Friday, August 29, 2014

Review board recommends Blue Buffalo modify advertising

    A panel of the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) has recommended that Blue Buffalo Company Ltd. modify its advertisements to avoid any express or implied messages that competing petfood companies are “fooling” or otherwise misleading consumers and modify its online “True BLUE Test” comparison chart. NARB is the appellate unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation.
    Advertising claims made by Blue Buffalo for its BLUE brand petfood products were initially challenged by Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc., a competing manufacturer of petfood products, before the National Advertising Division (NAD), an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. The challenged claims included a “True BLUE Test” chart that compared petfood brands and gave or withheld checkmarks.
    NAD determined that the challenged advertisements reasonably conveyed the unsupported message that major petfood companies, including Hill’s, were misleading their customers by actively concealing the truth about the ingredients in their products and representing their products as being of high quality when they are not because they include lesser quality ingredients such as chicken by-product meals and corn gluten. The NAD recommended that Blue Buffalo modify the challenged advertisements to avoid any express or implied references to competing manufacturers misleading consumers because their products include chicken/meat by-product meal or other ingredients represented by Blue Buffalo to be less nutritious. Blue Buffalo appealed this recommendation.
    NAD also found that the “True BLUE Test” comparison chart reasonably conveyed the inaccurate message that the absence of checkmarks for a manufacturer meant that all of that manufacturer’s petfood products had specified “undesirable” ingredients and none of that manufacturer’s petfood products had specified “desirable” ingredients. The NAD recommended that Blue Buffalo modify the “True BLUE Test” comparison chart by:
    • specifying the number of products which include or do not include certain ingredients
    • regularly monitoring product offerings of competing brands to ensure accuracy
    • modifying the format of its online disclosures
    • modifying its mobile disclosures
    • ensuring that checkmarks appear in a uniform manner
    Blue Buffalo agreed to regularly monitor product offerings of competing brands, modify its mobile disclosures and ensure that checkmarks on its “True BLUE Test” chart appear more uniform; it appealed the remainder of the NAD’s recommendations.
     Following its review of the evidence, the NARB panel determined that the challenged advertisements reasonably conveyed the unsupported message that all or most major petfood companies, including Hill’s, were misleading their customers by concealing the truth about ingredients in their products, and representing their products are high quality when they are not because they include lesser quality ingredients such as chicken by-product meal and corn gluten. The panel recommended that Blue Buffalo modify the challenged advertising to eliminate this message. The panel noted that the challenged advertisements encouraged pet owners to visit the Blue Buffalo website to take the “True BLUE Test” comparing Blue Buffalo products to other petfood brands. The “True BLUE Test” had either checkmarks or blank spaces for the Blue Buffalo brand and competing brands in several categories. The record showed numerous examples where a competing petfood company did not receive a check even though a significant majority of its products met the specified criteria.
    The panel recommended that Blue Buffalo modify its “True BLUE Test” comparison chart to clearly communicate the total number of each brand’s products and the number of those products that include or do not include specified ingredients, clearly communicate the percentage of each brand’s products which include or do not include specified ingredients, or use other methods that clearly communicate the degree to which each brand’s products include or do not include specified ingredients. In addition, the panel recommended that any advertising referring consumers to the “True BLUE Test” be modified to make it clear that the “True BLUE Test” compares brands and avoid stating or implying that the “True BLUE Test” will enable consumers to compare specific petfood products.
    Blue Buffalo, in its advertiser’s statement, said that “with all due respect to the NARB and the efforts and time of the NARB panel devoted to this matter, Blue Buffalo disagrees with the conclusions of the NARB.” The company said that while it is not “in complete agreement with this decision, we recognize that we voluntarily committed to participate in the self-regulatory process of the NAD and the NARB. Out of respect for that process, in our future advertisements we will strive to abide by this NARB decision, as well as the guidance of other NAD decisions … . We will incorporate changes to our ads and website that are consistent with the NARB recommendations, with all due diligence."

Thursday, August 28, 2014

RECALL: Mars Petcare US recalls Pedigree adult complete nutrition for dogs

    Mars Petcare US has announced a voluntary recall of 22 bags of Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food products due to the possible presence of a foreign material. The bags were produced in one manufacturing facility and shipped to one retail customer. The facility production line has been shut down until this issue is resolved.
    Affected bags, which were sold between August 18 and August 25, 2014, in 12 Dollar General stores in Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana, may contain small metal fragments, which could have entered the packages during the production process. The foreign material is not embedded in the food itself, but may present a risk of injury if consumed. Consumers who have purchased affected product are encouraged to discard the food or return it to the retailer for a full refund or exchange. There have been no reports of injury or illness associated with the affected product.
    Mars Petcare US is working with Dollar General to ensure that the recalled products are no longer sold and are removed from inventory.
    Product details
    Only 15-pound bags of Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition dry dog food sold at Dollar General in Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana with the UPC code 23100 10944 are included in this voluntary recall. Each product will have a lot code printed on the back of the bag near the UPC code that reads 432C1KKM03 and a Best Before date of 8/5/15. No other Pedigree products are affected, including any other variety of dry dog food, wet dog food or dog treats.

Petfood Forum China 2014 brings pet nutrition information to dynamic market

      Nearly 100 petfood professionals from China and throughout the world learned in-depth information about petfood nutrition, ingredients and formulation during Petfood Forum China 2014 on August 22 in Shanghai. The exclusive conference for the Chinese petfood industry was held for the third time, again in conjunction with Pet Fair Asia, one of the largest pet trade shows in China.
      Industry experts presented information to help professionals in the fast-growing Chinese petfood market glean tips and ideas for developing, formulating and processing new petfood products. Paula Flores, head of pet care research for Euromonitor International, said petfood sales in China are increasing from 5% to 12% a year, depending on the category. Her firm projects the same level of growth through at least 2019, with wet petfood sales starting to catch up to dry food and premium petfood sales rising 10% to 13%.
      In addition to Flores speaking, Sean Delaney, DVM, MS, DACVN, founder of DVM Consulting Inc., explained important considerations for formulating dog and cat foods; Anton Beynen, PhD, head of research and development for Vobra Special Petfoods, discussed functional ingredients and related health claims on petfood labels; and Will Henry, director of technology and research and development for Extru-Tech Inc., offered tips on how to maximize nutrition, formulation and function in petfood extrusion.
      Petfood Forum China will return to the World Expo Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai next year during Pet Fair Asia, scheduled for August 27-30, 2015. Pet Fair Asia will add a third exhibit hall as it continues to grow along with the Chinese petfood and pet care markets.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Pooch & Mutt treats among new pet product award finalists

    Pooch & Mutt’s Calm & Relaxed dog treats are one of the finalists in the New Product Awards of UK-based The Grocer Magazine. The New Product Awards represent new products sold in the UK’s supermarkets.
    The Calm & Relaxed treats were launched in March 2013 and have been a bestseller since then, according to Pooch & Mutt. They are available across the whole of the UK at Waitrose, Pets at Home, Pet’s Corner, Pampered Pets and many other independent pet stores and vets. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Roquette America to host functional ingredients in petfoods forum

    Illinois-based Roquette America will host a two-day symposium on functional ingredients in petfoods at Roquette University, in the company's Customer Innovation Center.
    The forum, which will take place October 22–23, 2014, will explore innovative ways to incorporate functional proteins, fibers and starches into more nutritious petfoods. Attendees will gain a new perspective for creating healthier foods that appeal to pets and will have the opportunity to share challenges, solutions and inspiration with other industry members.
    Registration for the event is US$250.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Pet Food Institute helps fund responsible breeding research

    The Pet Food Institute, (PFI), the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council and the World Pet Association have announced that they will be providing funding for a research project to be conducted that will develop independent, scientifically validated animal care and welfare standards for the responsible breeding of dogs. The two-year project by Purdue University's Center for Animal Welfare Science will be led by Dr. Candace Croney, director of the center.
    The goal of the research is to develop, implement as a pilot project and evaluate substantive, science-base standards for the care and welfare of dogs raised by commercial breeders. “We will have new standards of care for dog breeders by the fall, and the evaluation process will begin shortly thereafter," said Duane Ekedahl, president of PFI. "These practices will be thoroughly vetted by experts, including breeders, and refined as necessary prior to implementation.”
    The first phase will be to draft comprehensive care practices for dog breeders that are based on the most up-to-date research on animal welfare science, including health, genetics, behavior and reproductive management. Once drafted, Purdue will enroll breeders in Indiana and several other Midwestern states in a pilot project to evaluate and monitor the health and well-being of animals while the new standards are followed.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Pet Fair Asia 2014 announces InnovAction new product platform

    Pet Fair Asia 2014, being held in Shanghai August 21–24, 2014, will include InnovAction, a new integrated and comprehensive platform to support the launch of new products in China and important markets in Asia.
    It brings the concept of traditional tradeshows' "new products area" to a whole new level of marketing communication, according to organizers:
    • On-site experience with special demonstration area, products video, enhanced visibility on floor maps, show guides, printed and digital signage, professional and consumers voting system.
    • Online exposure through Pet Fair Asia website and social networks, phone App, products video, dedicated electronic newsletters, etc.
    Pet Fair Asia visitors pre-registration system will close on August 15. Take advantage of pre-registration to benefit from free entrance during trade days (August 21–22). After August 15, entrance registration fee is RMB 100 per day.

Ukrainian petfood market expects drop in sales

    By the end of 2014 Ukraine is likely to reduce the sales of petfood while the local market already lost much of its growth prospects because of the ongoing political crisis and military conflict in the east of the country, according to local experts and market players.
    In particular, Ukrainian analytical agency Retail Studio with reference to foreign experts has noted that the market for petfood production in the country in the end of 2013 was considered among the top ten most promising in the world. Average annual growth rate in the period 2009–2012 was 15–20%. Currently, however, the industry is facing serious challenges. "Indeed, the demand that was showing stable growth over the last five years, around March–April this year, dropped, and still remains unstable,” said Anton Greenfeld, manager of Nora Company, local distributor of animal and veterinary products. “Today, many experts predict that this year sales of food for cats and dogs will decrease for the year in general by 10%, mostly due to a fall in purchasing power of the population.”
    Currently, the Ukrainian feed market for dogs and cats is 88,000 metric tons. In monetary terms at wholesale prices (import and producers’ prices) its size is US$130 million, while in retail prices it’s about US$240 million, according to official country statics. The market is dominated by international teams of Mars (Pedigree Petfoods, Royal Cannin, Nutro), which occupies 70% of the market, and Nestle (Carnation, Spillers Petfoods, Ralston Purina), with a 15% share of the market.
    Representatives of the largest companies in general admit that production probably will fall, but do not consider the situation critical. In particular, according to the spokespersons of Mars in Ukraine, the sales volume is likely to drop in the premium segment of the market, while in the economy segment they may even grow. This is connected primarily with the fall of exchange rate of hrivnia, which increased costs of all imported products in the country. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

FIAAP, VICTAM, GRAPAS 2015 early bird registration ending

    FIAAP/VICTAM/GRAPAS International 2015's early bird discount ends on August 31, 2014, according to show organizers. All reservations before September 1, 2014 (and full payment received by January 1, 2015) will receive a discount of Euro 15 per square meter ordered.
    The co-located show, which will be held June 9–11, 2015, in Cologne, Germany, is the world's largest and foremost international event for animal feed ingredients and processing technology, biomass pelleting systems, flour milling and grain processing.
    FIAAP exhibitors will be displaying ingredients and additives necessary for the successful formulation of animal feed, aquafeed, dry petfood and specialty feeds. The VICTAM exhibits will cover the latest technology and systems used in the manufacturing and processing of these animal feeds, aquafeed, dry petfood and speciality feeds. A large number of companies will be exhibiting the essential ancillary equipment necessary for the smooth operation of a feed mill, flour mill or a rice mill. The latter two will be profiled in the GRAPAS trade show as this exhibition covers grain processing, storage & transportation, flour and rice milling technology, as well as pasta, breakfast cereal and extruded snack production.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Meow Mix remixes jingle to benefit food bank

    Meow Mix, country music singer Kellie Pickler and Meow Mix fans are partnering to remix the brand’s 44-year-old jingle to benefit the Food Bank For New York City.
    As part of the new “It’s Meow Time” campaign to celebrate cat parents and their cats, a mobile sound booth will be set up at Columbus Circle in new York City, allowing fans the opportunity to record their own rendition of the Meow Mix jingle solo or alongside Pickler. For every fan that records their own jingle, Meow Mix will donate 100 cat food meals to the Food Bank for New York City, with an overall goal of 100,000 meal donations. Each donation will be distributed to help local, less fortunate families feed the house cats of New York.

Extruder specialist Almex joins Triott Group

    Almex, an extruder and expander specialist, has joined the Triott Group.
    Triott Group, parent company of Ottevanger Milling Engineers, Wynveen International, Inteqnion, TSC and PTN, has recently acquired a majority share in the company. The Almex management said they see opportunities to let the Almex business develop further and to enlarge their market in cooperation with the other Triott Group business units.
    For the Triott Group it means an addition of the sixth successful business unit, making Triott another step wider and more complete by adding Almex to its portfolio. Apart from that, new markets may come within reach for the existing business units.
    Jaap and Robbert Veenendaal, the two previous sole owners of Almex, will continue to manage the company's daily business.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

AFIA comments on proposed FSMA sanitary transportation rule

    The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) has submitted comments to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the proposed Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food rule.
    The FSMA requires FDA to create regulations for shippers, carriers by auto transit or railway vehicles, and receivers to use sanitary transportation practices to ensure food—including animal food—being transported does not become contaminated. The goal of the sanitary transportation rule is to ensure that transportation practices do not create food safety risks.
    Although AFIA openly agrees with FDA in certain areas, such as allowing "the industry to continue to use bulk transport equipment in accordance with best practices without limiting industry, by rule, to hauling non-food exclusive of or preceding any food items," the organization listed several points of difference in their nine pages of comments for FDA to review.
    In the rule, FDA proposed exemptions for farms and shelf stable products. AFIA suggested those exemptions be broadened to include intra-company shipments (when the company maintains control of the product), short haul transports (as defined by the US Department of Transportation) and finished product or raw agricultural commodities transported from facilities to farms in dedicated vehicles. AFIA also commented that FDA should lower the recommendation on the definition of "non-covered business" to engage businesses with transportation operations with less than US$10,000 in total annual sales.
    The organization also made note of the temperature control measures and hand washing facility requirements originally proposed are not appropriate across the animal food industry and would induce unnecessary cost on the industry without improving the safety of animal food products. AFIA would like these requirements to be removed for animal food.
    The comments on the proposed sanitary transportation rule were drafted by AFIA members who volunteered as part of a work group to review the rule. FDA, under a court ordered deadline, must issue the final rule on this topic by March 31, 2016. 

Symrise completes Diana Group acquisition

    Symrise AG has completed the acquisition of French Diana Group, a manufacturer of natural flavors. The EUR 1.3 billion (US$1.75 billion) takeover has been approved by the Diana worker’s council and cleared by the antitrust authorities. Symrise and Diana will immediately initiate the smooth integration while at the same time remaining fully dedicated to their customers and services, according to Symrise.
    “We look forward to working together as our teams share the same entrepreneurial mindset, customer orientation and dedication for natural flavors and nutrition," said Dr. Heinz-Jürgen Bertram, CEO of Symrise. "To meet the growing consumer demand for naturally based solutions we will create an unparalleled platform for natural extracts and functional ingredients. In addition, we will significantly enhance our access to natural raw materials and tap into the petfood market. Symrise will therefore be very well positioned to continue its profitable growth.”
    As part of the integration process Symrise will adapt its Flavor & Nutrition business in which Diana will be incorporated. Going forward, the Flavor & Nutrition segment will consist of two divisions. In the Flavors division, Symrise will concentrate on the development of flavors and flavor compounds. Symrise’s functional ingredients applications, consumer health and the nutrition activities will be integrated to Diana, which will in the future form the second division of the Flavor & Nutrition segment.
    Symrise expects Diana to become earnings accretive from 2015 onwards. The integration will be implemented by joint project teams formed by employees of Symrise and Diana.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Nestlé Purina Petcare opens Mexico's first Purina Pet Park

    Nestlé Purina Petcare has opened Mexico’s first Purina Pet Park just north of Mexico City.
    The park offers a range of attractions specially designed for dogs, such as agility games and areas to play Frisbee. The Parque Purina inauguration comes shortly after Nestlé announced plans to open a new petfood factory in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato in the first half of 2015. The CHF200 million (US$220.6 million) factory project is part of a five-year investment of CHF900 million (US$992.7 million) in the country, according to Nestlé.

AFIA hosts successful FSMA regional training

    The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) hosted its first of three Phase I Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regional seminars July 27–28, 2014, in Sacramento, California. The sold-out, two day meeting was developed to assist the industry in understanding the largest set of rules to impact feed and petfood since the 1950s.
    "Providing FSMA-related training for our members is a top priority for AFIA," said Richard Sellers, AFIA senior vice president of legislative and regulatory affairs. "In order to make this information as convenient as possible, we decided to hold a number of regional seminars throughout the US."
    The training course, taught by AFIA legislative and regulatory staff, was attended by animal feed and petfood manufacturers as well as ingredient suppliers interested in gaining a better understanding of how FSMA will affect their businesses. The course provided an overview of the new law and covered topics such as "CGMPs: The Foundation for an Effective Food Safety Plan," "What are the Key Components of a Supplier Verification Program?" and "Hazard Identification and Analysis.
    Dr. Henry Turlington, AFIA director of quality and manufacturing regulatory affairs, began the seminar saying, "FSMA will have a major impact on our industry and that can be overwhelming, but this thing is doable! We will take this one step at a time to make sure we all have the knowledge needed to comply with FSMA."
    Attendees of the meeting said they considered the materials provided by the course instructors "good information," "very timely" and think it "will help with developing documents and preparing for FSMA compliance" as the rule comes into effect.
    The remaining two phase I trainings will be held in Des Moines, Iowa, and Atlanta, Georgia, Aug. 11–12 and Aug. 14–15, 2014, respectively. The Atlanta training remains open for registration while the Des Moines training sold out shortly after registration opened.
    AFIA plans to host phase II and phase III FSMA regional seminars in 2015 and also offer a webinar series in correlation with the in-person meetings.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Frontenac invests in petfood, makes deal for Cloud Star

    Investment firm Frontenac Co. has entered the petfood market, completing a majority recapitalization with all-natural pet treat producer Cloud Star Corp.
    Cloud Star got its start in 1999 by creating dog treats made without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. The company has since expanded into a variety of all natural, wholesome and minimally processed treats as well as grooming items. "We're excited to be in the pet industry and partner with a brand like Cloud Star whose treats embody the all-natural, functional and healthy movement that we love to support," said Walter Florence, managing partner at Frontenac.
    Florence said he sees the company growing by getting into more stores, adding new product lines and possibly acquiring other like-minded brands.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mars acquires Procter & Gamble petfood business

    Mars Incorporated has successfully completed its acquisition of the Iams, Eukanuba and Natura brands in North America, Latin America and other select countries from The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G). This follows an agreement announced by the companies in April 2014 and receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals.
    Mars said it will exercise the option to purchase P&G’s petfood business in some parts of Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, including Australia, Japan and Singapore. This move reinforces the company’s strategic intent to build its presence in emerging markets and will enable Mars Petcare to meet the needs of more customers and pets around the world. Mars said it expects that the close for these additional businesses may take up to around a year, subject to regulatory approvals.
    The Iams, Eukanuba and Natura brands will be part of Mars Petcare and are strategic additions that complement the company’s pet care portfolio. They join Pedigree, Whiskas, Royal Canin, Banfield and Nutro. “We are proud to welcome the Iams, Eukanuba and Natura brands and the new associates who are joining us today,” said Todd Lachman, president of Mars Petcare. “These brands are high quality and well respected by customers, vets and pet owners, and we believe they will thrive under our leadership. Together, we will be well positioned to take advantage of the fast growing pet care market, and satisfy the needs of more customers and pets around the world.”

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Dr. Tim, Dr. Tim's Pet Food, nominated for America's favorite vet

    Dr. Tim Hunt, DVM, of Dr. Tim's Pet Food, has been nominated as one of the 20 finalists for the annual "America's Favorite Veterinarian" contest put on by the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF).
    America’s Favorite Veterinarian is a nationwide contest created by the AVMF to identify and celebrate extraordinary veterinary professionals practicing in all areas of veterinary medicine from private practice to public health, agriculture to academia. This contest honors and recognizes those entrusted to preserve and protect the health and well-being of animals and to celebrate the special relationships pet owners share with their veterinarians.
    Anyone can vote on the final 20 once a day through August 30, 2014.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Milo's Kitchen launches petfood treat truck to travel US

    Building on the popular food truck trend, Milo's Kitchen brand dog treats is launching the nation's first mobile food experience for dogs and their pet parents.
    With planned stops in major metropolitan areas across the US, the Milo's Kitchen Treat Truck will offer pets the chance to:
    • Taste real chicken and beef home-style dog treats like Chicken Meatballs and Grilled Burger Bites—all made in the USA with 100% domestically sourced meat and no artificial colors or flavors.
    • Take a free family photo or "doggie selfie" in a professional canine-ready photo booth.
    • Socialize with other pets in the backyard-style lapdog lounge.
    • Take a "walk break" with dog beds, drinking bowls and puppy toys.
    • Bring home a doggie bag of tasty treats.
    The Milo's Kitchen Treat Truck is free to the public and will be making stops all over the country.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Professor receives American Society of Animal Science award

    Dr. Marshall Stern, animal science professor from the University of Minnesota, has received the Fellow Award in the teaching category at the American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) National Awards Program.
    At the University of Minnesota, Stern teaches courses in companion animal nutrition, companion animal hot button issues and principles of animal nutrition and ruminant nutrition. He is responsible for developing the companion animal biology curriculum.
    Along with his teaching efforts, Stern focuses his research on protein nutrition in ruminants. He studies protein absorption in the small intestine, factors affecting fermentation and microbial populations in the rumen and the measuring methodology of protein degradation.
    Stern’s previous honors include the 2010 ASAS Distinguished Teacher Award, the 2006 University of Minnesota Morse Alumni Association Award and the 2006 ASAS Jim Corbin Award in Companion Animal Biology.
    The ASAS Fellow is presented to animal scientists who have made excellent contributions to the animal industry and have had continuous membership in the ASAS for a minimum of 25 years. The American Society of Animal Science is a professional organization that serves more than 5,000 animal scientists and producers around the world.

The Animal Foundation celebrates 'Dog-ust' to promote pet adoptions

    Las Vegas-based The Animal Foundation has partnered with Amy Newmark, publisher, editor-in-chief and author of the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" titles, to promote dog and cat adoptions during "Dog-ust."
    Any new pet parents who adopt a dog or cat from the Animal Foundation through the month of August will receive a complimentary copy of the newest titles “Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dog Did What?” or “Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Did What?” Each book has a foreword by country singer Miranda Lambert, who is a big supporter of pet adoption. Additionally, new pet parents will be entered into a sweepstakes to win a year’s supply of Chicken Soup for the Soul petfood.
    "These books won’t be on store shelves till August 19, but we wanted to share them ahead of time with the Las Vegas community and encourage people to bring a new pet into their homes," said Newmark. "We have always been big supporters of dog and cat adoptions, having read thousands of stories from people who have adopted dogs or cats and found their lives immeasurably improved. We even use rescue dogs and cats as models on all our petfood packaging.
    Newmark helped kick off the initiative at SuperZoo 2014.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Pisces Pros launches HBH Pet line of aquatic petfoods

    Pisces Pros LLC has announced the official launch of the HBH product lines at the Las Vegas SuperZoo 2014 tradeshow. Pisces Pros purchased aquatic and fish food manufacturer HBH Pet in early 2014. Since that time, Pisces has worked to re-launch the company and the top-selling products.
    "HBH has long been known in the industry for its high-quality and affordable prices and we are excited to be able to continue in that tradition," said Jeremy Christensen, CEO of Pisces. As part of the asset purchase, Pisces acquired all the original formulas, manufacturing equipment, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets belonging to HBH. Pisces was also able to attract the COO of HBH, Eric Johnson. "I am thrilled to be a part of the Pisces team and to play such an instrumental part in bringing the HBH product line back to the aquatics industry," said Johnson.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Lincoln Bark wins Abe's Golden Bear Award

    Lincoln Bark has been honored with the “Abe’s Golden Bear Award” for excellence in pet products for 2014. Each year, Abe’s Market, an online marketplace for natural products, selects 13 companies in different product categories for their excellence in natural qualities and eco-friendliness.
    Lincoln Bark's treats highlight their signature ingredient, the super-food Chia seed. The seeds promote cardiovascular health, joint mobility, improved digestion and healthy skin and coat for dogs, according to Lincoln Bark. The company manufactures palatable and nutritious snacks containing no wheat, corn, soy, artificial preservatives, gluten or added hormones. Made and sourced in the USA, all of Lincoln Bark’s treats are made from high-quality, human-grade ingredients.
    “It is an exciting honor to receive this award,” said Lincoln Bark President Bobbye Cochran. “Abe’s offers an extremely trusted marketplace for natural products from passionate companies, and we are elated to be recognized among the best.”

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

US petfood packaging demand to reach US$2.5 billion by 2018

    US demand for petfood packaging is expected to rise 4.8% annually to US$2.5 billion in 2018, according to "Pet Food Packaging," a study conducted by The Freedonia Group Inc. 
    Growth will be based on the use of higher-value, more sophisticated packaging and continued strength in petfood shipments fueled by an expected rebound in the pet population. The proliferation of premium petfood brands providing healthier, more nutritious alternatives (corresponding to the continuing humanization of pets by their owners) will also spur packaging demand growth, says the report.
    “Plastic pouches will be the primary beneficiary of the trend toward more advanced petfood packaging," says analyst Joe Pryweller. "Pouch demand in petfood packaging will rise 8.3% per year to US$540 million in 2018, the fastest pace of growth among petfood packaging types.” Pouch demand will be bolstered by features that are inherently convenient for consumers, including zippered closure mechanisms and light weight, as well as by reduced transportation costs due to their light weight. 
    Demand for tubs and cups will benefit from the need for convenience features and light weight in petfood packaging. As a result, tubs and cups will continue to supplant metal containers in wet food, growing in popularity due to peelable lids that are easier to open and allow the consumer to avoid cuts from metal edges, according to the report.
    Dry food will continue to represent the largest food segment in petfood packaging, with a share of 49% in 2018. Bags are by far the largest packaging type in this segment due to the dominance of bulk items—those weighing 16 pounds or more—in dry petfood. Multiwall paper bags are the preferred packaging type in the dry food packaging category, but woven polypropylene bags are gaining favor, with demand expected to expand 8.6% annually through 2018.
    Chilled and frozen petfood products offer another area of opportunity for petfood packaging growth. This category has developed from a small base and is expected to more than double in size through 2018, boosting demand for pouches, bags, tubs and cups, and chubs. Consumer interest in raw petfood products with prolonged shelf life will fuel growth in this category as retail stores increase freezer and refrigerator shelf space, says the report.    

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Pets eating better than their owners, says Wellness Natural Pet Food survey

    Eight in 10 US dog or cat owners feel that their pets always (24%) or sometimes (56%) eat healthier foods than they do, according to the 2014 Wellness Pet Parent Survey from Wellness Natural Pet Food.
    Considering that 82% of owners look for special features when selecting a food for their pet, these numbers may not be all that surprising. The most popular feature sought by pet owners is natural ingredients (59%), followed by digestive benefits (42%) and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives (40%). Dog or cat owners in the US West are the most likely to seek natural ingredients in their pets’ food, significantly more so than owners in all other regions, according to the survey.
    Pet owners see their relationships with their pets as highly beneficial, the survey reported. More than half of dog owners credit their pets with keeping them more active (62%) and taking longer walks (55%), and 81% of dog or cat owners believe their pet alleviates stress in their lives. Four in 10 owners attribute pet ownership to making them more social.
    These benefits also translate to charity dollars, according to the survey: One-third of dog or cat owners (33%) have a favorite pet-related cause or charity, with the “ASPCA/SPCA” (10%) and “Humane Society” (7%) cited most frequently.

Monday, August 4, 2014

FIAAP, VICTAM, GRAPAS 2015 sees more than 100 exhibitors already confirmed

    FIAAP, VICTAM & GRAPAS International, to be held June 9–11, 2015, in  Cologne, Germany, has become the largest dedicated animal feed, biomass and grain processing event in the world, according to show organizers. The last show saw more than 8,000 individual industry executives came through the doors, and in all there were visitors from 118 countries.
    The 2015 anniversary event was launched in April 2014, and already more than 100 exhibitors have confirmed their stand reservation. This represents over 55% of the total exhibition space of the 2011 edition, say organizers, with the exhibitors so far coming from 17 different countries.
    For further information on the exhibition and/or the conferences, please go to

US toddler remains ill two years after petfood Salmonella contamination

    Two years after a 2012 petfood recall by Diamond Pet Foods due to Salmonella contamination, two-year-old Amy Hall is still suffering the effects of a debilitating and recurring form of Salmonella that doctors say she may not grow out of until she's five or six years old, according to a Charlotte Observer report.
    She was sickened as a newborn by the Hall family dogs, who ate contaminated dog food from Diamond's Gaston, South Carolina plant. Amy almost died then, and is now a Salmonella carrier and a health risk to everyone around her, according to health officials. She is one of around 50 victims in at least 20 states and Canada whom health investigators have linked to Diamond's Gaston plant. In 2005, the facility produced contaminated food that killed 100 dogs and sickened dozens of others in more than 20 states. Diamond eventually admitted it had not followed its own testing protocols and agreed to pay US$3.1 million to settle a class action lawsuit. In 2012, the Salmonella outbreak infected seven people in South Carolina and sent 10 people across the US to the hospital.
    The Hills initiated a lawsuit against Diamond earlier in summer 2014. Mark Schell, the company’s vice president, said Diamond responded to the Salmonella outbreak by improving the health standards of its production plants. The company's legal response to the lawsuit is due shortly.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Nature's Variety enters joint venture with Agrolimen

    St. Louis-based independent natural petfood company Nature's Variety and Agrolimen have entered into a joint venture, with Agrolimen making an investment in the company. Nature's Variety will continue to operate as an independent company through a joint venture between its current shareholders, including Catterton, a consumer-focused private equity firm, and Agrolimen.
    "Our purpose as a company is to empower people to transform the lives of pets," said Reed Howlett, CEO of Nature's Variety. "We've built a team of passionate pet champions who believe in this purpose and bring it to life through not only our nutritious foods, but also by volunteering for and aiding rescue groups in their communities.
    "In Agrolimen, we've found a well-aligned partner who will enable us to further accelerate our growth through marketing and innovation investments," said Howlett. "We are confident that Agrolimen will help expand our role as the leader of the raw petfood category and support our commitment to pet parents in an even greater way moving forward."
    With this joint venture, Agrolimen is moving forward within its strategic plan of international growth of its core businesses, according to the company. "We believe we have found the ideal partner in Nature's Variety," said Joan Cornudella, CEO of Agrolimen. "The company has a unique value proposition and position in the market, the team has a proven track record in partnering with pet specialty retailers and distributors to bring innovative products to market, and a clear vision to drive continued growth."
    Nature's Variety will continue to be headquartered in St. Louis with operations in Lincoln, Nebraska, and will keep operating as an independent company. Nature's Variety produces natural petfood through two brands—Instinct, a raw petfood line, and Prairie, a balanced holistic line of food.

Merrick Pet Care, Tree House partner to feed homeless cats

    Tree House Humane Society and Merrick Pet Care have announced an exclusive partnership to provide Chicago, Illinois homeless cats with quality nutrition while they’re awaiting their forever homes. Merrick is now providing Tree House with petfood for all of Tree House’s residents—formerly sick, injured, abused and neglected stray cats.
    “Tree House Humane Society is committed to ensuring the health and happiness of every pet in our adoption program,” said Dave de Funiak, Tree House’s executive director. “We are proud to provide the pets in our care with Merrick and Organix cat food during their stay and provide a foundation of health and nutrition that we hope will continue for the rest of their lives.”
    As Tree House’s exclusive feeding partner, Merrick will provide all of the meals to each resident cat, including Merrick Purrfect Bistro and Organix kibble and canned food, as they begin the journey to find a new home. From their first meal at both of Tree House’s Chicago Adoption Centers (Uptown and Bucktown) until adoption day, each Tree House cat will enjoy recipes made in Merrick’s kitchens.
    “Tree House has a proven record of helping pets in need and we are pleased to partner with them to feed homeless cats awaiting their forever homes,” said Greg Shearson, CEO of Merrick. “Together, we can better help cats not only survive, but thrive through feeding them more wholesome, natural and nutritious foods.”
    In addition to supporting the shelter-feeding program, Merrick will help each new family kick-off a healthy at-home eating program by offering each adopter a coupon to be applied to a supply of dry/canned food for the transition to their new home.