal feed. In a 2004 report to Congress, National Renderers Association (NRA) estimated that 165 rendering plants in the US and Canada pick up materials like fat and bone trimmings, blood, feathers and dead animals from animal shelters, slaughterhouses and ranches.
To determine the amount of barbiturates, dog and cat carcasses that end up in rendered petfood ingredients, scientists purchased dog food samples as part of two studies in 1998 and 2000. The studies found that some of the dog foods contained pentobarbital -- a drug used to euthanize dogs and cats at shelters -- suggesting that the shelter pets were rendered and used in petfood. Scientists then tested the protein ingredients of the dog foods for presence of dog and cat DNA.
FDA's results found a complete absence of material that would have been derived from euthanized dogs or cats in the dog foods tested, suggesting pentobarbital residues enter petfoods from euthanized, rendered cattle or horses. The blog says that while these findings may have been correct at the time, FDA regulation of rendered products in petfoods should be reconsidered in today's society that is increasingly conscious of pet nutrition and the possibility of transmitted diseases.

TV vet Joe Inglis launches line of dry petfoods, sauce supplements

Joe Inglis, founder of the Campaign for Real Pet Food, launched his own range of dry petfoods and pet supplements called Vet’s Kitchen.
The supplement line includes an "Active Joints" chicken sauce recipe in 300 ml squeeze bottles and two more sauce-supplements that will be launched in November. Concentrated dry dog food recipes include Puppy; Adult Chicken & Brown Rice, Adult Salmon & Potato and Senior and Light. Dry cat food recipes include Adult Chicken & Brown Rice and Adult Salmon & Rice.
“The development of the range has been based on extensive consumer and market analysis, which identified four key trends in the pet food market – a trend to dry, a trend to superpremium, a trend to natural and a trend to additional supplementation for specific health conditions – which led to our core consumer proposition,” said Inglis, former Blue Peter veterinarian and presenter on The One Show on BBC 1 channel.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

K9 Natural ranked among fastest growing New Zealand petfood companies

K9 Natural was named one of the fastest growing petfood companies in New Zealand by the Deloitte Fast 50 ranking.
The petfood company ranked eighth on the list of New Zealand's 50 fastest growing companies. K9 says it increased sales by over 320% a year and the company forecasts sales exceeding US$15 million for the next financial year.
"We are well aware that making the fast 50 doesn’t mean we have made it; we have just made it to the start line. There is a lot of hard work required to ensure we capitalize on this great opportunity," said Calvin Smith, K9's chief executive.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Nature's Variety donates petfood for nationwide canine cancer walk initiative

Nature’s Variety will team up with 2 Million Dogs Puppy Up! Against Canine Cancer for a nationwide walk initiative on November 7.
Nature’s Variety will donate 3,600 sample bags of its Instinct and Prairie lines of kibble. The donation will be spread to dogs in cities throughout the US, including Atlanta, Georgia; Auburn, Washington; Boston, Massachusetts; Cincinnati, Ohio; Edinboro, Pennsylvania; Fairborn, Ohio; Fort Collins, Colorado; New Milford, Connecticut; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Poughkeepsie, New York; Richmond, Virginia; and Seattle, Washington.
The 2 Million Dogs initiative began from Luke Robinson's quest to walk 2,000 miles with his two dogs across the US in 2008, raising awareness of canine cancer, in memory of his other dog, Malcolm. Afterward, he felt that if he and his dogs could walk 2,000 miles, he could get 2 million dogs to walk 2 miles to raise funding for canine cancer research. 

DuPont accepting entries for packaging innovation awards

DuPont Packaging announced it will begin accepting entries in the 23rd DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation.
Packaging designers, retailers and manufacturers may all enter their new product packaging developments in the competition at no cost. Entries will be evaluated by a jury panel for excellence in packaging innovation, sustainability and cost/waste reduction. Entry forms and guidelines are available online. The deadline for entries is Feb. 28, 2011 and winners will be announced in the spring of 2011.
“The industry is facing many challenges to address cost and waste reduction as well as sustainability demands while responding to consumers’ needs for greater convenience. Innovation is key to these new packaging approaches and we aim to recognize innovative solutions from around the world that address local needs,” said Shanna Moore, global director of sustainability at DuPont Packaging.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Don't tout your social responsibility if it doesn't exist

Last week brought a cautionary tale for any brand or company looking to promote its social responsibility. Chevron had its "We agree" campaign -- intended to brandish its corporate responsibility image over that of other oil giants -- hijacked by a group called the Yes Men, working in tandem with a couple environmental groups.

The "hijackers" issued fake press releases and even built a phone website closely mimicking the actual "We agree" site, pointing out what they believe to be Chevron's environmental miscues and hypocrisy.

Recently I mentioned the proliferation of purpose-driven campaigns and the danger of so many brands jumping on the cause marketing bandwagon that consumers could become jaded. But the Chevron case highlights an even bigger danger: What if consumers just don't buy your message? What if they don't believe your brand is truly socially responsible?

I read a very good column on AdAge.com by a branding expert named Jonathan Salem Baskin. His advice to avoid a situation like Chevron's? Tell the truth. In other words, don't promote your cause or social responsibility if it doesn't exist.

Consider this from Baskin:

Let's face it: We marketers have long tolerated a "truth gap." We've celebrated it, because it meant we were successful in our efforts to invent a host of imagined benefits for which consumers would pay extra. It didn't matter that the claims we claimed could never be substantiated, or that the values with which we associated our brands were purchased, not organic. Sell the same car or TV for more because of some sleight of superficial badge? No worries; nobody had the capacity or desire to discover the truth.

Not so much anymore. That truth gap is coming back to bite us.

I admit I'm somewhat biased, but I honestly don't think most petfood companies are guilty of perpetuating such a truth gap, nor can I think of any situations of a petfood marketer touting a cause or some aspect of corporate responsibility that just doesn't ring true.

Perhaps that's because selling petfood is, in many ways, very different from selling cars, TV or oil and its by-products. On the other hand, given the strong emotions inextricably linked with the pet industry -- after all, most pet owners don't consider choosing and buying food for their beloved pets as simply a purchase transaction -- that means petfood companies must be even more careful to be sure their marketing rings true. Especially if they're touting their support of pets, the environment or another cause.

Nestle predicts petfood sales over US$ 1 billion in Latin America

Nestle SA expects petfood sales to surpass US$1 billion in Latin America next year as consumers there start buying supplies designed for dogs and cats, according to a Bloomberg article.
In the article, Nestle Purina's Chief Executive W. Patrick McGinnis said sales in Latin American countries like Brazil are growing at nearly 20% a year, as incomes of pet owners rise. McGinnis also said Nestle is hiring more salespeople and pursuing acquisitions to strengthen its Latin American business. According to the article, Nestle reported nine-month sales growth and a total revenue of US$85.4 billion, helped by gains in emerging markets like Latin America.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Safety considerations for petfood plant owners looking to modify facilities

Petfood plant owners looking for ways to modify existing facilities to accommodate new petfood processes must consider the challenges in doing so, due to many recent recalls for petfoods contaminated with Salmonella, says an article in Reliable Plant magazine. 
Four primary contamination pathways must be examined to determine whether there is impact on sanitary operations: the path of the product from raw material to final product, surrounding process areas such as hallways and packaging, offices and exterior areas. The treatment of fines, product dust that collects at the bottom of all process and packaging equipment, may be another contamination pathway commonly overlooked.
Positive air pressure systems are often useful in retrofitting an existing petfood plant because they create a pressure differential between processing areas and outside spaces, which prevents airborne flow of contaminants to sanitary areas. In addition, facilities that typically clean with water and drain systems should consider alternatives to cleaning with water such as vacuum systems or pressurized carbon dioxide. Culture of the existing plant should be taken into account by educating plant personnel of sanitary practices and good manufacturing processes (GMPs) for petfood. Petfood plant owners may want to consult an experienced engineer who can bring knowledge gained from other related industries to modifying their existing plant.