Friday, November 28, 2014

Pack Expo International 2014 attendance tops 2012 numbers

    Packaging and processing professionals gathered in Chicago, Illinois, USA, for Pack Expo International and Pharma Expo 2014. With preliminary figures topping 48,600 attendees, show owner and producer PMMI (The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies) anticipates recording a 6.5% attendance jump over 2012.
    The four-day event, held Nov. 2–5, covered more than 1.2 million net square feet of exhibit space in McCormick Place with 2,352 exhibiting companies—an increase of more than 19% for exhibiting companies from Pack Expo International 2012. “Pack Expo International 2014 was definitely a success,” said Jim Pittas, senior vice president, PMMI. “Exhibitors sold machines right off the show floor and collected high quality leads from the steady flow of attendees.”
    Pre-show registration was well ahead of 2012 figures, and that momentum continued on site, according to show organizers. Pharma Expo, which PMMI produced in partnership with the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering, contributed to the surge in attendance, with twice as many attendees identifying their primary or secondary markets as “pharmaceutical.”
    “Exhibitors begin planning their strategy for the next Pack Expo almost immediately after the close of the previous year’s show, and they need to know they’ll get a strong return on their investment,” said Pittas. “The success of the inaugural Pharma Expo proves the strength of the Pack Expo brand across all vertical markets and reinforces the industry’s view of Pack Expo as the preeminent North American packaging and processing show.”
    Pack Expo East will be held Feb. 16–18, 2015, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. Registration is US$30 through Jan. 21, when it increases to US$60.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

AFIA publishes energy management guidelines

    In order to assist the feed industry in the conservation of resources, preservation of the environment and reduction of cost in the area of energy management, the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) has published an updated "Energy Management Guidance Document." The six-chapter guide was drafted by AFIA's production compliance, equipment manufacturer and integrator committees and covers state regulations, the organization and development of an energy management program, feed industry audits, calculating energy cost and methods for conserving energy.
    The document is designed to help feed manufacturing facilities understand how to develop benchmarks within their companies and offers suggestions for improvement based on the findings. "It does not matter your profession—professional athlete or feed mill operator—the only way to improve your performance is to measure every aspect of your operation and then develop a plan to make improvements based on those results," said Keith Epperson, AFIA vice president of manufacturing and training.
    Key areas the document provides details on are: calculation of electric bills and how to reduce electricity usage in a feed facility; energy audits specific to natural gas consumption, operating temperatures of a boiler, peak demand usage and more; and the proper maintenance of boilers within a mill, especially if operators are pelleting feed or flaking grains. "Our goal is for feed mill operators to welcome this document into their facilities as our members always look to become more energy efficient, environmentally sound and up-to-date with current regulations," said Epperson.

Pets benefit human health, says survey

    A recent survey conducted by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute has found that there are human health benefits to owning a pet. The survey interviewed 1,000 family doctors and general practitioners.
    Ninety-five percent of those surveyed either own or have owned a pet, and 69% have worked in a facility that used pets to assist patient treatment or therapy. Ninety-seven percent said they believe there are health benefits to owning a pet. In addition:
    • 75% of those surveyed said they've seen a patient's overall health or a specific medical condition get moderately or significantly better after the patient adopted a pet.
    • 87% said they've seen a patient's mood or outlook improve as a result of owning a pet. 
    • 84% said they talk to patients about their pets.
    • 60% have recommended that a patient get a pet.
    • 82% said that if medical evidence supported it, they would prescribe a pet for a patient.
    The respondents reported hearing about the health benefits through several sources, including patient stories (64%), personal experience (59%), traditional news media (44%) and medical journals (38%). 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

RECALL: Natura Pet recalls dry cat, ferret food due to vitamin insufficiency

    Natura Pet Products has initiated a limited, voluntary recall of certain dry cat and dry ferret food lots produced in its Fremont, Nebraska facility. Due to a formulation error, these products contain insufficient levels of vitamins and excess minerals.
    There have been no reports of animal health concerns to date, but these lots do not meet established quality standards and should not be consumed by pets, said Natura. No other EVO products or lots are affected by this issue. The affected product and lot codes are:
    EVO Grain Free Turkey & Chicken Formula dry cat & kitten food; 15.4 pounds; UPC 5148 541400
    Exp. 02/19/2016; Lot code 4300A700D2
    EVO Grain Free Turkey & Chicken Formula dry cat & kitten food; 2.2 pounds; UPC 5148 541402
    Exp. 02/20/2016; Lot code 4301A700A4
    EVO Grain Free Turkey & Chicken Formula dry cat & kitten food; 2.2 pounds; UPC 5148 541402
    Exp. 02/20/2016; Lot code 4301A700B4
    EVO Grain Free Turkey & Chicken Formula dry cat & kitten food; 2.2 pounds; UPC 5148 541402
    Exp. 02/20/2016; Lot code 4301A700C4
    EVO Grain Free Ferret Food; 6.6 pounds; UPC 5148 542101
    Exp. 02/19/2016; Lot code 4300A700D3
    The problem was discovered during the investigation of an ingredient inventory discrepancy. Only the above five lots are affected. These lots were distributed through independent retailers in CA, GA, MI, MN, NV, PA, TX, VT and Canada, as well as online.
    Retailers have been contacted and are instructed to immediately withdraw these lots from store shelves. Consumers who purchased the product should discontinue feeding the product immediately and discard as normal household waste. Natura said it is taking immediate corrective action as a result of its investigation.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

PMMI 'Pack Gives Back' raises money for K9s for Warriors

    The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies' (PMMI) "Pack Gives Back" event at Pack Expo International and Pharma Expo 2014 raised over US$34,000 for K9s for Warriors, a charitable organization dedicated to providing service dogs to military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress as a result of their service since 9/11. The Nov. 3 event, open only to Pack Expo and Pharma Expo registrants, featured former Tonight Show host and comedian Jay Leno.
    Leno entertained a sold-out crowd of 1,900, and funds raised included a portion of ticket sales and supplemental donations collected online and on site at Pack Expo. The program includes three weeks’ training for the canine/warrior teams at the K9s for Warriors facility in Ponte Vedra, Florida. Over 90% of the partnered dogs are obtained through rescue groups.
    “We’re always happy to support those that have fought for our country,” said Charles D. Yuska, president and CEO of PMMI. “Our service men and women have given so much for us. It’s a pleasure to be able to give something back to them.” A link for donations will be active through November 2014 at, and donations are always accepted at

Freshpet raises US$156 million in initial public offering

    Freshpet Inc., a US-based maker of premium petfood for cats and dogs, raised about US$156 million in its initial public offering after its IPO was priced at US$15 per share, above the expected price range of US$12–$14.
    The company sold 10.4 million shares. At the IPO price, the company was valued at US$477 million, based on outstanding common stock of about 31.8 million, according to reports. The company counts private equity firm MidOcean Partners LP and Tyson Foods Inc. among its investors.
    Freshpet is expected to debut on the Nasdaq on Friday under the symbol "FRPT."

Monday, November 24, 2014

Morris Animal Foundation undertakes Golden Retriever Lifetime Study

    Morris Animal Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study is the largest and longest effort ever undertaken to improve the health of dogs, according to the group. Over the next 10 to 14 years, observational data collected from 3,000 Golden Retrievers will help the foundation learn how to prevent cancer and other diseases that take the lives of dogs.
    More than 70 million dogs live in the US, and half of them over the age of 10 will die of cancer, says Morris. In addition, cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs over the age of two. "We must stop this disease," says the foundation, which is encouraging Golden Retriever owners to enroll their pets in the study.
    The study is part of the foundation's Canine Lifetime Health Project, a US-wide effort to make the world a better place for dogs. Through this initiative, Morris manages studies that will help identify new tests, diets and therapies for preventing, diagnosing and treating health problems in dogs. The Golden Retriever Lifetime Study is the first, and is the largest and longest study ever conducted in veterinary medicine, according to Morris.
    Morris Animal Foundation is a nonprofit organization that invests in science that advances veterinary medicine for companion animals, horses and wildlife. The foundation is a global leader in animal health science, and its funding helps more species in more places than that of any other organization in the world, says Morris. 

Eurofins acquires SF Analytical Labs

    Eurofins Scientific, a global leader in analytical support to the global food market, has announced the pending acquisition of SF Analytical (SFA) Laboratories. The transaction will close at the end of November 2014.
    The acquisition will strengthen Eurofins’ growing presence in the US, as well as expand the current base of operations in the Midwestern US. “We’re excited about becoming part of the global services of Eurofins, adding Wisconsin and the Upper Great Lakes Region to the multiple services offered,” said David Kliber, president of SFA Labs. “We will retain the 114-year-old Wisconsin brand which will now be called ‘Eurofins SF Analytical’ and our established relationships and recognition will be seamless to clients and the community. People will still work with our employees as they have for decades in New Berlin and the Milwaukee area. At the same time, the lab will now be able to serve more clients with greatly expanded capabilities on a regional and national level as part of the Eurofins network of laboratories in the US.”
    The acquisition by Eurofins will allow Kliber and his staff to offer the full range of services available from Eurofins’ group of global laboratories. Eurofins says it is committed to providing the best laboratory services and client support to its customers and is dedicated to consistently delivering the highest level of analytical testing technology available in the industry.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Find petfood’s ‘moisture sweet spot’

    Most petfood products have a “moisture sweet spot” – an ideal range that maximizes quality and profit while keeping the product safe from mold and microbes.  Water activity is the best way to find that sweet spot – and monitor to make sure you always produce to that specification.
    Register at to attend the webinar, “Update on Using Water Activity to Manage Safety and Quality in Petfood,” which will be held Tuesday, December 9, 2014, at 10 a.m. CST. This webinar is sponsored by Decagon and presented by WATT Global Media.
    • By attending the webinar, you will learn:
      How to identify a petfood product’s “moisture sweet spot”
      How testing can reveal a product’s moisture secrets
      How to use water activity to maximize safety, quality, and profit in your products
    The speaker for this webinar will be Brady Carter, who has been a senior research scientist at Decagon since 2004. He has a master’s degree in crop science with an emphasis in cereal chemistry. His current research is focused on developing a hydrothermal time-based shelf life model. He is a popular presenter on measuring water activity in food.

Miranda Lambert, Pedigree partner to support pet adoption


    On Nov. 3, 2014, country singer Miranda Lambert joined Pedigree at the company's Pet Adoption Suite to help support the adoption of shelter dogs.
    Attendees at the event learned about the "See what good food can do" campaign and watched behind-the-scenes footage from Lambert's documentary-style short film about helping to improve a local shelter. Adoptable dogs from shelter partner Metro Animal Care and Control were on-site to show the importance of finding forever homes for shelter dogs everywhere.

PISC partners with B Lab for accelerator program

    The Pet Industry Sustainability Coalition (PISC) has partnered with non-profit B Lab to help companies evaluate their sustainability performance as part of PISC's Accelerator program. The Accelerator is a collaborative program designed to help companies identify and implement key areas of improvement in sustainability.
    “This is a partnership that connects two organizations with similar core values and leverages their potential to provide a critically needed tool for PISC members,” said Spencer Williams, president of West Paw Design and founding member of PISC. “Here at West Paw, the B Lab assessment has been a catalyst for employee lead improvements, building pride and furthering innovation.”
    B Lab is used as part of the second step of the Accelerator program, where participants take a quick assessment that focuses on three areas of sustainability: environment, community and employees. After completing the assessment, companies receive report cards with comparative results from other companies participating in the program that will assist them in building a plan for improvement with PISC.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Petfood sales to reach US$33 billion in 2018

    Driven by increased focus on pet health and the increasing impact of the human-animal bond, US sales of petfood will rise 16% between 2015–2018 to reach US$33 billion, according to Packaged Facts in "Pet Food in the US, 11th Edition."
    Packaged Facts estimates petfood sales in 2013 were US$28 billion. The petfood category experienced much of its growth outside of the core mass market, particularly in channels like farm/feed, Internet and pet specialty. Sales are expected to remain relatively flat through the rest of 2014, though opportunities exist in the premium food sector as pet owners purchase these products to protect the health of their animal companions, according to the report.
    "Looking ahead, the trick will be to find ways to grow this mature market, since at its current pace pet population growth is not sufficient to drive higher levels of market growth," said Packaged Facts research director David Sprinkle. "For several years much of the dollar growth in the petfood market has come from converting pet owners to higher priced foods as part of the humanization trend."
    Premium petfoods will account for 42% of petfood sales in 2014, followed by regular petfood at 30% and value petfood at 12%, with treats comprising the remaining share of sales. On both the dog and cat sides of the market, the premium share of sales has expanded, mostly as a result of growth in the superpremium segment. Treats have also grown their share of the market, primarily due to the robust interest in treats among dog owners, many of whom have turned to functional treats as a way to ameliorate pet health conditions and promote overall wellness. Cat owners, on the other hand, have not proven as likely to indulge their pets in superpremium fare, and have also been slower to embrace functional treats, suggesting areas for market expansion as cat food and treat marketers continue to trend into premium and functional fare, with products and trends often crossing over from the dog side, according to the report.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Mars Petcare, WikiVet partner to improve online veterinary encyclopedia

    WikiVet and Mars Petcare have announced a collaboration that aims to improve the quality and reach of reference materials freely available online to veterinary students, practicing veterinarians and vet nurses through WikiVet’s veterinary encyclopedia. The collaboration will develop high-quality training and reference materials on certain areas of preventative healthcare to increase awareness and complement the growing vet school curriculum in this area, according to the partners.
    “Preventive healthcare for pets is a shared passion for both Mars Petcare and WikiVet," said Dr. Stephen Harris, research manager, oral care, Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, Mars Petcare. "It can greatly improve the quality and length of a pet’s life by reducing the risk of developing serious, costly and sometimes fatal diseases. We are excited to combine our deep expertise in the health and well-being of pets with WikiVet’s dynamic site to drive greater awareness of this important subject.”
    The first WikiVet online materials focus on cat and dog dentistry. The module features resources developed in partnership with the specialist veterinary dentist Lisa Milella (BVSc DipEVDC MRCVS), and endorsed by Waltham.
    “There is a gap in understanding about the importance of dental care and oral hygiene as a form of preventative healthcare,” said Nick Short, head of the eMedia Unit, Royal Veterinary College. “By collaborating with Mars Petcare and Lisa Milella to develop these comprehensive resources, we aim to raise awareness amongst veterinary students, nurses and the wider profession of best evidence-based practice in dental care. We hope that this will have a positive impact on the support that the profession can offer owners to improve their pets’ health and well-being.”
    The WikiVet Cat and Dog Dentistry chapter is freely available online to all users of WikiVet.

Haarslev acquires C.A. Picard screw press technology division

    As part of the overall strategy and to strengthen the after sales and service business areas, Haarslev Industries has acquired C.A. Picard’s screw press technology division. In the US, it will be merged into Haarslev Industries Inc. After the transaction, C.A. Picard Engineering GmbH & Co. KG will be renamed as Haarslev Press Technology GmbH & Co. KG in Germany.
    “This acquisition supports Haarslev’s strategy to continue to strengthen our after sales and service division," says Claus Østergaard, president and CEO of Haarslev Industries A/S. "With the acquisition of the screw press technology division we will increase our product know-how within screw press applications and at the same time broaden our worldwide coverage for after sales and service.”
    With the acquisition of the screw press technology division and their presence in the US market from C.A. Picard, Haarslev will be able to provide its customers with better service and stronger screw press application know-how, according to Hans-Henrik Nissen, president of Haarslev Industries. "All in all, to help our customer to reduce their down time and in the same time increase their yields," he said.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

German court rules patent infringement case in favor of Zip-Pak

    The Düsseldorf Regional Court has ruled in favor of Zip-Pak, a division of Illinois Tool Works (ITW), in a patent infringement case against Elplast Sp.z o.o. initiated in November 2013. The court ruled that an Elplast product infringed several claims of the Zip-Pak patent in question.
    The ruling was pronounced final Oct. 6, 2014. Krieger Mes & Graf von der Groeben and Roche, von Westernhagen und Ehresmann represented ITW in the matter. “We are very pleased that the court ruled in our favor in this matter," said Eric Plourde, manager of intellectual property for Zip-Pak. "Zip-Pak has long been known as a leader for investing in new innovative products and processes and, in order to protect and continue to make these investments, we will strongly defend our global intellectual property."

Alltech releases preliminary data from crop mycotoxin analysis

    While experts are forecasting a record-plus year for crop yields, an abundant harvest does not always indicate a problem-free crop to feed to livestock, and preliminary data conducted by Alltech’s 37+ Mycotoxin Analysis Program is showing there might be issues to watch for.
    Late season rains have slowed harvest across the Midwest US. As of Oct. 27, 2014, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimated the corn harvest at 46%, a 15% increase from the previous week but 19% behind the five-year average. Corn conditions were estimated by the USDA at 74% “good” or “excellent” condition, 19% was considered “fair” and 7% was considered “poor.” While these initial condition ratings look favorable, experts warn that seasonal conditions still might have taken a toll on the crop and left behind some masked mycotoxins.
    “Cool, wet weather can be a precursor for mold growth and can lead to possible mycotoxin issues,” said Dr. Max Hawkins, nutritionist with Alltech’s Mycotoxin Management Team. “Fusarium graminareum can produce a variety of mycotoxins and prefers high moisture and temperatures from 59 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. This year’s growing season was cool and wet and the harvest season has also been delayed by wet weather."
    An early indication of the Fusarium issue was found in the wheat crop, where high levels of Deoxynivalenol (DON) were found east of the Mississippi River, Dakotas and into Canada. DON levels in these regions ranged from 1,000 ppb to 15,000 ppb. According to Hawkins, this places wheat at a potential high risk for livestock feed, and extreme caution should be used when feeding straw to ruminants.
    Corn silage samples have also indicated there might be challenges in the 2014 crop. “The 2014 corn season started off slow due to wet planting conditions and cool soil temperatures," said Heath Paradice, technical manager for Alltech Crop Science. "As a result, while some corn was planted in April, most was done in early to mid-May and in some cases like northern Iowa, planting extended into June. The late planted crops are doing better than expected due to a late fall, but that corn is coming in at a higher moisture content."
    The first 35 corn silage samples analyzed at the recently ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accredited Analytical Services Laboratory of Alltech using Alltech’s 37+ analysis contained an average of 6.83 mycotoxins per sample. Further analysis showed that Type B Trichothecenes, DON and other DON group mycotoxins had an average/sample of 2,087 ppb. Fusaric acid, which can act synergistically with DON, had an average/sample of 1,322 ppb. “Combined, these mycotoxins can have a significant impact on dry matter intake, milk production, growth rate, feed efficiency, gut health, organ function and immune response,” said Hawkins.
    With an average/sample level of 126.7 ppb, Zearalenone is showing levels higher than in the past two years. Other Penicilliums, which can impact gut health and rumen function, are typically referred to as “storage mycotoxins” as they require little oxygen and can flourish rapidly in stored forages. Hawkins said the 2014 crop has had some relatively high Penicillium levels already at harvest.
    Corn that is stressed and damaged by weather events and insects is more susceptible to mycotoxins. While walking fields and looking for signs of molds, ear rot and stalk rot can be indicators for mycotoxins, there can be toxins present with no visible mold. Hawkins said he recommends having samples analyzed for mycotoxins. “The outlook for corn grain is concerning as the crop has been subjected to a later harvest with increased rain while still in the field,” said Hawkins. “The crop may be harvested at higher moisture levels, which can put added pressure on drying and storage environment to ensure grain at 15% moisture or less for long term storage."

Monday, November 17, 2014

Freshpet announces #FreshDance pet challenge

    Freshpet, a company that makes fresh, refrigerated dog and cat food, has announced the #FreshDance Challenge, asking pet parents to show their and their pets’ dance moves before, during or after any meal. Then, pet parents can share a photo, video or text of the #FreshDance experience, helping to highlight movement as part of health and wellness for pets and people.
    Enter the #FreshDance Challenge by visiting or Participants can also submit on Twitter, Instagram or Vine using the hashtag #FreshDance. The contest runs from Nov. 3 through Nov. 21, 2014.
    Winners will be chosen by the team at Freshpet to receive the following prizes:
    • 1 Grand Prize winner will receive US$500, a custom Freshpet refrigerator and Freshpet food and treats.
    • 5 Runner-up Prizes will receive a FreshDance gift pack filled with Freshpet goodies and a Whistle Activity Monitor.
    • First 100 entries will receive a US$2.00 off coupon.
    Along with each entry, Freshpet will make a donation to Vanderbilt University’s Pet Therapy Research Program. The program is specialized for children undergoing cancer treatment, and funds ongoing visits with therapy dogs. Their goal is to prove the positive effect therapy pets can have on wellness, especially during treatments. 

Ganeden publishes product, prebiotics study in Anaerobe

    Ganeden Biotech, a manufacturer and marketer of probiotics, has published its nineteenth peer-reviewed study in Anaerobe (The Official Journal of the Anaerobe Society of the Americas). The study, conducted by Dr. Glenn Gibson, professor at the University of Reading, England; in their validated intestinal model, demonstrated that there are benefits to taking GanedenBC30 and prebiotics together versus taking prebiotics alone, according to the company.
    Prebiotics have been shown to increase healthy bacterial species such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. In the study, bacterial flora changes were analyzed with prebiotics alone as well as with prebiotics plus GanedenBC30. While there were increases in lactobacilli and bifidobacteria in both cases, there were additional increases in other good bacterial strains (such as Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, an important bacteria for intestinal health) when consumed along with GanedenBC30. In addition, prebiotic activity was increased when consumed with GanedenBC30 as measured by an increase in short chain fatty acids, which are important components for intestinal health.
    “This study is exciting, as it lays the groundwork for continuing our research into the combined benefits of GanedenBC30 and prebiotics,” said David Keller, vice president of scientific operations at Ganeden Biotech. “We are well aware of both the benefits of GanedenBC30 and the benefits of prebiotics separately, but now we have data showing increased digestive benefits of consuming them together.”

Friday, November 14, 2014

Caru Pet Foods donates petfood to Chicago animal rescues

    Caru Pet Foods has donated 5,700 pounds of the company's Natural Stews petfood to six Chicagoland rescues and animal care facilities: Tender Loving Care, Chicago Anti-Cruelty Society, K9 4 Keeps, Chicago Canine Rescue, Pet Project Rescue and One Tail At A Time. In turn, One Tail At A Time allocated a portion of their Caru Natural Stews to the local Animal Care & Control, and Project Rescue Chicago shared with Animal Welfare League's Chicago intake facility and Be Fido's Friend.
    In July, Caru donated 600 pounds of stews to It's A Pittie Rescue as a part of Daily Kibble's rescue initiative. With more than 6,000 pounds of product, worth more than US$40,000 in retail value, donated to date in its first year of business, "Caru is really living up to it's name, which means 'to love' in Welsh," said Caru CEO and Co-Founder Adrian Pettyan. The company said it looks forward to supporting other rescues and shelters in the future.

Purina offers 'just right' personalized dog food

    Nestlé Purina has launched a personalized dog food product, Just Right petfood, that will allow pet owners to order food specifically tailored to their pet's needs.
    "We believe the best nutrition is personalized," says Purina. "That's why we want to work with you to deliver food tailored to your dog's unique profile. By combining your firsthand knowledge with Purina's expertise, we can work together to help keep your dog happy and healthy at each life stage."
    Pet owners create an online profile that includes everything from basic information (age, breed size) to traits (activity level, coat condition, stool firmness). The profile can be modified at any time as the dog's needs change, and a 24/7 support team is available via phone, email or online chat to assist customers. Once a profile is completed, the food is made and shipped to the customer. Auto-reminders ensure that customers never run out of food.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

PetSafe indigo treats now available in Canada

    PetSafe has announced that its indigo line of dog treats is now available in Canada.
    The treat line features Smokehouse Strips and the indigo Fresh line: Floss Bones, Dental Sticks and Dental Sauce. Treats contain premium ingredients, according to the company, including vitamins, antioxidants and USDA-inspected meat, in order to provide dental and digestive health benefits. 

Freshpet announces terms for US$135 million IPO

    Freshpet, which sells refrigerated petfood, has announced terms for its IPO. The New Jersey-based company plans to raise US$135 million by offering 10.4 million shares at a price range of US$12 to US$14. At the midpoint of the proposed range, Freshpet would command a fully diluted market value of US$414 million.
    The company cites a growing trend of "pet humanization" in the US where owners treat their pets as family members, along with the popularity of fresh, natural and organic food products among US consumers. Freshpet is backed by growth equity from MidOcean Partners and an investment vehicle co-owned by Chairman and CEO Charles Norris and Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors. Tyson Foods is also a stockholder.
    Freshpet, which was founded in 2004 and booked US$74 million in sales for the 12 months ended June 30, 2014, plans to list on the NASDAQ under the symbol FRPT. Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse are the joint bookrunners on the deal. It is expected to price during the week of Nov. 3, 2014. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Solid Gold Pet, Warrior Canine Connection benefit service dogs, veterans

    Solid Gold Pet, a holistic petfood company, and the Solid Gold Foundation have developed an alliance with Warrior Canine Connection (WCC), a US non-profit organization that enlists recovering warriors in a therapeutic mission of learning to train service dogs for their fellow veterans.
    “We are proud to be a part of Warrior Canine Connection’s efforts to support warriors and their families through the healing power of dogs,” said Michelle Higdon, CEO and managing member of Solid Gold Pet. “As curators of the highest quality of natural ingredients for petfood, we believe that good nutrition can change the lives of pets and that pets can change the lives of others too, so the alliance was a natural fit."
    Founded in 2011, WCC helps combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury through a therapeutic service dog training program. Training service dogs for fellow veterans with disabilities provides an opportunity for warriors recovering from psychological injuries to reintegrate into civilian life. Working with Golden and Labrador Retrievers specially bred for health and temperament, warrior trainers must train the dogs to be comfortable and confident in all environments. In teaching the dogs that the world is a safe place, the warrior trainers challenge their symptoms of combat stress.
    “Warrior Canine Connection is honored to receive this generous support from Solid Gold Pet and Solid Gold Foundation,” said Rick Yount, WCC founder and executive director. “Solid Gold Pet produces a premium product with an excellent reputation for quality and taste. Our partnership with Solid Gold will help to ensure the health of our dogs and their success as the lifetime companions of Veterans with disabilities. The generous financial donation from Solid Gold Foundation will aid us as we expand our programs and services to more recovering warriors.”
    Solid Gold Pet will provide dog food, treats and supplements to all of the service dogs at WCC’s program sites including their headquarters in Brookeville, Maryland and at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence, the Department of Defense’s facility dedicated to advancing the diagnosis, clinical care and research of traumatic brain injury and psychological health conditions for service members. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Oklahoma social service groups feed homeless pets

    Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Night Light Tulsa, a social services group that offers weekly dinner and living necessities for homeless or needy people, has added pets to its list of those it helps.
    Every week for the last year, Tulsa animal welfare staff has handed out 850 pounds of dog and cat food, according to Susan Stoker, animal welfare field supervisor. The program, Feed the Pets of Tulsa's Homeless, is 100% donation-funded and offers petfood and connects people in need with basic pet care. The workers also facilitate donated services from area veterinarians who provide free rabies vaccinations, spaying and neutering.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Bühler Aeroglide to hold drying theory seminar

    Bühler Aeroglide will hold a drying seminar in Cary, North Carolina, on December 9–11, 2014. The seminar aims to help participants learn and apply drying theory to enhance the performance of processing equipment and improve product quality.
    “Our most recent drying theory seminar in Barcelona helped European participants understand drying and apply knowledge to their own specific products and processing operations,” said Joe Tordella, manager of field engineering at Bühler Aeroglide. “Each time, our goal is to teach particular skills needed to evaluate drying operations and produce a baseline of improvements regardless of a dryer’s make or model. In the end, participants should be able to go back and train their own colleagues on best drying procedures to improve efficiency, increase production and achieve optimum product quality.”
    "Drying Theory Put to Practice" explores drying basics including parameters, balancing, evaluating, mechanical inspections and troubleshooting with a dryer simulation. By learning how to adjust and regulate the process for the desired outcome, participants find hidden areas of opportunity in the drying process. In the long run, this can mean large savings and increased capacity, according to Bühler Aeroglide. The company also provides site evaluations to establish baselines for these improvements.
    The three-day-interactive training program was created for plant managers, project managers, plant engineers and quality control personnel. It also teaches advanced drying concepts and measurement practices in a hands-on lab session combined with advance calculation methods used for dryer sizing. On day two, the class gets to address a mystery product and develop an out-of-the-box approach to solve a drying issue. For more information and to register, please contact Carolyn Gill at Buhler Aeroglide headquarters at +1.919.851.2000 or email

Friday, November 7, 2014

Biorigin releases sustainability report

    Biorigin has released its latest sustainability report which, among other things, announces an investment of US$120 million in its plan to expand production, which should increase the company's net income and cash generation until 2017.
    Another highlight was the result of Biorigin's satisfaction survey. The general index of customers’ satisfaction was 75.9%, whereas product quality obtained 91.3% approval, both at 95% confidence level. Brazilian and foreign customers of the food and animal nutrition sectors were interviewed, and the survey results generated an action plan that is already being implemented.
    Antonio José Zillo, director-president of Biorigin, said the focus of the company is sustainable economic growth and generation of value for the shareholders. “We were able to identify opportunities and to find solutions for the challenges, maintaining the competitive level of the company and always aiming at increasing productivity and efficiency in cost management and operations," said Zillo. "This is our strength: To make business grow, while respecting people and preserving the environment."
    The report also looked at traceability, clean energy and certifications.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Nestlé Purina holds 2014 Better with Pets Summit

    Nestlé Purina PetCare Co.’s second Better With Pets Summit, held in New York on Oct. 14, 2014, emphasized how technology and scientific advances are leading to a brighter future for pets. Speakers included 15 experts, including animal behaviorists, researchers and entrepreneurs.
    "As a leader in the pet care industry, we believe it’s very important to bring together these remarkable speakers to share their knowledge of how pets deeply impact our own behaviors,” said Steve Crimmins, chief marketing officer for Nestlé Purina PetCare. "From a rocket scientist to a 14-year-old inventor, we've brought together some of the most amazing thinkers and storytellers from across cultures to showcase the many ways pets and people are better together—both today and tomorrow.” 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Vets Plus achieves Safe Quality Food Level 3 certification

    Global animal health company Vets Plus Inc. has received SQF (Safe Quality Food) Code 7.2 Level 3 certification for manufacture of dietary supplements after an audit of the manufacturing facilities for food safety and quality management systems in September 2014. This is the highest level of certification standards set by Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI) and is recognized by foodservice providers and regulatory agencies around the world that require food safety and quality management systems by their suppliers.
    SQFI sets rigorous standards to assure safety and quality of food by manufacturers, distributors and agents to cover all aspects of the food supply chain. Vets Plus is one of the first animal health supplement companies to pursue the certification at this level in the US. Level 3 certification indicates comprehensive implementation of quality management and safety procedures. “We have worked hard to implement the SQF standard protocol throughout our manufacturing processes," said Dr. Anita Sinha, director of quality management at Vets Plus. "To have achieved this certification is a great honor and indicator of the quality of products we are making here."
    The SQF standards are based on government and industry food safety requirements with specialized guidance within specific categories. Qualifying companies must demonstrate their ongoing dedication to food safety and quality, which is validated during an annual recertification audit. SQF is recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and is trusted by buyers and retailers around the world. “The audit process and maintenance of SQF certification at this level is a demonstration to our partners of our commitment to safe, quality animal health products," said Sinha. "We chose to pursue this certification because we are dedicated to safe manufacturing processes to ensure the highest quality products.”

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

SHV Holdings bids €2.7 billion for Nutreco

    SHV, a family-owned Dutch investment firm, has reached a conditional agreement to buy animal feed and nutrition company Nutreco (parent company of Trouw) for €2.7 billion (US $3.4 billion), expanding into food-related businesses.
    Nutreco said it had received guarantees from SHV that it would continue its growth strategy, including acquisitions, and that it would keep its headquarters in the Netherlands. "SHV will be an excellent partner, enabling us to maintain our corporate identity, culture, values and organization," said Knut Nesse, CEO of Nutreco. Under the terms of the agreement, SHV will pay for the acquisition in cash from its own financial resources.
    The offer for Nutreco is expected to open in the final quarter of 2014 and Nutreco's executive and supervisory boards recommended shareholders accept it, the companies said in a statement. It is subject to regulatory approval.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Freshpet launches 'Letters' campaign to highlight fresh petfood

    Freshpet, a petfood company making fresh, refrigerated dog and cat food in the US, has launched a new marketing campaign, “Letters,” featuring real pet parents, real pets and their true stories about how feeding fresh food has made a positive difference in their lives.
    With more than 2,000 letters received already, Freshpet chose 15 families who had previously written in about their experiences feeding fresh and surprised them with a trip to New York and a chance to star in digital and TV advertising.
    “Every time we read a letter it makes us very proud of what we do, and we are more determined than ever to continue making fresh food our pets can enjoy for years to come," said Scott Morris, Freshpet co-founder. "We consistently hear from Freshpet parents that their dogs and cats are not just living, they are thriving, on a fresh diet. The ‘Letters’ campaign gives us a platform to celebrate and share these amazing stories.”
    Freshpet will host the “Letters” campaign on, where pet parents can read hundreds of letters, learn more about the people and pets featured in the advertising, and send in their own story. Additionally, every Tuesday Freshpet will spotlight one testimonial using #TuesdayTransformation across their social media channels. Throughout the campaign, Freshpet will select pet parents to send surprises to as “thank yous” for their support. Some special surprise moments will be captured on photo and video and shared back with the Freshpet community.