Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Natural pet food company, pet advice center launched in Bahrain

    Bahrain's first all-natural pet food brand, Tails, was recently launched by co-founders Ahmed Al Sharaf and Najat Tarradah, who also offer petfood delivery and animal nutrition advice.
    The company says it aims to provide healthy pet food, which is free of preservatives, added colors and flavors, and uses 100 percent natural ingredients consisting of fruit, vegetables, meat and fresh chicken. Al Sharaf and Tarradah also say all ingredients are human grade and locally sourced. In addition, Tails pet food company delivers directly to customers' doors, and has a center for free pet advice, where owners can schedule face-to-face visits with the company's animal behavior and nutrition experts.  

Pet industry grows by engaging in digital marketing, social media

    The Internet has not only helped the pet industry grow online among consumers looking for pet-related news and entertainment, but also has provided new marketing channels for pet food and pet product retailers.
    A recent article, "[Four] Ways the Pet Industry has Gone Digitial," says one way the pet industry has been following digital trends is in it its adoption of subscription models. Similar to Netflix, the pet industry has services like Petflow, which ships pet food and pet products, and BarkBox, which was launched in November 2011 and donates a portion of its petfood and treat sales to rescues or shelters, according to co-founder Carly Strife. 
    Pet brands are also engaging in ecommerce via social media. Sites like online pet supply retailer encourage consumers to enter contests, respond to polls, post photos and other pet content to its Facebook page. Pet food brand GranataPet Food engaged consumers through Foursquare API with 10 billboards in Munich and Berlin, Germany, that "dispensed" dog food into a bowl on the ground each time a user "checked in." Pedigree hosted its "Every Dog Deserves..." campaign through social media as well, in which the brand donated a pound of dog food to a shelter for every "Like," post or tweet about the campaign.  New pet-related smartphone applications are catching on, too, including DoggyDatez, a location-based application for finding both human and dog friends; Petcentric, an application from petfood brand Purina that lets users locate pet-friendly hotels, restaurants and parks; Rate My Puppy, which allows users to upload and rate dog photos; and MyPedED that allows users to carry their pet's medical records, which are also following the digital trend as veterinarians move to computerized medical charts and digital pet X-rays. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bakers pet food brand airs TV ad aimed at dogs in UK

    A new petfood commercial recently aired in the UK featuring high-pitched tones that only dogs can hear, which the pet food company hopes will make dogs bark and make pet owners pay attention to the dog food product being advertised.
    The commercial, by Nestle Purina's Bakers pet food brand, airs tones above 18,000 Hz that are inaudible to humans, but sound like a dog whistle to dogs. The minute-long commercial also includes normal tones that humans can hear as well, such as whistling, barking and bell ringing.
    "With these special sounds we hope this delivers enjoyment for both dogs and their owners," said Mark Zaki, brand manager for Bakers.
    Bakers tested the advertisement by playing it to 12 dogs that were distracted by a toy, and researchers found that all 12 of the dogs reacted to the commercial's high-pitched tones, according to a report

Monday, February 27, 2012

Westminster Kennel club switched sponsors due to Pedigree ads with sad dogs, economic reasons

    Petfood manufacturer Pedigree was replaced by Nestle Purina as the sponsor of the 2012 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, partially because the club's previous longtime sponsor aired commercials featuring sad, homeless pets.
    Westminster Kennel Club says the Pedigree ads, featuring shaking, abused pets up for adoption, did not represent the dog show's atmosphere. “We want people to think of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show as a celebration of the dogs in our lives,” said David Frei, the club’s director of communications. Frei said the club expressed its concern to Pedigree, a 24-year sponsor, but made the switch to Nestle Purina in Spring 2011, whose commercials feature more athletic, silly dogs. Frei said the switch was also partly for economic reasons. "Show me an ad with a dog with a smile; don’t try to shame me,” Frei said. “We told them that, and they ignored us.” 

Horizon Pet Nutrition launches fish dog food formulation

    Horizon Pet Nutrition introduced a new fish formulation to its super-premium dog food line, Legacy. 
    The company says this new grain-free dog food formulation does not include potato or tapioca, and includes peas as the main carbohydrate. Horizon says the food was formulated with fish as an alternative to chicken for dogs that may be allergic to chicken.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Natural Balance pet food dog featured on new Animal Planet TV show

    A new reality TV show, Who Let the Dogs Out, recently premiered on Animal Planet channel featuring a cross-country search for America's most talented dog.
    The show follows pet food manufacturer Natural Balance's Tillman, "The World's Fastest Skateboarding Bulldog," and a group of other canines as they attend casting calls across the country and travel to find the most talented dog. The show runs for 10 weeks on Animal Planet, every Saturday morning at 10 a.m. US eastern time. 

New food safety alliance to aid pet food manufacturers in FSMA compliance

    The US Food and Drug Administration in cooperation with the Illinois, USA, Institute of Technology’s Institute for Food Safety and Health created the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance to develop training courses and materials on preventing contamination for both human and animal food during production.
    The alliance was created to prepare for new rules, expected to be proposed by the administration in early 2012, which would require pet food manufacturing facilities to implement measures to help prevent foodborne illness. The materials to be developed by the alliance will help the industry, especially small- and medium-size companies, in complying with the new preventive control rules. The alliance is composed of members from the Food and Drug Administration, local and state food protection agencies, the food industry and academia. It is funded by a one-year, US$1 million grant to the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute for Food Safety and Health. releases new study on dog-friendly travel

    A study by, an online resource for dog-friendly travel, found that eight out of 10 people who bring their dogs with them when traveling say that a hotel's policies and amenities are important when selecting accommodations.
    According to Dave Kendrick, co-founder of, more than 40 percent of people said it was difficult to find dog-friendly accommodations, a third of people said their dog's safety was a concern in traveling with them, and more than 30 percent said it was difficult to find dog-friendly activities. Kendrick said more than 43 percent of dog travelers said the selection of pet-friendly hotels is poor, and nearly 17 percent said they did not bring their dog on a trip because of concerns about finding doggie day care. "This survey sends a huge message to the lodging industry. The influence of this significant group of leisure travelers is rising and hoteliers should take note of their concern about expensive hotel pet fees (42.3 percent) and confusion over pet-friendly policies (34 percent),” said Kendrick. “What really stood out was not the numbers of those who travel with dogs, but the reasons why leisure travel dog-owners do not travel with their dogs.”  

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Halo advised to stop certain pet food advertisement claims

    The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that pet food manufacturer Halo, Purely for Pets modify or discontinue certain Internet advertising claims that state or suggest competing pet foods are unsafe, unhealthy or made with unsafe ingredients.
    Competing petfood manufacturer Hill's Pet Nutrition challenged Halo’s advertising claims before the National Advertising Division. Challenges included Halo's claims that chicken meal and other pet food ingredients used in competing products are not as high of quality as its own ingredients, and claims that competing pet foods should not be fed to pets because they are not of human grade.
    In its decision, the National Advertising Division said that, contrary to the arguments of advertiser Halo, a specific competitor does not need to be identified in a claim for it to be considered comparative to a competitor. The decision also said that as the advertiser, Halo is responsible for all reasonable interpretations of its claims.  The National Advertising Division said Halo voluntarily agreed to discontinue the claims challenged, and the group warned Halo of any such future claims.

Format Foundation launched to support higher animal science education

    Formulation software manufacturer Format International has launched a new foundation to support higher education in animal science and nutrition, especially formulation.
    Launched during Victam Asia 2012, February 15 in Bangkok, Thailand, along with a new formulation software, Indigo, the Format Foundation will partner universities with students and industry to develop more professionals with formulation backgrounds, according to Dan Evans, marketing manager for Format. Participating universities will be allowed to use Format Indigo software for free. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

SPF launches new odor program for pleasant-smelling pet food

      During Victam Asia 2012 in Bangkok, Thailand, a dog mascot directs visitors to the SPF stand to learn about the new Feel Good Program
    SPF, the palatability company, launched a new Feel Good Program that allows pet food manufacturers to create products that smell pleasing to pet owners while tasting good to pets, the company says. The program debuted at Victam Asia 2012, occurring February 15-17 in Bangkok, Thailand.
    In partnership with Firmenich, a perfume and flavor company, SPF developed the program based on research into pet owner preferences for the smell of kibble and wet pet food products, according to Elodie Revéret, research project manager for SPF. She said the companies worked to prove that the odors, which can be customized for pet food manufacturers, will last throughout the shelf life of the products. Examples of odors available include roasted chicken, Italian seasoning and beef.
    Chloe Champion, markets and trends manager for SPF, and Mark Rubin, senior flavorist for Firmenich, will present the research on what pet-owning consumers think about the smell of kibble at Petfood Forum 2012 on April 3, at the Renaissance Schaumburg near Chicago, Illinois, USA. 

AIB plans March food safety webinars for pet food manufacturers

AIB International offers a number of food safety webinar training courses for pet food manufacturers, including two taking place in March.
AIB's SQF 2000 Systems Overview webinar training will be held March 16, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. CDT. The company will also offer a FSSC 22000 Overview webinar training on March 30, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. CDT. Those interested in attending the training sessions may pay and register online. A link to the webinar will be emailed to those who cannot attend the live session.
In addition, AIB offers company-exclusive GFSI training webinars to assist pet food manufacturers in preparing for BRC, FSSC 22000 (ISO 22000 and PAS 220), and SQF audits. For more information, contact AIB's food safety education staff at 800.633.5137.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pet product retailer Fressnapf's 2011 sales rise to US$1.7 billion

    European pet product retailer Fressnapf's 2011 sales rose by 5.2 percent over 2010 sales, to €1.36 billion (US$1.7 billion), in 11 European countries.
    In Germany, Fressnapf's 2011 sales increased 3.4 percent to €913.5 million (US$1.2 billion), which comes after the petfood and accessory retailer opened 23 of its 56 new stores there in 2011. In 10 other countries where Fressnapf trades under the name Maxi Zoo, sales rose 9 percent to €448.9 million (US$587.1 million) in 2011. The company reported its total like-for-like sales were up by slightly more than 1 percent.  

Global Pet Expo to break records for 2012 pet products show

    Global Pet Expo 2012, the annual pet products trade show presented by the American Pet Products Association and the Pet Industry Distributors Association, is set to break all previous show size records, with the highest number of booths sold to a record number of exhibitors, according to Andrew Darmohraj, senior vice president of the American Pet Products Association.
    Global Pet Expo will feature 890 pet product exhibitors and 2,452 booths during the three-day event, taking place February 29 – March 2, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, USA. Darmohraj also said that almost all of the show’s special sections have also sold out, some of which include: Natural Pet, Boutique, Everything Aquatic, International Pavilion and What’s New! “We are thrilled at the consistent and impressive growth Global Pet Expo has enjoyed over the years. With more exhibitors and booths than ever, and an expectation for high attendance numbers, 2012 is shaping up to be our largest Show to date on many fronts,” said Darmohraj. “As the pet industry continues to expand, Global Pet Expo offers buyers the opportunity to see more new product launches than any other industry show. Global Pet Expo is the must-attend pet industry show of the year.”

Monday, February 20, 2012

Survey of vets finds 54 percent of American pets are overweight

    A new survey of veterinarians, conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, found that 54 percent of pets in America are overweight or obese. 
    The survey found that 53 percent of adult dogs and 55 percent of adult cats are considered to be overweight or obese by veterinarians - a total of 88.4 million pets. "The most distressing finding in this year's study was the fact that more pet owners are unaware their pet is overweight," said Association for Pet Obesity Prevention founder, Dr. Ernie Ward. "In simplest terms, we've made fat pets the new normal." Veterinarians surveyed said that 15 percent of cat owners and 22 percent of dog owners said their pets were "normal weight," even when their pet was put on the scale. Yet, the survey also found that 93 percent of pet owners say they are aware that pet obesity is a problem. A major factor contributing to the obesity of pets is pet owners feeding commercial petfood and treats, which is often very high in calories, Ward says. According to the survey, a typical dog treat fed to a 20-pound dog is the same as a human eating two, double-stuffed fudge cookies, while feeding a pig ear to a 40-pound dog contains the same amount of calories as a human drinking six, 12-ounce cans of soda. Ward recommends that pet owners feed single-ingredient treats or fresh vegetables that are safe for animals.

Friday, February 17, 2012

West Virginia, USA, considers pet food package permit fee increase

    The Senate Agriculture Committee of West Virginia, USA, is considering a bill that would create a pet spay and neuter fund by raising the permit fee on select pet food packages, according to a report.
    Senate Bill 479 establishes a Spay Neuter Assistance Fund to subsidize spay and neuter programs throughout West Virginia, USA, in an effort to decrease the number of animals euthanized in West Virginia shelters, the bill says. The bill would raise pet food registration fees from US$50 to US$75 per product, allocating the $25 increase to the spay and neuter fund.
    The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council opposes the bill, saying the cost of spay and neuter services should not be only the responsibility of petfood distributors and retailers.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Danish petfood manufacturer receives 2012 Global Pets Forum Award

    Danish pet food manufacturer Vital Petfood Group was awarded the 2012 Global Pets Forum Award during a ceremony recently held in Berlin, Germany, Pets International announced.
    The private-label pet food maker scored highest in a series of categories to receive the award. Paul van der Raad, Vital Petfood Group managing director, was presented the award by Pets International general director, Corine van Winden, at the 13th Global Pets Forum. The forum was attended by more than 200 pet industry professionals from 30 countries, who learned about the changing pet food market, social media use, pet retail and more. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

FDA urged to issue recall for chicken jerky pet treats from China

    Pet owners and government representatives are urging the Food and Drug Administration to take action to ensure chicken jerky treats from China are removed from US store shelves, after reports of pets being sickened or killed after consuming the dog chews.
    "The FDA must not wait to issue a voluntary recall until it is able to definitively identify a causal agent," said Ohio, USA, Rep. Dennis Kucinich. "The FDA has clearly established an association between consumption of the chicken jerky and illness and death. It is simply not feasible to expect every dog owner to be aware of a modestly publicized warning from the FDA." The Food and Drug Administration has been investigating the chicken jerky products since 2007, but has yet to determine a cause of the illnesses linked to treat consumption. "No specific products have been recalled or implicated because we have not detected a contaminant," said Tamara Ward, Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman. "The FDA continues to actively investigate the problem and its origin. If we find evidence of any contaminant, the FDA will take appropriate action and notify the public." The Food and Drug Administration advises pet owners to monitor their pets and stop feeding the jerky products if pets show signs of decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased water consumption and/or increased urination.   

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Frozen, fresh pet food company named to 'List of Best Pet Foods'

    My Perfect Pet, a frozen and fresh petfood company in California, USA, has been added to the 2012 Truth About Pet Food "List of Best Pet Foods."
    The list was compiled to raise awareness of and recommend the best pet food companies based on four criteria: quality of ingredients, transparency/customer service, "things" known about the pet food industry from research, and integrity based on quality, care and concern for customers, according to the list's developer, food safety advocate, Susan Thixton.  “To be recognized as a top commercial pet food company by a professional expert such as Susan Thixton, who truly knows and understands the importance of knowledge and its impact on pet health is such an honor,” said president of My Perfect Pet, Karen Scoggins. “Within days of posting 'The List,' My Perfect Pet has been selected by nationally recognized teams as superior to the big companies that once ruled the pet food industry.” 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Webinar on FDA pet food regulation to be held February 23

    On Febrary 23, a 90-minute webinar training event will provide an introduction to the US Food and Drug Administration's rules governing petfood product development; formulation, manufacturing and labeling; and marketing and promotion.
    The webinar will by instructed by Karl Nobert, a food and drug regulatory attorney with Squire Sanders law firm in Washington, D.C., USA. Specific topics covered include FDA's regulation of pet food products; various components of a pet food label; the process for introducing a new ingredient or feed additive to the market; differences between the Pre-Market Clearance Process, the Food Additive Petition Process and the process for having an ingredient deemed Generally Recognized As Safe; update on the status of the Proposed GRAS Self-Affirmation Notification Program; a summary of FDA's recent enforcement activity, and recent trends and areas of particular enforcement risks; FDA's regulation of those veterinary products marketed and sold as dietary supplement and nutraceutical in the US; and a brief introduction to the animal drug approval process.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Alltech to host Animal Health and Nutrition Symposium in May

    Alltech will host the 2012 Animal Health and Nutrition Symposium on May 20-23, with a focus on the "SMART Revolution": SMART ideas, SMART industry leaders, SMART use of resources, SMART business practices and SMART nutritional solutions.
    SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound, the five criteria Alltech says a business case should encompass to increase the chance of success. Among the topics are: Keeping your companion animals healthy: Genetic factors and nutritional solutions for maintaining a healthy body condition and preventing obesity; Growing grain grab in a growing industry: Smart alternatives to scarce ingredients; Fish meal replacement in a rapidly expanding industry - The algae revolution; Creating Raving Fans - Marketing excellence; Getting closer to customers: Understanding generational differences for successful messaging and media; The YUM experience in China: Successfully transforming a global brand for local success; and First mover advantage: Emerging consumer trends.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Euromonitor report examines UK pet products market trends

    Euromonitor International's latest report, Pet Care in the United Kingdom, examines the changing UK pet products market, finding that the UK pet humanization trend may be playing a role in the rising pet obesity trend.
    The report projects that more "diet" pet food products, including low-calorie and portion-controlled pet food options, will be offered in 2012 by petfood manufacturers. "Obesity is also emerging as a major issue for pet owners in the UK, driven in large part by the fact that many are feeding their pets 'human' food," said Lee Linthicum, Euromonitor's head of food research. "It does offer opportunities for the pet products market, as 'humanisation' fuels pet owners' desires to spend more on their pets; but it also perpetuates the increasing costs associated with owning a pet." In addition to increasing costs, Euromonitor also found that increasing time and budget constraints have caused UK pet owners to switch from owning dogs, to owning low-cost, low-maintenance animals like cats and reptiles. "Not all owners can afford these costs," Linthicum said. "It puts downward pressure on the country's dog population, because of the demand on time and money that is required for these animals. It burdens those owners that want to offer the best for their pet but cannot afford to do so."
    The proportion of UK dog-owning households fell particularly for large dog breeds, whose ownership rates fell from 2.8 million in 2006 to 1.8 million in 2011, the report found. At the same time, the proportion of cat-owning households rose from 24.6 percent to 25.4 percent over the same period. The full report can be purchased online.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Perfection Pet Foods to open human-grade testing, manufacturing plant

    Perfection Pet Foods will soon open a new manufacturing facility in Visalia, California, USA, which according to the company's vice president of operations, Ed Cooper, far exceeds the food safety requirements currently in place for petfood manufacturers.
    The new plant has an on-site independent certified lab, which is also certified to test food for human consumption, that tests the petfood ingredients arriving at the plant through to the end product.  The pet food plant also has sealed rooms separating different production stages. One area considered to be potentially dangerous for the development of bacterial and toxins is the room that wet and dry pet food ingredients are combined in, where Perfection Pet Food employees will wear clothing, shoe covers and hairnets that do not leave the room, and employees use special stations to scrub exposed skin. The plant also circulates air through three special Hepa filters to ensure no outside air enters the plant and uses a special enamel floor coating to ensure food safety, according to the company. The new petfood production facility will produce 140,000 tons of dry pet food when it opens in March. Cooper said that the company expects to double its production capacity in two years, and grow the company from 30 employees to 80. Cooper also said that within that time, the company hopes to source mainly local ingredients to produce its more than 200 dog and cat food formulas. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

American Feed Industry Association hosts Pet Food Conference

    At the 2012 International Feed Expo/International Poultry Expo, recently held in Atlanta, Georigia, USA, the American Feed Industry Association hosted the annual Pet Food Conference.
    The Pet Food Conference covered topics ranging from regulatory issues to the technical aspects of production, food safety, marketing and use of ingredients. The conference featured expert speakers from companies and organizations, including Euromonitor International, ADM Alliance Nutrition, Novus International, Eurofins Scientific, Trouw Nutrition USA, DSM Nutritional Products, SPF North America, American Proteins, Pet Food Association of Canada, National Renderers Association, the Association of American Feed Control Officials, and the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Dan McChesney, FDA-CVM, spoke to attendees about the Food and Drug Administration's progress on the Food Safety Modernization Act, which charged the agency with improving the safety of food prevention within the U.S. “As the risk goes up, we need to be certain we’re controlling it,” he said. McChesney advised feed facilities to identify what controls are already in place compared to what is required by the Food Safety Modernization Act. Most importantly, he said, the facility is required to reconcile any differences and to document those controls. “Whatever you have identified as a hazard, you have to have a preventive control to address that hazard,” said McChesney.  Dr. McChesney also addressed the upcoming change to the Association of American Feed Control Officials’ feed ingredient approval process, with the Food and Drug Administration set to step aside from the process in 2012. “The AAFCO process is not going away without anything to replace it,” he said.
    Dr. McChesney will speak about the Food Safety Modernization Act and petfood regulation at the upcoming Petfood Forum, taking place April 2-4, in Schaumburg, Illinois, USA.

Monday, February 6, 2012

EU pet owners spend US$33.05 billion on pet products, study finds

    EU-member states spend an annual €25 billion (US$33.05 billion) on pet necessities such as pet food, according to a study conducted by IFH Retail Consultants, a subsidiary of the Institut für Handelsforschung.
    Nearly three-quarters of the total European pet owner expenditure goes to pet food, with the amount spent on pet accessories and pet care products much less in contrast, the report found. Dogs and cats dominate the European pet sector, with more than €10 billion (US$13.22 billion) on spending annually for dogs and cats, while spending €1 billion (US$1.322 billion) is spent on fish, small animals and birds, according to IFH Retail Consultants. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Release of regulations for Food Safety Modernization Act delayed

    The US Food and Drug Administration’s release of proposed regulations to implement the cornerstone of the Food Safety Modernization Act has been delayed by the White House Office of Management and Budget, which is still in the review stage.
    The Food and Drug Administration had hoped to release four separate sets of proposed regulations on January 4, the one-year anniversary of the Food Safety Modernization Act's signing into law. Two of those sets of proposed rules will pertain to the requirement that food and feed facilities analyze hazards, implement appropriate preventive controls and develop written food/feed safety plans — each of which is intended to minimize or prevent the potential for products to be adulterated or misbranded. The set pertaining to animal feed, feed ingredient and pet food manufacturers will consist of a 200-page preamble, 100-page economic analysis and the text of the proposed regulations. The other two sets of proposed regulations pertain to law’s requirements that food and feed facilities implement a foreign supplier verification program; and produce growers and handlers implement hazard analysis, preventive controls and product-tracing systems for such products as fruits, vegetables, spinach and lettuce. The final regulations must take effect by July 3. 

AFIA creates petfood manufacturing facility certification program

    The American Feed Industry Association recently announced new third-party facility certification programs designed specifically for manufacturing pet food and pet food ingredients.
    The Pet Food Manufacturing Facility Certification Program and the Pet Food Ingredient Facility Certification Program were developed by the association's pet food and quality committees with input from third-party food safety experts. The association says the two programs were based on its Safe Feed/Safe Food program and are designed to monitor the process controls specifically related to pet food manufacturing. The two pet food certification programs were designed to meet requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act regulations, and the association is currently seeking approval by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Horizon Pet Nutrition launches grain-free pet food formula

    Pet food manufacturer Horizon Pet Nutrition recently launched a new grain-free pet food formula, Pulsar.
    According to Jeff English, Horizon Pet Nutrition co-founder, the new grain-free pet food replaces traditional grains with alternative ingredients such as potato and tapioca, but is still offered at an affordable price for consumers. The primary source of carbohydrates in the Pulsar formula is pulses, which are the edible seeds of legume plants, like peas and red lentils, the company says. The Pulsar formula is available in both chicken and fish protein recipes. 

10 tips for maintaining a pet's healthy body weight

    A Florida, USA, veterinarian is offering 10 tips for pet owners on how much pet food should be fed to their dog or cat to maintain a healthy body weight.
    The first rule, according to Dr. Patty Khuly, is that regardless of which pet food brand, be sure to invest in a diet that is nutritionally balanced. For cats, Dr. Khuly says to add moisture to the feline food because a 2010 UK study found that at the end, cats fed moistened diets were more active and weighed less. She says pet owners must measure out their pet's food with a proper measuring tool to ensure the right portion. Pet owners should be consistent about the pet food brand and formula they feed or the way home-cooked petfood is prepared. Dr. Khuly also says pet owners should ask their vet to provide their pet's body condition score, which is an indicator of the need to lose weight if it is high. It may also be necessary to increase or decrease the petfood amounts over time, until reaching the perfect portion.  Pet owners should not forget that treats contain calories too, which also affect a pet's weight. Also to ensure a healthy weight, pet owners should consider the amount of exercise their pet receives in determining the proper amount of food to feed. As pets age, their metabolism slows down, so pet owners should watch for these changes, Dr. Khuly says. Finally, she says that pet owners need to remember that all animals are different, and so, will have different nutritional needs.

Wenger to hold pet food safety seminar in March

    Wenger Manufacturing Inc. will hold a Food Safety Seminar for the pet food industry from March 27-29, at its Sabetha, Kansas, USA, petfood extrusion facility.
    The pet food safety seminar will be hosted by the company's Corporate Project Services division, made up of industry professionals. The group will share food safety information as it applies directly to each step of the pet food production process, from plant design and sourcing raw materials, to production, sanitation and packaging. The seminar will consist of classroom instruction and practical demonstration at Wenger's Technical Center Extrusion Lab. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Help Petfood Forum Asia assist local Thai animal organizations

After record flooding in Bangkok last fall, many dogs and cats living on the streets were left without food or care. Organizations that help care for these pets in good times and bad still need help feeding and relocating them. SCADBangkok (SCAD stands for Soi Cats and Dogs, with "Soi" being the Thai word for alley) can use donations of dry and wet cat food, plus wet dog food, as well as monetary donations. The Soi Dog Foundation also needs financial support and pet food donations.
As part of PetfoodForum Asia in Bangkok on February 16, we will be collecting donations and forwarding to these two organizations, or you can donate directly to them. Please consider helping out!

Royal Canin pet food focuses on cat, dog breed-specific nutrition

    French-based pet food manufacturer, Royal Canin, has found its way into the petfood market with a focus on specially formulated pet food diets for specific dog and cat breeds, as well as for pets of different ages and sizes. 
    Through the Royal Canin pet food brand, parent company Mars Inc. has been able to gain market share with pet food manufacturer Nestle Purina, according to analysts. In 2006, market researcher packaged facts estimated that Mars held 12 percent market share compared to Nestle Purina's 32 percent market share; Mars has since increased its market share to an estimated 17 percent compared to Nestle's 35 percent market share. Royal Canin petfood is distributed through three channels: animal breeders, veterinary offices and specialty pet retailers, such as Petco and PetSmart, while Nestle Purina petfood is also available at grocery stores.
    "There's been a huge trend of customers scaling up to premium products, not just out of indulgence, but a lot of the products have functional angles, and that jives well with what Royal Canin has always done," said David Lummis, senior pet market analyst at Packaged Facts. Royal Canin also offers training classes for both its employees and its customers, including petfood store buyers, veterinarians and breeders, at its St. Charles, Missouri, USA headquarters. "We want an educated recommender," said Ann Hudson, Royal Canin's corporate affairs director. The company does not use marketing studies to decide where to invest in new product development, but rather its employees focus on the needs of pets and how to respond to those needs, according to Joe Flanigan, general manager of Royal Canin US. "We know we want to care for the 200 million pets in the US, and our goal simply is to care for more of them," Flanigan said.  "The health angle has become more important," Lummis said. "What it means is, if a company's marketing can convey the health benefits of their product, that's a way of making these foods less of a discretionary expense. Consumers may cut back on (pet) toys, but not on food." 

Pet product retail, consumer trends report released by Packaged Facts

    Packaged Facts released a new report, Pet Product Retail Channel and Consumer Shopping Trends, which says pet product retailers and marketers should re-evaluate strategic options to keep up with the increasingly competitive pet product marketplace.
    The report suggests options for remaining competitive in the market, including: competing on price; incorporating premium or natural products into offerings; improving merchandising, marketing and promotions; promoting pet treats; and becoming "destination information" sources.  According to the report, three long-term factors have greatly increased competition: the expansion of big-box pet specialty chains; the growth of mass merchandisers and supercenters; and the rise of the Internet. In the short term, budget constraints have changed the way consumers buy and what they buy, proving they are willing to switch channels and brands to make ends meet or satisfy shifting priorities.
    The full report may be purchased online from Packaged Facts