Thursday, June 30, 2011

RECALL: AVMA issues alert for chicken jerky treats from China

In June, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association notified the American Veterinary Medical Association that CVMA had received reports of Fanconi syndrom-like symptoms in dogs, similar to those cases reported in 2007 by AVMA that were found to be associated with chicken jerky treats made in China.
AVMA issued an alert to its members, recommending vigilance for any suspected cases in the US, as well as to state veterinary medical associations and allied organizations. In the alert, AVMA said it has not received any recent reports from US veterinarians about potential toxicities from chicken jerky treats and that AVMA has not yet determined the extent of the problem.
Visit AVMA's website for more information on the jerky treat alert.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

RECALL: Nestle recalls Cat Chow, Friskies dry cat food due to Salmonella

Nestle Purina PetCare Co. recalled select bags of its Cat Chow and Friskies brands of dry cat food over concerns of Salmonella contamination.
The food was shipped to distributors in Colorado, Idaho and Oregon, USA, and in turn, may have been distributed to other western states, according to the company.
The recalled products are a 6.3-pound bag of Cat Chow Naturals Dry Cat Food (UPC 17800), and 3.15- and 16-pound bags of Friskies Grillers Blend Dry Cat Food (UPC 50000). All products have a “Best By” date of “AUG 2012,” and are marked with a date and production code of “10331083 13” or “10331083 06."  
Nestle said there have been no consumer complaints or reports of illness, but that customers who purchased the affected products should throw them away and contact the company for a refund at +1.800.982.6559 or visit Nestle's website for information.

AVMA publishes report on Salmonella in pet food

A report in the June 1 Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association outlines recommendations for pet owners on how to avoid pets being sickened with Salmonella from pet food.
The report, written by Kate S. KuKanich, DVM, Ph.D., details the circumstances under which Salmonella organisms are most often ingested and includes a history of Salmonella outbreaks associated with petfood and treats. In addition, the report offers recommendations on how pet owners can minimize the risk of infection for both their pets and families. 
For a copy of the report, contact AVMA.

Watch: pet food safety featured on business show

The cable TV show "Business Day with Terry Bradshaw" featured a segment on petfood safety in the June 18 episode. The segment, sponsored by Extru-Tech Inc., discusses reasons why petfood safety is so important and covers measures being taken to ensure food safety, including the Food Safety and Modernization Act recently implemented by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Participants in the segment include Scott Krebs, executive VP and COO at Extru-Tech; Greg Watt, chief executive of Watt Publishing Co., which publishes Petfood Industry magazine; and James Marsden, PhD, a food safety expert from Kansas State University.

The segment, part of the show's Doing Business in a Global Economy series, shines a spotlight not only on petfood safety -- which, in the wake of ongoing recalls and the new FSMA law, has become a keen interest for petfood manufacturers, suppliers and pet owners alike -- but also on the overall petfood industry.

Watch our industry's turn in the spotlight here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

FDA unveils global food safety strategy

The US Food and Drug Administration unveiled its "new global strategy" for increasing food safety inspections under the Food Safety and Modernization Act.
FDA's report, "Pathway to Global Product Safety and Quality," outlines four main approaches the agency will take to better monitor foreign food suppliers.
FDA says it will work with foreign counterparts to assemble global coalitions of regulators; develop a global information system and networks that will allow regulators to share real-time data and resources across markets; expand intelligence gathering capabilities, with an increased focus on risk analytics and modernized information technology capabilities; and will allocate its resources based on risk, using third parties from the public and private sectors to audit and verify compliance of international suppliers with US food safety requirements.
"The FDA and our global regulatory partners recognize this new reality and realize we must work proactively and collaboratively to address the challenges we face," said Dr. Margaret Hamburg, commissioner of food and drugs. "The FDA must further collaborate and leverage in order to close the gap between our import levels and our regulatory resources."

Where does pet food rank among reported food safety incidents?

The June/July issue of Food Safety magazine includes an article about how food safety is a leading concern for CEOs of human food companies. The authors -- Pat Conroy, Frank Oehl and Craig Henry, PhD, of Deloitte & Touche LLP -- include a couple figures from the US Food and Drug Administration's Reportable Food Registry Annual Report released earlier this year.

One figure (labeled 2 on this page in Food Safety) shows that of 229 entries to the Reportable Food Registry from September 8, 2009, through September 9, 2010, 86, or 37.6%, were because of Salmonella, followed by 80 (34.9%) for undeclared allergen/intolerances. (That Salmonella ranks highest is no surprise, especially considering a recent report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that Salmonella infections in humans increased 10% from 2009 to 2010.)

Keep in mind that these entries encompassed human food, animal feed and pet food. In the other figure (1) on the page, the number of food safety reports is broken down by "commodity," with animal feed and petfoods lumped into one. From this view, it appears entries for animal feed/petfood, at 28, far outweighed all others.

But diving into the original FDA report, you'll see that isn't the case: If you add up all the "commodities" comprising human food entries, as this figure (4) shows, human food represented the majority of the 229 entries into the registry with 201, 88% of the total. Pet food, with only 13 entries, was just 5%, while animal feed 15 entries, or 7%.

Another figure in the FDA report, which once again combines animal feed with pet food, shows 13 of those 28 entries were because of Salmonella, with three for foreign objects and 12 for an undefined "other."

While this sort of data and detail can make one's eyes glaze over after a while, the authors of the Food Safety article cite another compelling statistic. A consumer study their company conducted on food showed, among other things, that 73% of respondents are more concerned now than five years ago about the food they eat. That's up from 65% in 2010.

With people increasingly treating pets like human family members, that concern no doubt extends to pet food.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Nielsen, MyWebGrocer partner to measure online supermarket sales

Nielsen, a consumer analytic company, entered into a strategic alliance with MyWebGrocer to measure US online supermarket sales of consumer packaged goods.
The agreement enables Nielsen to provide consumer packaged goods companies, such as pet food companies, with information regarding consumers’ online supermarket purchases. Nielsen acquired a license to MyWebGrocer’s e-commerce sales information collected from 60 US supermarket retailers and says it plans to measure approximately 30% of all online supermarket sales.
“We’re making it possible for the first time for CPG companies to understand online shoppers with the same rigor we apply to offline shopping analytics,” said John Burbank, president of Strategic Initiatives at Nielsen. “We can share our insights into what decisions and purchases shoppers are making online, where and when.”

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Honest Kitchen releases pet food customer survey results

The Honest Kitchen shared customer feedback from its 2011 pet food annual survey.
The survey was distributed through the company’s monthly newsletter and on its Facebook page, and was completed by more than 2,500 customers. 
The company said that nearly 78% of pet owners noted an improvement in their pets' digestion after feeding The Honest Kitchen's dehydrated whole foods. Another 75% of pet owners noted their pets' increased activity level and almost 59% said their pets' weight improved. Nearly 69% of respondents said they noticed a reduction in their pets' symptoms, with 35% saying they were able to reduce their pets' medication. About 70% of those polled noted an improvement in their pets' skin and coat after eating the pet food, and nearly half (49.5%) said their pets' itchiness improved. 
“There is a strong, direct correlation between the foods pets eat and how healthy they are,” said Lucy Postins, founder and chief executive. “Many pet owners notice that their pets’ health improves on a fresh, minimally processed diet, and these statistics from our most recent survey are really representative of the feedback we've been receiving from our customers (and their vets) since our company was founded almost nine years ago.”
The survey was distributed, recorded and analyzed by The Honest Kitchen. Customers used The Honest Kitchen as their pets’ sole diet or as a component of a varietal approach to feeding, the company says, and more than 50% of the respondents have used The Honest Kitchen for more than one year.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Minnesota, USA, man faces charges for vegan pet food production

A Little Canada, Minnesota, USA, man faces 58 counts ranging from animal cruelty to practicing without a license after producing his own vegan pet food, according to a report by Minnesota's Fox news.
Prosecutors served Eric Weisman with a warrant for the criminal charges on June 15. When investigators searched Weisman's home in Little Canada, Minnesota, they said they found proof that Weisman was treating both animals and humans, despite not being a licensed doctor or veterinarian. Investigators also found unsanitary conditions and rodent drops when they searched his pet food business warehouse in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA, according to the report.
“He put his own clients’ lives at risk - and their pets at risk - by providing medical treatment and advice, promoting health benefits of this food that it doesn’t have,” said Mike Salter, a commander with the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office.
Officials said they plan to file additional charges in the case.
The news report says that Weisman read a prepared statement, in which he said that he sells "supplements and petfood, and not treatments" and informs those seeking information from him that he is not a medical doctor or veterinarian.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Japan's aging pets fuel market for elderly pet care products

Japanese pets are living longer than ever before thanks to advancements in pet food and veterinary care, which is fueling a need for elderly pet care. As pets' lifespans increase, a new market in the pet industry is emerging, with products ranging from animal diapers, to walking aids, to research into pet tissue-engineering, according to an AFP report
The Japanese have 22 million dogs and cats, according to the latest data from the Japan Pet Food Association, outnumbering children under age 15 in that country by about 30%. Japan's aging human population has been declining since 2007, with nearly one-quarter of the population now age 65 or older, according to the report.
But, many pet owners say they want to take care of their beloved pets until the very end, regardless of age, rather than opt for euthanasia. So to help animals live out their older years in comfort, companies have developed new product lines, including Osaka, Japan-based home builder, Yamahisa Co., which began making elderly pet products five years ago.
"We realized that there is demand for goods to take care of elderly dogs because they are considered members of the family," said Yuko Kushibe, a marketing official at Yamahisa.
To help older, larger pets that may be difficult to move, the company offers a cart, a sling, diapers and a mattress with handles to turn a dog's body and prevent bed sores, as well as hip supports that help a dog stand up and walk. Electronics maker Fujitsu Ltd. teamed up with Japanese veterinarians to provide around-the-clock medical care for pets, and recently began offering trial services at a Tokyo animal clinic.
Researchers at the Jikei University School of Medicine are trying to help solve kidney failure, a problem the researchers say leads to death in nearly 30% of elderly cats, by trying to grow new cat kidneys in pig embryos. Takashi Yokoo, a head of research, said he succeeded in cultivating tiny kidneys in pig embryos by injecting stem cells collected from bone marrow of cats. He said his team implanted the "neo-kidneys" into a fat membrane that hangs from the cat's stomach, where a crucial blood-forming hormone is produced. Yokoo said he is hopeful he will be able to apply the technique to pets within two years, a procedure that he said would cost about 50,000 yen (US$620).

German petfood, pet products market grew in 2010, IVH reports

The German pet market grew slightly in 2010, with total sales of petfood and pet care products rising 0.8% to nearly 3.71 billion euro (US$5.3 billion), according to the Industrial Association of Pet Care Producers, IVH.
The prepared petfood segment also increased 0.8% in 2010, to nearly 2.78 billion euro (US$3.97 billion). The pet accessories segment saw sales growth of 0.7% to 930 million euro (US$1.33 billion).
IVH reported the strongest growth in the market for cat food in 2010, which is Germany's single largest segment in pet care, with a 2.9% increase in sales to 1.44 billion euro (US$2.05 billion). The snacks and cat milk segment achieved the highest gains of 8.3%, to 183 million euro (US$261.5 million). Dry food grew 3.0% to 312 million euros (US$445.9 million) and wet food increased 1.8% to 940 million euro (US$1.34 billion).
The market for dog food remained relatively unchanged, gaining 0.1% to 1.1 billion euro (US$1.57 billion). The snacks segment saw sales of 332 million euro (US$474.49 million), an increase of 3.4%. Both the dry food and wet food categories of dog food saw a decrease in sales for 2010, down 1.1% to 354 million euro (US$505.94 million) and down 1.4% to 416 million euro (US$594.55 million), respectively.
Sales of petfood in the categories of small animals fell 4.5% to 127 million euro (US$181.51 million), birds fell 7% to 53 million euro (US$75.75 million), and fish down 11.6% to 60 million euro(US$85.75 million), according to IVH.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wellness natural pet food introduces new canned cat food formulas

Wellness offers its Cubed, Sliced and Minced cat cans in 12 varieties.
Wellness Natural Food for Pets introduced twelve new varieties of canned cat food.
Wellness Cubed, Sliced and Minced cat cans are 100% grain-free and contain no added artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, according to the company. In each recipe, Wellness says it included cuts of protein sources like chicken, turkey, salmon and tuna with sauces. The cat food is available in 3-ounce cans, at pet specialty retailers and natural food stores across the US.
The cat food is available in 12 formulas: Minced Chicken Dinner, Minced Turkey Entree, Minced Tuna Dinner, Sliced Turkey Entree, Sliced Chicken Entree, Sliced Salmon Entree, Sliced Turkey & Salmon Dinner, Cubed Tuna Entree, Cubed Turkey & Salmon Entree, Cubed Salmon Dinner, Cubed Turkey Dinner, Cubed Chicken Entree.

PetSmart reports growth in first quarter 2011 financial earnings

PetSmart reported its financial results for the first quarter of 2011, announcing growth in total pet sales and net income over the first quarter of 2010.
The company reported a net income of US$71 million in the first quarter of 2011, compared to US$56 million in the first quarter of 2010. Total sales for the first quarter of 2011 increased by 6.8% to US$1.5 billion. Comparable store sales, or sales in stores open at least a year, grew by 5%, helped by 2.7% growth in comparable transactions, according to the company. Services sales, which are included in total sales, increased 9% to US$167 million.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Westminster Kennel Club names Purina as official pet food sponsor

Purina was selected as the official petfood sponsor of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show (photo courtesy of Tilly Grassa).
Nestle Purina PetCare Co. and the Westminster Kennel Club announced a multi-year agreement that makes Purina the official pet food sponsor of the Annual Westminster Kennel Club All Breed Dog Show.
The 136th Annual Westminster Kennel Club All Breed Dog Show will be held February 13-14, 2012, at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York, USA, and will be televised live on USA Network.
"Purina is proud to be the official pet food sponsor of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show," said Steven L. Crimmins, chief marketing officer for Nestle Purina PetCare, North America. "Westminster is the ultimate destination for top dogs and their aspiring owners and handlers, and Purina is excited to be part of this prestigious event and to be the Westminster Kennel Club's partner."

The Honest Kitchen offers dog food Taster Kit

The Taster Kit provides several different foods and treats in one package for consumers to try.
The Honest Kitchen launched a petfood Taster Kit that allows new consumers to sample several of  the company's food and treat products for dogs in one purchase.
The pet food kit contains three, 4-ounce trial size boxes of dog food, an 8-ounce box of Pecks Buffalo & Blueberry cookies, a sample of the Perfect Form digestive supplement, a free pet health and nutrition booklet and US$15.00 worth of coupons. The Taster Kit retails for US$18.00, the company says, and it can be purchased in stores or directly on the company's website.
“Most consumers are familiar with how to feed ‘scoop and go’ kibble and canned food, but might need help transitioning their pets to our alternative, just-add-water dehydrated recipes,” said Lucy Postins, founder and chief executive. “We hope the new kits will be a fun way for pet owners to learn about whole food nutrition, how to feed our food, and also spice up their pet’s dish as fido taste-tests our savory, wholesome foods.”

Friday, June 17, 2011

Veterinarian blogs about switching dogs to raw pet food diet

Selecting the right pet food is important for maintaining a pet's health and with so many choices, it can be difficult to determine what type of pet food may be best, which is why one veterinarian is blogging about her experience switching her dogs to a raw pet food diet. Dr. Amy Nesselrodt is chronicling her experience in switching her dogs to Answers Pet Food raw diet for one year, monitoring the dogs' health and weight before, during and after the switch.
Nesselrodt says she will be brutally honest in her findings, so that other pet owners may become more educated on feeding their pet a raw food or kibble diet. She says that much controversy exists in the debate over what is really good for dogs and cats to consume, raising questions about the nutritional balance of raw petfood, whether pets are really meant to eat commercially processed cooked foods, whether ingredients like grains and potatoes are actually meant for pets to eat and if raw diets put pets at a greater risk for bacteria consumption.
Nesslerodt's experience and results from her raw pet food challenge can be viewed on her online blog.

Victam, Pet food Forum Asia preparing for Thailand in February 2012

Exhibition area at Thailand's Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Center for the co-located Victam, FIAAP and GRAPAS 2012 tradeshows is more than 50% sold, show organizers announced. The three tradeshows will take place February 15-17, 2012, and will have a similar format to the 2010 event with the three shows co-located in one exhibition hall along with a number of technical conferences, including Petfood Forum Asia 2012.
The FIAAP exhibition will focus on feed ingredients, additives and formulation, including petfood; the Victam exhibition will focus on feed processing and biomass technology; and the GRAPAS exhibition will focus on rice milling and grain processing. The event also includes specific technical conferences on topics like pet food, aquafeed, feed ingredients, biomass technology, grain processing and the Thai Feed Conference.
One of these conferences will be Petfood Forum Asia 2012, which is scheduled for February 16. Pet food Forum Asia announced its call for papers, with an abstract submission deadline of September 1, 2011. The content advisory board seeks abstracts from potential speakers on topics including, but not limited to: the petfood market in Asia and around the world; nutrition and ingredients; packaging; safety and regulatory issues specific to countries in the region or to export countries; processing and production; company profiles; and new product developments. Abstracts should be submitted via E-mail to For more information, including exactly what to submit, visit the Web page for Petfood Forum Asia 2012.

Pet product search for Giggy of Bravo's 'Real Housewives of Beverly Hills'

Edison Nation, a product developer and social network inventor, is partnering with the Creative Artists Agency to host a pet-related product search for Giggy the Pomeranian, a celebrity pet on Bravo's TV show, "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills."
The "Giggy the Pom" new product search seeks innovative, stylish pet products in categories such as: carriers and travel products; harnesses, leashes and matching accessories; toys; earth-friendly grooming and pet beauty products; and bed and home products. Inventors of chosen pet product ideas will receive a minimum US$2,500 advance payment and a percentage of future product sales, according to Edison Nation.
The "Giggy the Pom" search runs through July 11, with no limit to the number of submissions per person or potential products to be selected. Edison Nation says its standard fee to submit a product idea is US$25, which covers internal screening costs.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Greenies pet treats, Dr. Ernie Ward offer tips for pet health

Greenies has partnered with Dr. Ernie Ward, veterinarian and founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, to offer pet owner's tips on how to ensure their pets live healthy lives.
The first of Dr. Ward's "Top 5 Healthy Habits" is that pet owners need to provide their pet with healthy petfood and treats. Dr. Ward advises consumers to look for meat as one of the first few ingredients in a petfood, avoiding by-products, artificial flavors, colors and preservatives if possible. Dr. Ward also said to look for treats that are low in calories or may provide other benefits such as Greenies' treats for dental health or treats to maintain healthy joints. He says to use food puzzles for pets, which hide the petfood or treats inside until the pet figures out how to solve the puzzle.
Another tip from Greenies and Dr. Ward is that pet owners should regularly exercise pets, with walks and games, to prevent weight-related diseases such as arthritis and diabetes. Dr. Ward also recommended taking pets to be socialized at a dog park or through training classes. To prevent disease, he says it is important that pet owners take their pet to see a veterinarian at least once a year for a checkup.

New Zealanders love pets like family, survey finds

A recent survey by pet food manufacturer Purina found that people treat their pets like other human family members, and many believe cats and dogs show human-like emotions, according to a New Zealand article.
The survey found that nationally, 72% of New Zealanders believed their pets to have human-like emotions, with 31% saying their pets could communicate feelings better than their partner. New Zealanders also said their pets have helped them in some way, as 26% said their pets helped them to avoid danger and 66% said their pets boosted their self-esteem. The survey also found that 25% of New Zealand pet owners celebrate their pet's birthday.
As a follow-up to the survey, Purina asked pet owners in New Zealand to submit 50 to 100 words to the company on how their cat or dog has "been there for them." The winning submissions will receive a year's supply of petfood for their pet.

Research and Markets offers company profile on petfood maker Nestle Purina

Research and Markets added a company profile of petfood manufacturer Nestle Purina to its report offerings. The report, "Nestle SA in Pet Care (World)," provides a strategic analysis of the company's business, examining its performance in the pet care industry.
The report examines company shares by region and sector, product developments, market and distribution strategies, challenges from the competition and future prospects. The report says that while Nestle remains focused on the mid-price and premium product segments, the company needs to streamline its product portfolio to focus on its best performing brands and expand its market share among premium petfood producers.
The Nestle company profile can be purchased online from Research and Markets.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pedigree will donate to shelters for Twitter, Facebook reaction from consumers in June

For each "Like," comment, "@reply", re-tweet and photo upload directed at Pedigree, the company will donate 1 pound of food up to 100,000 pounds total. 
Throughout the month of June, Pedigree wants dog lovers to log in to Facebook and Twitter to tell the company why they think that “Every Dog Deserves” the very best. For each "Like," comment, "@reply", re-tweet and photo upload directed at Pedigree, the company will donate 1 pound of food up to 100,000 pounds total.
Pedigree will donate more than 100,000 pounds of petfood to shelters across the country as part of its “Every Dog Deserves” campaign.
Chelsea Kane, of "Dancing with the Stars" fame, helped kick off the “Every Dog Deserves” campaign on June 1, by delivering the first 10,000 pounds of petfood donation to the Amanda Foundation in Beverly Hills, California, USA.
In conjunction with the campaign, Pedigree launched a new dry dog food formula based on a concept called 4 Universal Needs. The company says the formula is designed to support the skin and coat, oral care, digestion and immunity needs of all dog breeds, at all stages of life.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

'Business Day with Terry Bradshaw’ to include segment on pet food safety

The cable TV show "Business Day with Terry Bradshaw" will feature a segment on pet food safety in the June 18 episode. The pet food safety segment, sponsored by Extru-Tech Inc., will discuss reasons why pet food safety is so important and will cover measures being taken to ensure food safety, including the Food Safety and Modernization Act recently implemented by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Participants in the segment include Scott Krebs, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Extru-Tech; Greg Watt, chief executive of Watt Publishing Co., which publishes Petfood Industry magazine; and James Marsden, PhD, a food safety expert from Kansas State University.
In addition to addressing why he feels pet food safety is so important as a pet owner, Krebs will discuss the extrusion process being used by petfood manufacturers for safe food production. Watt will address the size of the pet food industry and its direct role in affecting the need for further pet food safety regulations. Marsden will cover the steps producers are taking to ensure pet food is manufactured and distributed in a safe manner.
The "Business Day" show featuring the pet food safety segment will first air on Saturday, June 18, at 4 p.m. EST.

USDA announces online availability of pet food health certificates

The US Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced the online availability of its new health certificates for processed pet foods and dog chews, according to the American Feed Industry Association.
The Chapter 3(B) Health Certificate is for processed pet food, which is not canned or is not a dog chew, and Chapter 3(C) Health Certificate is for dog chew products. Specific information on what version of the certificate to use with each year's package can be found on AFIA's website.

Vet says pet food should include nine key ingredients for puppy health

It is important that pet food for a puppy be formulated specifically for young dogs, so that the food includes nine key ingredients for puppy health.
“Puppies have different nutritional needs than adult and senior dogs,” Katy Nelson, an emergency veterinarian said in an article. “Puppies need a food specifically formulated for young dogs. They also have size-specific needs.” 
Chicken and egg are the best sources of protein, followed by other meats and byproducts, according to Nelson. She said that puppies also have specific nutrient requirements, and must have a food with a proper balance of calcium and phosphorus, and amino acids and vitamins. Beet pulp and fructooligosaccharide are moderately fermentable, so the ingredients enhance nutrient absorption and aid the puppy in removing waste, Nelson said. Pet food with antioxidants is also important for puppies, according to Nelson, it is thought to cause fewer growth abnormalities and improve overall health.
Other beneficial ingredients in puppy food are fish and vegetable oils, which are high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, respectively.
“It’s brain food,” said Nelson. “They help with all body systems. I don’t think we’ve reached the tip of the iceberg in understanding their benefits."

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pet industry grows with human trends in petfood, pet products

Despite a recession, the pet industry has seen continued growth in recent years as the trend of pet humanization has more pet owners purchasing human-grade, premium pet foods, luxury products and human-like medical care for their pets, according to a recent New York Times article.
Americans spent a record US$55 billion on their pets in 2010, driven by a 7% increase in veterinary services, according to Packaged Facts. This may be partially due to the fact that human medical technologies are increasingly being used for pets and prolonging their lifespan, the Times article says. 
“Pet owners aren’t just looking to provide a home for their pets,” said Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Products Association. “They are investing in their pets’ quality of life. Oftentimes they do this at their own expense, cutting personal expenses, but not those affecting their faithful companions.”
Consumers are also spending more on their pet's food, looking for human-grade products.
Jessica Taylor, managing editor of Petfood Industry, said that when she began at the magazine four years ago, the petfood industry lagged human trends by at least one year. Now, the industry is six months behind or less, Taylor said, predicting that blueberries and pomegranates will be the next trend in petfood, as they have recently been marketed to humans as powerful antioxidants. Another human food trend, natural and organic foods, have accounted for 7% of petfood sales, according to David Lummis, senior pet market analyst for Packaged Facts, who said that he expects to see even further growth in this sector.

Call for papers for 2012 Petfood Forum events announced

A call for papers for Petfood Forum 2012 and Petfood Forum Asia 2012 has been announced by the editors of Petfood Industry, organizer of the events.
Petfood Forum is scheduled for April 2-4, 2012, at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel in the Chicago area. Potential speakers are invited to submit non-commercial abstracts featuring new research or innovations on topics such as nutrition, ingredients, petfood safety, marketing and market trends, packaging and case studies. The deadline for submissions is October 1, 2011. More information is available on the Petfood Forum 2012 page (click on the "Call for papers" tab).
Petfood Forum Asia will take place February 16, 2012, at the Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre in Thailand, in conjunction with Victam Asia 2012. The editors are seeking non-commercial papers on topics such as the Asian and global petfood markets, nutrition and ingredients, regulatory and export issues and processing innovations. The deadline for submissions is September 1, 2011. For more information, visit the Petfood Forum Asia 2012 page and click on the "Call for papers" tab.

TV's 'The Apprentice' contestants create new pet food at Mars Petcare

Mars Petcare’s Waltham, UK, and Melton, UK, petfood manufacturing facilities were the focus of  the TV series "The Apprentice," as the show's contestants designed, prepared and marketed new pet food brands as part of their weekly challenge.
Participants in the current season of "The Apprentice" visited the Mars Petcare sites to learn about the pet care market from nutrition experts at Mars. The teams were then challenged to come up with the recipe for their new petfood and put to the test as they made up their own batch of the food at Mars Petcare’s Melton site. The teams went on to develop an advertising campaign centered around their new product and had to present the ad scheme back to a panel of expert judges.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Freshpet launches TV ad campaign for dog food

Freshpet launched an advertising campaign for its dog food that includes television commercials airing during programming on ABC, NBC and CBS, as well as on more than 20 cable networks, like Animal Planet and Food Network.
The TV ad campaign, which includes one 30-second ad and two 15-second ads, was created for the company by Darling Agency. The first round of Freshpet ads runs through late June, and the second round will air from August through October. Freshpet's decision to invest the 2011 media/marketing budget in the TV campaign came from 2009 testing of various media in key markets.
"We saw 30% sales lifts -- I mean sustained lifts -- with the television, so the power of that medium for our strategy was clear, and we moved to a small national cable campaign in 2010," said Freshpet vice president of marketing, Kathryn Winstanley. "With our quickly expanding distribution, we saw a huge opportunity to move to a much more significant campaign with agency creative this year. These products are truly unique - they're not just another brand of flavored kibble that sits on shelves for years sometimes. We're redefining the pet food category, and that requires marketing and other investment."
Freshpet also employs social media and continues to test print, billboards and other media for advertising campaigns.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

FDA seeks public comment on Food Safety Modernization Act

The US Food and Drug Administration is seeking public comments and recommendations on measures relating to the Food Safety Modernization Act, which requires manufacturers of food and animal feed to implement measures for safe production and mitigation of risks.
The deadline for comment is August 22, and FDA said it expects the proposed rule to be published in fall 2011. The public may submit comments electronically or via mail to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, Maryland, USA, 20852.
"The preventive-controls requirement of FSMA is one of the most important aspects of this historic law on food safety. It's imperative that we get information, data and feedback from industry and other stakeholders," said Michael R. Taylor, deputy FDA commissioner for foods.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wall Street Transcript releases pet retail report with expert analysis

The Wall Street Transcript released a report on the pet retail sector, with expert commentary as well as an analysis of competition and trends in the pet food and products marketplace. The 14-page "Pets & Vets Report" focuses on pet retailers such as PetMed, PetSmart and Costco and brands such as Hill's Science Diet.
Specific topics covered by the report include "Increased Competition in the Pet Medication Space," by Edward Woo of Wedbush Securities; "Organic Growth Key for Large Pet Retailers" by Joan Storms, also from Wedbush Securities; "Retail Trends for Pet Products" by Daniel Hofkin from William Blair & Co. LLC; and "Specialty Retailers with Diversified Products" by Brian Nagel of Oppenheimer & Co. Inc.
The "Pets & Vets Report" can be purchased online.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Study links pet obesity and new parents

Flexcin International, makers of joint supplements for pets, released data from its study on a possible link between pet obesity and new parents.
Flexcin analyzed demographic data from its team of customer advisor specialists to determine the largest percentage of pet obesity-related inquiries. The company found that new parents represented the fastest-growing demographic inquiring about dog-joint health issues relating to pet obesity. In a six-month analysis from June through December 2010, new parents represented roughly a third (32.3%) of the joint health inquiries tied to overweight pets, up from 25.7% in 2008. Elderly pet owners came in second at 28.5%.
“Through the research and our discussions with veterinarian experts, new parents tend to let down their guard when watching their dog’s diet because their focus is clearly on addressing their new baby,” said Tamer Elsafy, chief executive and founder of Flexcin.

Pedigree will donate to shelters for Twitter, Facebook reaction from consumers in June

Pedigree will donate more than 100,000 pounds of pet food to shelters across the country as part of its “Every Dog Deserves” campaign.
Chelsea Kane, of "Dancing with the Stars" fame, will help kick off the “Every Dog Deserves” campaign on June 1, by delivering the first 10,000 pounds of petfood donation to the Amanda Foundation in Beverly Hills, California, USA.
Throughout the month of June, Pedigree wants dog lovers to log in to Facebook and Twitter to tell the company why they think that “Every Dog Deserves” the very best. For each "Like," comment, "@reply", re-tweet and photo upload directed at Pedigree, the company will donate one pound of food up to 100,000 pounds total.

Friday, June 3, 2011 to stream live coverage of Purina Incredible Dog Challenge

Petfood brand Purina has teamed up with, making it the exclusive online home of the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge athletic dog competition. will provide live competition coverage, informative blogs, radio broadcasts, event results and canine athlete news from the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge. In addition, the website will offer free on-demand video replays of all recent Purina Incredible Dog Challenge events.
"Fans of the amazing world of athletic dogs can count on to provide them with the most comprehensive coverage of this fun and fast-paced sport," said Kathy Carson of "We are also proud to be the only online destination for watching the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge, and we know that fans across the country will be logging on to watch the best-of-the-best compete for the regional and national titles."

P&G may look to sell Iams, Eukanuba pet food brands

Procter & Gamble recently sold its Pringles brand and may be looking to sell off other brands in its portfolio, including its Iams and Eukanuba brand pet foods, according to an article from
The Nasdaq article says that P&G's Iams and Eukanuba brands together contribute US$1.6 billion to P&G's total sales, which exceed US$80 billion, and may be one reason the company would sell its petfood brands. Branded petfoods also face stiff competition from private labels and regional brands, according to the article, which may be another reason for the company to consider selling these brands. With the divestiture of Pringles, P&G's dependence on agricultural inputs has also declined. The petfood segment is now the only product segment within P&G's portfolio that sources raw materials directly from agriculture, so the company does not benefit from economies of scale by sourcing higher volumes with other food brands.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

AdWeek looks at evolution of dog food advertising in America

Speak! dog food's advertisement set trends for petfood advertisers today.
A recent article from AdWeek takes a look into how advertising for brands in the dog food industry has changed over the course of US history.
In 1908, one of the few choices for Americans looking to feed their pets was Milk-Bone dog biscuits. In 1922, Ken-L Ration's introduced the world’s first canned dog food, which captured 90% of market share by 1941. After World War II, General Foods unsuccessfully launched the Gravy Train, but consumers had to add water to the dry kibble, making it messy, the article says.
However, a dog food revolution took place in 1961 when Gaines-Burgers introduced a petfood patty cross between wet and dry dog foods. By 1962, Gaines-Burgers had competition in the dog food market with Speak!, bite-size treats that could be used both as petfood and a pet treat. Speak!, though, had an advertising scheme that was ahead of its time, according to Packaged Facts senior pet market analyst, David Lummis.
“It picks up on the same marketing theme we see today: user convenience. Speak! comes in its own bowl. You can serve half and put the other half in the refrigerator. This ad is very smart,” Lummis said.
Despite the fact that Speak! dog food went out of business shortly after its ad debuted, the company's petfood advertisement represents the evolution of dog food over time, Lummis said. The 1962 ad places the dog sitting on floor, while the 2010 Purina ad puts the dog looking at eye-level with its human companion.
“There’s been a societal shift in the past decade—the anthropomorphization of pets,” Lummis said. “Today, the market is all about dogs as members of the family. In fact, what’s so audacious about the 2010 ad is that Purina doesn’t even show the food.”

Purina petfood launches iPad app for cats

Purina, in promotion of its Friskies food for cats, launched a range of Apple iPad application games for cats.
Purina's iPad app games include Cat-Fishing, Tasty Treasure Hunt and Party Mix-Up. In the games, cats can chase and paw at the bright colored moving objects, like fish and mice, on the screen. The iPad's touchscreen responds to the cat's paw just as it does a human's hand.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Robert W. Baird & Co. releases pet vendor, retail market survey results

Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. recently released survey results about the pet vendor and retail markets during the first quarter of 2011.
The pet supplier retail survey found that through the first quarter of 2011, sales were in-line with expectations, with 38% of retailers reporting better-than-expected sales and 26% reporting sales short of expectations. For the second quarter of 2011, 85% of retailers expect to see an increase of sales, with most retailers forecasting growth between 4% and 6%. Those surveyed in the pet industry also said that petfood is the main sales category in stores and that consumers are willing to pay more for premium-grade food for their pets.
The pet supply vendor survey also found that sales in the first quarter 2011 were higher, as 63% of vendors surveyed reported better-than-expected sales and only 18% reported sales below expectations. The majority, 91%, of vendors surveyed said they expect sales growth during the second quarter, at an average rate of 7% to 9%.

RECALL: Bravo! recalls pig ear chew pet treats for Salmonella contamination

Bravo! issued a voluntary recall for select boxes of Bravo! pig ears chews because of the potential for Salmonella contamination.
The recalled Bravo! pig ears were distributed to retailers on the East and West Coasts of the United States, between January 1 and February 28. Products affected include Bravo! pig ears with the product code 75-121 and lot number 12-06-10. The company says the recall was issued after a routing sampling program by the Washington, USA, State Department of Agriculture found finished products from the company contained bacteria, though Bravo! says it has no product left in its inventory from this batch. No illnesses to people or animals have been reported, according to Bravo!
Healthy people with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms including: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. If a pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, contact a veterinarian.
Consumers who purchased the recalled pig ears should return them to the place of purchase for a full refund, or contact the company at +1.866.922.9222.