Wednesday, December 31, 2014

KaNoodles dental chews earn pet business award

    KaNoodles Premium Dental Chews for Dogs, by Vets Plus Inc., have been awarded the honor of a 2014 Pet Business Industry Recognition Award. The winners were selected by the editorial team of Pet Business and announced in the magazine’s December 2014 issue.
    “We’re so excited to have received this award for the new KaNoodles chews," said Cherie Grandt, director of marketing at Vets Plus. "They’re a unique product—from the ingredients to the shape—and we’re excited about how the industry and pet parents are embracing the chews.”
    KaNoodles Premium Dental Chews have a flexible shape with deep grooves that maximize contact with the tooth surface for a better clean. “As the dental category grows, pet parents have more options for convenient oral health care," said Grandt. "KaNoodles chews stand out because of their flexibility and digestibility.” The chews are made of an extruded pasta base that is completely digestible, so there’s no harm to the dog if swallowed. With zinc, omega-3 fatty acids and soluble fiber, KaNoodles chews help keep teeth and gums healthy while providing support for a strong immune system.
    KaNoodles chews for dogs were launched in the USA and Canada in August 2014, and are available in four sizes for adult dogs small to extra-large.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

RECALL: Barkworthies recalls dog chews on Salmonella concerns

    Chicken Vittles dog chews recalled after routine testing by Colorado Department of Agriculture

    Barkworthies of Richmond, Virginia, is recalling select lots of its Barkworthies Chicken Vittles dog chews because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.
    The recalled product was distributed nationwide beginning on May 6, 2014. The product can be identified by the Lot Code printed on the back of the plastic pouch or on the bottom. This product is being recalled as it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella:
    Lot Code: 1254T1
    Size: 16 oz. plastic pouch
    Best Used by Date: May 2016
    UPC: 816807011510
    The recall was initiated after routine testing by the Colorado Department of Agriculture revealed the presence of Salmonella in a single lot of the product. No additional products are affected by this recall. The company has received no reports of illness in either people or animals associated with these products to date.
    The recalled product should not be sold or fed to pets. For a full refund, pet owners should return all unused product to their place of purchase along with a completed Product Recall Claim Form available on the Barkworthies website.

Petfood Forum 2015 announces speakers, new schedule

    Petfood Innovation Workshop: Next Generation Treats, which will take place April 27 in Kansas City, Kansas, USA, will include a field trip to a Food Innovation Accelerator Lab at nearby Kansas State University-Olathe. There, participants can practice product development of treats with several hands-on exercises using actual ingredients and processing techniques.
    Sales of pet treats are growing 5% to 8% a year globally, with double-digit increases in some regions as pet owners around the world seek to pamper their pets yet still feed them wholesome, healthy snacks, including functional ingredients. Participants in the Petfood Innovation Workshop can learn about upcoming trends and new product ideas for this dynamic category, then engage in hands-on experimentation, making new types of treats at the Food Innovation Accelerator Lab.
    Just about 30 minutes from the Kansas City Convention Center, this new Kansas State University (KSU) campus features a test kitchen where Greg Aldrich, PhD, Research Associate Professor at KSU and President of Pet Food Ingredients & Technology, will lead industry suppliers through helping petfood professionals create new bench-top, baked and molded treats.
    Space for Petfood Innovation Workshop: Next Generation Treats is limited. Early bird registration savings are available through February 15, with additional savings for professionals also registering for Petfood Forum 2015.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Rondo Food invests in new administration building

    Krefeld company Rondo Food has constructed a new building on its premises. With this development, the company has re-established itself for the future, according to Rondo Food.
    Administration departments and sales for the whole of the company group are located at the Krefeld site, and all the central functions such as purchasing, financial accounting and human resources converge at this site. “In the past, there wasn’t a free desk and our capacities were all utilized,” said Managing Director Dirk Wellen. “Our old 1970s building hadn’t been sufficient to meet the demands that the modern working day places on our staff for some time. There was also a need for modernization in several areas; for example, window insulation and the IT infrastructure."
    The company has invested US$4 million in a new, modern administration building that was completed in August 2014. After a 10-month building phase, the three managing directors and all staff were able to move into the new building. In the new building there are only a few individual offices, allowing for more open-plan offices with zones for working together to realize more intensive communication and teamwork, according to the company.
    The new administration wing has been constructed in front of the old building. In a second building phase the existing old building will be disassembled and a new two-story building will be built in its place. The new home for some members of staff, for example from the purchasing and sales services departments, will be in that new building. Additional social rooms will be constructed in the then available free areas. All of the departments closely linked with production, such as product development and quality assurance, that were previously located in a different area on the premises, are now under one roof. All building work should be completed in the spring of 2015.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Vital Essentials announces 2015 resolution focusing on pet health

    Vital Essentials has announced its 2015 resolution—to encourage American pet parents to feed healthier diets. Throughout 2015, Vital Essentials is planning a number of events to call attention to its Alpha prey-model diet, which the company touts as a healthier way to feed dogs and cats.

    “Most Americans are typically more health conscious during January,” said Lanny Viegut, Vital Essentials CEO. “We want them to think about a healthier lifestyle for the entire family, including their dogs and cats.” To kick off the new year, Vital Essentials will be promoting three of the top-selling Purely RAW frozen entrées in support of its Feed Healthycampaign at independent pet specialty retail stores throughout the US. These entrées will be marked with a “Special Price” tag on packages.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

NGFA seeks to change proposed rule on petfood, animal feed

    The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) during a recent public meeting urged the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make significant changes to its proposed rule that would establish for petfood and animal feed new requirements for current good manufacturing practices (CGMPs) and hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls.
    The FDA conducted the public meeting to receive stakeholder feedback on four major re-proposed rules associated with its implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The four re-proposed rules address produce safety, CGMPS and preventive controls for human food, CGMPs and preventive controls for petfood and animal feed, and foreign supplier verification programs.
    The FDA issued the reproposed animal feed rule on Sept. 29, 2014 to provide the agency's current thinking on requirements after its review of comments received in response to its original proposal issued in 2013. The NGFA submitted extensive comments on the 2013 proposal, and recommended that FDA make major changes and re-propose the rule for additional stakeholder comment given the very significant nature of the regulations, and the extent of changes recommended by the NGFA and other stakeholders.
    During the public meeting, Max Fisher, NGFA director of economics and government relations, said he commended FDA for re-proposing the rule and allowing additional comment. But Fisher said the NGFA remains concerned that "many of the proposed CGMP provisions continue to mirror those established for human food, and do not reflect the realities associated with feeding animals, nor are they necessary to assure the safety of feed products."
    In prior statements to FDA, the NGFA has urged the agency to develop final requirements that are practical, achievable and serve to benefit the safety of petfood and animal feed. In doing so, the NGFA has cautioned that adding unnecessary regulatory burdens and costs would undermine the industry's ability to serve the animal agriculture industry and divert finite resources away from effective practices that already are assuring a safe and abundant supply of petfood and feed.
    "The NGFA requests that FDA carefully consider the economic impact of its proposed requirements and weigh the extensive costs against anticipated benefits, which the agency has yet to quantify," said Fisher. The NGFA's economic analysis of FDA's original proposal indicated the requirements would cost petfood and animal feed facilities more than US$500 million annually—approximately four times more than estimated by FDA.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Dimensioning a conveying system for bulk materials

    When considering the installation of a new vacuum conveying system for the handling of granular bulk materials, there is a checklist of questions that need answering, according to Thomas Dahl, strategic sales OEM for the material handling division of Piab AB. The designer of the system will need the answers in order to dimension, design and assemble a system that suits the application.
    1) What material?: The designer needs to know the bulk density of the material; i.e., how much it weighs in kilograms per liter (kg/l). It is also important to establish an approximate size for individual particles in the material, measured in micrometers (µm).
    2) How clean?: In order to choose the right type of equipment for the conveying system, the designer also needs to know what their client requires in terms of cleanliness of the transported material.
    3) How far?: Spatial data regarding the transportation system itself is also vital. The designer has to know how far the material needs to be transported.
    4) What capacity?: The capacity, throughput, or flow rate of the system is next on the designer’s list of questions. The capacity is measured in tons per hour and, together with the respective vertical and horizontal distances, it provides the designer with a figure that is used to select a pump for the system.
    5) Any risks?: To avoid dust explosions, specialized equipment may be required for materials prone to developing static electricity. Compliance with industrial standards included in regulations such as the EU ATEX Directive is an essential part of the design work.
    6) Test it?: An experienced designer will have no problem dimensioning and building a vacuum-based conveying system for common materials. However, faced with unfamiliar materials or perhaps extreme spatial constraints, the designer may decide to test the system in-house before it is implemented at the client’s premises.
    Having ticked off all the questions on the checklist, the designer is ready to set to work building a system fit for purpose. Furnished with all the necessary information regarding: the fluidity, bulk density, and particle size of the material; the horizontal and vertical distances in the available space; the desired capacity; any special requirements concerning cleanliness or potential risks; and results from a potential trial run, the designer can choose the right vacuum conveyor for the job.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Pet's, Vet's Packaging Forums to be held in February 2015

    Together with the representatives of pet industry brands, pharmaceutical companies and packaging suppliers, the Paris Packaging Innovation Hub is organizing a set of conferences—Pet's Packaging Forum on Feb. 4, 2015 and Vet's Packaging Forum on Feb. 5—focusing on technology that will boost innovation in the sector.
    "Developed in close collaboration with brands a packaging experts, Pet's and Vet's Packaging Forums are unique opportunities to take stock of innovations, technical advances and packaging trends," said show organizers.
    The Pet's Packaging Forum will include discussions on petfood packaging challenges and enhancing consumer experience. The Vet's Packaging Forum will highlight point of packaging and drug delivery, and the current status of packaging and dispensing innovations.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Study explores role of gut bacteria in development of obesity in dogs

    A new study has found that human and canine obesity share some similarities, according to Science magazine. Obese people have a less diverse array of bacteria living in their guts than do thin people—and the same holds true for dogs.
    According to the study abstract, which was published in December 2014 in the "Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine," seven Beagle dogs were fed commercial petfood over a period of six months to increase their weight and seven other Beagle dogs were fed a restricted amount of the same diet to maintain optimal body condition over a period of six months. Researchers found that the seven Beagles in the first group gained an average of 4.93 kilograms—about 67% of their initial average weight.
    "When the researchers examined the fecal samples collected from both groups after six months, they found that the guts of obese Beagles contained a smaller diversity of bacteria than those of the other dogs," said Science magazine. "What's more, microbes from the phylum Firmicutes were the predominant group in the lean dogs, whereas gram-negative bacteria called Proteobacteria were prevalent in the obese group."
    The study says that decreased serotonin levels in the obese group might increase the risk of obesity because of increased appetite, and that microflora enriched with gram-negative might be related to chronic inflammation status in obese dogs. However, according to the study authors, more research is needed to examine what role gut bacteria may play in the development of obesity.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

PetSmart to be bought by BC Partners for US$8.7 billion

    Pet supply retailer PetSmart Inc. has made an agreement to be bought by a private equity consortium led by BC Partners Ltd. for US$8.7 billion, in the largest leveraged buyout of the year.
    Activist investor Jana Partners LLC began pushing for a sale after disclosing a 9.9% stake in PetSmart in early July 2014, according to reports. PetSmart said BC Partners, as well as some of its fund investors, including La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and StepStone, signed an agreement to buy the company for US$83 per share. Longview Asset Management, which has a 9% stake in PetSmart, will roll a third of its holding into the deal.
    The buyout price represents a 39% premium to PetSmart's closing price of US$59.81 on July 2, 2014, the day before Jana disclosed its stake and called for PetSmart to explore a sale. Jana paid less than US$55 per share on average for its percent stake in PetSmart, according to regulatory filings.
    PetSmart, which has about 54,000 employees and operates 1,387 pet stores, said in August 2014 it would explore a potential sale of the company. PetSmart faced mounting investor pressure at a time when fierce competition from large retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Amazon, is squeezing specialty stores.

    In November 2014, PetSmart reported flat third-quarter net income of US$92.2 million as net sales rose 2.6% to US$1.7 billion.

WIPIN seeking experts for third annual women-focused pet business conference

    Women in the Pet Industry Network (WIPIN), an organization focused on women entrepreneurs in the pet industry, is seeking experts to share their knowledge and expertise at its 2015 Conference & Awards Show, Aug. 13-15, 2015 in Portland, Oregon. The 2015 conference theme is “Creative Collaboration.”
    “We’re seeking speakers who can inform and help WIPIN members—female (and a few smart male!) entrepreneurs—committed to growing their businesses, their networks and themselves,” said WIPIN President Shawna Schuh. “The annual conference is a way to augment what WIPIN provides members all year: a myriad of online resources and educational growth opportunities as well as avenues for rich collaborating.”
    WIPIN’s previous conferences have featured dozens of speakers from throughout the US and Canada—a collection of skilled professionals who delivered presentations on: business growth, strategic partnerships, effective marketing and promotion, and the importance of inspiration, motivation and laughter.
    “Being at the WIPIN 2014 conference as both a speaker and delegate was a complete life changer,” said Nickey Rautenberg, founder and online marketing strategist of Pet Industry Marketing Group. “Speaking gave me great exposure for my business and also allowed a greater merger between the world of Internet marketing and the pet industry; my ultimate goal. I have no doubt that the Women in the Pet Industry organization will continue to allow me to network in a way I would not be able to otherwise.”
    WIPIN invites speaker proposals for the following overall categories:
    • Developing effective business strategies
    • Mastering marketing, PR and social media
    • Maximizing networking and connection opportunities
    • Managing resources wisely
    Experts interested in speaking at the 2015 conference can view the speaker application and submit their proposals online

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

New Petfood Innovation Workshop on treats to feature test kitchen sessions

    Petfood Innovation Workshop: Next Generation Treats, which will take place April 27 in Kansas City, Kansas, USA, will include a field trip to a Food Innovation Accelerator Lab at nearby Kansas State University-Olathe. There, participants can practice product development of treats with several hands-on exercises using actual ingredients and processing techniques.
    Sales of pet treats are growing 5% to 8% a year globally, with double-digit increases in some regions as pet owners around the world seek to pamper their pets yet still feed them wholesome, healthy snacks, including functional ingredients. Participants in the Petfood Innovation Workshop can learn about upcoming trends and new product ideas for this dynamic category, then engage in hands-on experimentation, making new types of treats at the Food Innovation Accelerator Lab.
    Just about 30 minutes from the Kansas City Convention Center, this new Kansas State University (KSU) campus features a test kitchen where Greg Aldrich, PhD, Research Associate Professor at KSU and President of Pet Food Ingredients & Technology, will lead industry suppliers through helping petfood professionals create new bench-top, baked and molded treats.
    Space for Petfood Innovation Workshop: Next Generation Treats is limited. Early bird registration savings are available through February 15, with additional savings for professionals also registering for Petfood Forum 2015.

Purina develops petfood focusing on cognitive health

    To help pets sustain healthy brain function into their later years, Nestlé Purina has developed a nutritional blend of key ingredients that specifically target risk factors linked to brain aging, according to the company. The new blend, developed by Purina scientists, consists of key ingredients such as fish oil, B vitamins, antioxidants and the essential amino acid arginine. The nutritional breakthrough can help maintain cognitive functions, such as memory, social interaction and learning abilities, says Purina.
    In a recent survey conducted by Purina, 54% of dog owners aren't aware that physical changes in dogs can be related to cognitive issues. But 45% of dog owners have noticed their dogs slowing down mentally as they get older. More than four in 10 dogs in the US are older than seven years, and nutrition can help maintain healthy brain function, says the company.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

IFFO launches video on omega-3s in salmon feed

    As farmed salmon becomes a regular feature in diets, it is important to understand its nutritional benefits. Salmon is still an excellent source of omega-3s, containing more than most other fish, but do consumers understand enough about the amounts of EPA and DHA found in salmon and the recommended levels in our diets? IFFO’s latest video helps answer this, focusing on the crucial role of omega-3s in salmon feed, especially EPA and DHA, and the changes in levels used.
    Salmon have a very limited ability to make EPA and DHA. The concentration of EPA and DHA in their flesh is directly linked to their diet, which in the wild is rich in fish oil. Farmed salmon feed used to contain 100% fish oil, rich in EPA and DHA, but supplies of sustainable fish oil are limited. As salmon farming grows, more and more feed is required but the levels of available fish oil remain unchanged, says the IFFO. The amount of fish oil used in feed is therefore decreasing and is now supplemented with an increasing percentage of vegetable oil, resulting in lower levels of EPA and DHA in salmon. Farmed salmon still contains more EPA and DHA than most other fish but consumers need to be aware of the varying levels of EPA and DHA in salmon and ensure that they continue to eat enough to reach the recommended intake levels of 250 mg per day, as recommended by the World Health Organization.

Euromonitor releases trends in pet nutrition video

    In September 2014, Euromonitor International presented the results of its annual pet care research at the National Pet Industry trade show organized by PIJAC Canada. The video (first in a series) presented discussed some of the trends in pet nutrition that featured prominently at the show and reflect well trends observed in petfood retail in the US and Canada.
    In the video, Euromonitor takes a look at three trends: locally sourced food, ethically sourced food and "free from" food. The video features Svetlana Uduslivaia, senior research analyst for Euromonitor. The upcoming second videocast will discuss product development trends with emphasis on the expanding array of proteins used in petfood.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dogswell donates 15,000 pounds of petfood at NKLA adoption weekend

    Dogswell teamed up with Best Friends Animal Society to help people feed their dogs at NKLA Adoption Weekend with LiveFree food. For each dog adopted, Dogswell donated three months of LiveFree dog food and more than five pallets to Best Friends Animal Society—more than 15,000 pounds of dog food.
    Dogswell's LiveFree food is available exclusively at independent pet retailers and at Unleashed by Petco. A round-up video of the event is available on YouTube.

Interzoo Summit recap film now available

    The Interzoo Summit—the international conference in English—took place for the first time on May 28 just before Interzoo 2014 (held May 29–June 1), and a video of highlights is now available.
    During the show, Interzoo promoter Wirtschaftsgemeinschaft Zoologischer Fachbetriebe invited top managers and managing directors from companies trading in pet supplies and companies exhibiting at Interzoo to discuss the current challenges for the international pet supply trade in a customer-orientated omni-channel market. Well-known speakers presented successful concepts for emotional customer loyalty, the development of private labels, and growth models for cooperation with manufacturers and other players in the supply chain.
    Participants and speakers also had the opportunity to meet in the evening over dinner with musical accompaniment. The first Interzoo Summit was organized in cooperation with the international magazine Pets International and NürnbergMesse.
    A video of the Summit can be seen online for those looking to get a preview of 2016's event, which will take place May 25, a day before Interzoo 2016 on May 26–29.

Friday, December 12, 2014

NutriFusion formulates nutrient-rich products for pets

    NutriFusion, a provider of natural nutrition and phytonutrient products for food manufacturers, has extended its flagship ingredient, GrandFusion, into the petfood sector.
    Food manufacturers will be able to infuse their existing brands with NutriFusion’s pet-friendly blends that are conducive to a diet rich in vitamins that include fresh fruits and vegetables, such as beets, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, cranberry, strawberry, apple and pumpkin. NutriFusion’s pet blends are all natural, non-GMO and gluten-free with Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12, C, E and zinc.
    “As pets increasingly assume the role of ‘family members’ in households, owners are looking to confer the benefits of their own wellness routines, especially functional ingredients,” said William Grand, president and CEO of NutriFusion. “NutriFusion takes pride in the quality of its products, and our new pet blends will assure that pets get the essential vitamins they need to stay happy and healthy.” NutriFusion’s method allows the vitamins and phytonutrients contained in fruits and vegetables to be “naturally stabilized,” in powder form, for inclusion into petfoods. GrandFusion allows food processors to add natural nutrients to a wide variety of finished food products. It is an all-natural, patented blend of fruits and/or vegetables that can significantly increase the nutritional profile, and therefore the marketability of food, beverage and supplement products, according to the company.

AFIA to host eighth petfood conference at IPPE

    The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) will host a one-day Pet Food Conference at the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, Georgia, on Jan. 27, 2015. The educational conference will discuss nutrition, trade and certification programs impacting today’s petfood and petfood ingredient manufacturers.
    More than 10 speakers will address a variety of topics at the conference, including Dr. Daniel McChesney, director of office of surveillance and compliance at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, who will provide agency updates and the impact on the petfood industry.
    The conference will feature several other industry experts including Dr. Colin Basler, Center for Disease Control and Prevention; LeAnn Chuboff, Safe Quality Food Institute; Marianne Smith Edge, International Food Information Council; Richard Ten Eyck, The Association of American Feed Control Officials; Dr. David Meeker, National Renderers Association; Janet Riley, American Meat Institute; Dr. Charles Starkey, American Proteins; Dr. Kelly Swanson, University of Illinois; Gina Tumbarello, AFIA; and Svetlana Uduslivaia, Euromonitor International. There will also be a petfood safety panel, featuring Jolyda Swaim, Olsson, Frank and Weeda, and other petfood manufacturers and ingredient suppliers, which will give an update on the proposed Food Safety Modernization Act rules, food safety plans and sampling.
    IPPE is expected to attract more than 28,000 attendees and is a collaboration of three trade shows—International Poultry Expo, International Feed Expo and International Meat Expo—representing the entire chain of protein production and processing. The event is sponsored by the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), American Meat Institute (AMI) and US Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY).   

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Banfield Charitable Trust, Royal Canin launch holiday petfood drive

    Banfield Charitable Trust and Royal Canin invite pet owners and advocates across the US to participate in and support the ninth annual holiday petfood drive. The program, launched Dec. 1, 2014 and running through Dec. 24, features 12 days of promotions that will raise awareness about pet hunger, collect petfood and raise funds to benefit senior citizen pet owners needing support in the care of their companions.
    Through the 12 Days of Joy Pet Food Drive, Royal Canin encourages consumers to drive donations by sharing snapshots of the joy their pets bring to everyday life. The donations will benefit seniors who need the support to keep their companions, but struggle with mobility and costs. Together with Banfield Charitable Trust, Royal Canin will encourage fans to post photos of their pets that bring delight to their lives, and in return will donate food to those in need.
    How to participate:
    • Make a monetary donation: Make a monetary donation at or at Banfield Pet Hospitals to fund grants for local Meals On Wheels petfood programs. For donations of US$10 or more, KONG will donate a toy to the pet of a Meals On Wheels client.
    • Donate bags and cans of dog and cat food at one of Banfield Pet Hospital's 870+ locations across the US.
    • Submit a pet photo on Royal Canin's Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages. A photo submission will account for 20 pounds of food donated.
    • By submitting pet pictures, users are also entered to win a daily prize from Royal Canin. During the month of December, additional information (and new ways to win) will be provided on Royal Canin's social networks.
    The program runs through Dec. 24, 2014.

Mars acquires P&G petfood business in Australia, New Zealand

    Mars Incorporated has completed its acquisition of the Iams and Eukanuba pet brands from The Procter & Gamble Company in Australia and New Zealand. This follows an agreement announced by the companies earlier in 2014 and receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals. Mars has already acquired Procter & Gamble's petfood business in North America, Latin America and other select countries.
    The Iams and Eukanuba brands will be part of Mars Petcare, joining brands Pedigree, Whiskas, My Dog, Dine, Optimum, Royal Canin, Nutro and Advance. The move is a strategic addition to the company's pet care portfolio that will enable Mars Petcare to meet the needs of more customers and pets in Australia and New Zealand, said the company. "Owning a pet is an important part of many people's lives in Australia and New Zealand—there are over 8.5 million pet cats and dogs," said Sylvia Burbery, general manager Australia, Mars Petcare. "Pets are an essential part of society and provide invaluable support in facilitating human interaction, social connections and providing companionship. Iams and Eukanuba are great products and are a welcome addition to our petfood offering. They complement our existing brands and will help us better meet the needs of our much loved pets."

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Petfood Forum Europe registration now live

    Registration for Petfood Forum Europe 2015 is now open, with 10% off the price if you register before April 1. The conference will be held June 10, 2015, at the Koelnmesse, Cologne, Germany, in conjunction with VICTAM International 2015.
    The dynamic petfood market is growing quickly in developing regions like Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia; and even with slow growth lately in developed markets like Western Europe, opportunity abounds for innovative, healthy petfood products to capture pet owners’ attention and purchasing power. At Petfood Forum Europe, attendees will glean new information and ideas to innovate and expand their business.
    Petfood Forum Europe has offered expert knowledge and valuable networking for European petfood professionals since the late 1990s. In 2015, it will again be co-located with VICTAM International, together with the 6th FIAAP International Conference. The 2015 VICTAM International event combines the FIAAP, VICTAM and GRAPAS exhibitions (and their respective conferences) under one roof at Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany, June 9–11, 2015, and will attract a large audience of feed professionals from all around the world.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Trouw Nutrition donates to K9s for Warriors

    Each year, Trouw Nutrition USA aims to give back to companion animals. For its 2014 donation, Trouw has send a cash donation on behalf of its customers to support K9s For Warriors, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and national member of the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), which provides service dogs to warriors/veterans that suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or traumatic brain injury post 9/11.
    The three-week program that K9s For Warriors offers is at no cost to the warrior. The program takes place at their Florida location and is designed for the warriors to come and meet their new companion and to begin training together. The service dog trains to help the veteran recover from conditions such as PTSD and traumatic brain injury. The program involves not only the veterans and their new service dog, but there are also highly skilled, certified dog handlers and trainers that are available throughout the entire training program.
    "Each year, we look forward to the holiday season," says Trouw. "Teaming up with K9s For Warriors shows our commitment to the pet industry. As we take time this holiday season to remember our working K9’s, we also would like to take a moment to reflect back on all the individuals that are in need of service dogs. From all of us at Trouw Nutrition, we hope that you can enjoy the holidays with your family and friends and reflect on the blessings we have been given."

Monday, December 8, 2014

Petco to acquire online pet product retailer Drs. Foster and Smith

    Petco has entered into an agreement to acquire Drs. Foster and Smith, a veterinary-owned online pet supply company. The acquisition will unite one of the largest pet specialty retailers with one of the largest online pet retailers in the US.
    "This move underscores our commitment to nurturing the complete health and well-being of animals and further allows Petco to meet the diverse and expansive needs of pet parents," said Jim Myers, Petco CEO. "As pet lovers first and foremost, our values are perfectly aligned with Drs. Foster and Smith, and we're confident this new addition to our business will help us continue to offer the very best in products and services to pets and pet parents." The acquisition will complement Petco's existing capabilities in pet health to include prescription services, including prescription diets, preventive care and a broad base of products created by licensed veterinarians.
    "At our founding, our intent with Drs. Foster and Smith was to provide pet owners with veterinary advice and quality pet supplies at affordable prices," said Race Foster, DVM, co-founder of Drs. Foster and Smith. "We believe Petco shares those same values, and we look forward to building on our original mission." The acquisition includes both Drs. Foster & Smith's prescription services as well as its popular branded products, including joint care supplements, dog and cat foods, dog beds, cat furniture, horse supplies, equine equipment and other pet care essentials.
    The transaction is expected to be completed by early 2015 and is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of regulatory approvals. The terms of the deal are not being disclosed.

Friday, December 5, 2014

For every can of Merrick petfood purchased at Petco in Dec., one meal will be donated to a rescue animal

    Petco and Merrick have partnered to give back to pet shelters during the holiday season. For each Merrick can of petfood purchased at Petco in November or December 2014, a meal will be donated to a rescue animal.
    The companies will donate meals up to US$1 million of cans purchased to selected shelters:
    Special displays are up in Petco stores throughout the US so pet parents can learn about the promotion and pick up a can to help make a difference in a shelter animal's life. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Natural pet products to exceed US$7 billion in 2014

    Natural pet products are expected to exceed US$7 billion in 2014, and premiumization has been a primary driving force behind it, according to a Packaged Facts report.
    The report, "Natural, Organic, and Eco-friendly Pet Products in the US, 5th Edition," says that natural petfood will account for US$6.6 billion in sales by the end of 2014, and natural pet care products will make up the remainder. Premium foods are doing better right now than other petfood segments, boosting the natural products category. Margins on superpremium petfoods can reach 40%, compared with 30% for premium brands and 20% or less for standard brands. As more of these higher-end foods take on the "natural" claim, sales will continue to rise for that segment, according to Packaged Facts.
    On the other side of the coin, offering just a natural claim isn't enough for consumers anymore, and consumers are willing to spend more for additional health and wellness benefits. According to Packaged Facts’ April/May 2014 survey results, 64% of pet owners believe that high-quality petfoods are effective for preventive health care, and 68% are willing to spend extra money to ensure the wellness of their pets. Sixty-two percent of pet owners check product labels on the petfoods they buy, and 42% are concerned about their pet having food intolerances or allergies, according to the survey.

Freeze-dried, refrigerated/frozen petfoods continue strong growth

    The natural food category, which has been driving the petfood market for over 10 years, continues to spawn trends that rise and fall on much shorter timeframes—challenging manufacturers and retailers to keep pace while making a profit, according to GfK's latest data.
    The latest point-of-sale data from GfK’s pet specialty store panel in the US shows that sales of gluten-free dog and cat food have already begun to plateau, posting 39.2% growth from January through August 2014, as compared to 91.2% for the same period in 2013. By contrast, freeze-dried food recorded a 43.8% sales rise in that timeframe (similar to 46.9% in 2013), while the controversial refrigerated/frozen category saw a lift of 17% (consistent with 17.5% in 2013).
    The GfK pet retail panel includes neighborhood shops and superstores alike, representing over 11,000 pet specialty outlets in the US. GfK captures and reports dozens of metrics—from pounds sold to new products introduced—covering more than 350 manufacturers and over 22,000 SKUs.
    Collectively, the freeze-dried, refrigerated/frozen and gluten-free categories accounted for over US$566 million in sales in the first eight months of 2014, more than double the US$243 million they posted in the same time frame in 2012. Gluten-free remains the heavyweight in pure dollars, though, representing US$450 million in sales, versus US$71 million for refrigerated/frozen food and US$45 million for freeze-dried.
    Natural food is still the category "to beat" in dog and cat food, according to GfK, accounting for 79% of all new items introduced from January through August 2014, and for US$3.3 billion in sales during the same time frame—two-thirds of all petfood sales (US$4.9 billion total). Both natural sales figures represent upticks from the same time period in 2013.
    One element of natural food that appeals to pet specialty retailers is the higher-than-average price points these SKUs command, says GfK. Natural dog and cat foods (including treats) sell for US$2.55 per pound on average, compared to the average of US$2.18 per pound for all petfoods in general. The price per pound for freeze-dried dog and cat items is essentially six times higher than the average price for all categories (US$11.51 per pound versus US$2.18). Refrigerated/frozen food, meanwhile, is more than double the average price per pound (US$5.11 versus US$2.18).
    “Natural remains pretty much the only game in town when it comes to high-growth dog and cat food items,” said Maria Lange, senior product manager of GfK’s retail and technology team, which manages the pet specialty panel. “Dog and cat owners have shown a willingness to pay extra for emerging benefits—such as gluten-free and freeze-dried—that often mimic the ones seen in human food. Manufacturers and retailers need to give their customers access to the latest talked-about SKUs while keeping actual sales dollars in perspective; categories posting the highest growth and capturing the most headlines may still be minor forces when it comes to meeting revenue targets.”
    Although the refrigerated/frozen food category has been beset by negative media stories about recalls and Salmonella risks, sales have continued to grow (at about 17% to 20% annually) over the last four years. And, despite the added burden of installing refrigerators and freezers and culling expired items, the percentage of outlets—neighborhood and superstores—carrying refrigerated/frozen food has grown from 65% in 2011 to 75% in 2014.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Zoetis to purchase animal health assets of Abbott

    Zoetis Inc. has announced an agreement to purchase the animal health assets of Abbott for US$255 million. Abbott Animal Health is a companion animal health business focused on the veterinary surgical suite. The acquisition will strengthen Zoetis’ companion animal product portfolio and expand its diagnostics business as more pets are being treated for pain and serious illnesses, according to the company.
    “The addition of Abbott Animal Health assets is an excellent complement to the Zoetis companion animal business and addresses the challenges our customers face today in effectively raising and caring for animals that are living longer and receiving more intensive medical and surgical treatment,” said Zoetis Chief Executive Officer Juan Ramón Alaix.
    “The transaction is aligned with our value creation strategy to deploy capital to acquire products that enhance our portfolio. This acquisition strengthens our pain portfolio and our diagnostics business so we can deliver more customized solutions to veterinarians.”
    Going forward, Zoetis said it remains committed to its strategy of acquiring complementary businesses and products that can generate sustained value to shareholders. No other terms of the transaction are being disclosed. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015, pending the successful completion of customary regulatory and legal reviews.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Jackson Galaxy to deliver closing keynote for Petfood Forum 2015

    Courtesy of Jackson Galaxy
    Jackson Galaxy, star of My Cat From Hell, will deliver the closing keynote for Petfood Forum 2015.
    Petfood Forum, the exclusive, premier event for the global petfood industry, has announced that Jackson Galaxy, star of the hit Animal Planet show My Cat From Hell, will deliver the closing keynote for the 2015 conference on April 29. He will talk about the inspirations for his career, lessons he’s learned from working with cats and their owners and why his primary goal is to help save the 4 million animals that die in shelters each year, working through his Team Cat Mojo campaign and Jackson Galaxy Foundation.
    A self-described “cat behaviorist by day and rock ‘n’ roller by night,” Galaxy has over 15 years’ experience working with animals, starting at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley in Boulder, Colorado, USA. There, he became fascinated with the animals in his care and studied as much as he could on cat behavior. After nine years, Galaxy co-founded Little Big Cat Inc., with Dr. Jean Hofve, a holistic veterinarian, to give mind-body consultations to cat guardians, focusing on the connection between physical and behavioral health. Galaxy continued his private practice after moving to Los Angeles in 2007, which led to My Cat From Hell.
    Galaxy has written two books, Cat Daddy: What the World’s Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Clean, and Catification, published in fall 2014. He works closely with animal shelters and rescue organizations, teaching his Cat Mojo lecture series to volunteers, staff and adopters, and helping with behavioral and environmental enrichment programs for their residents. He serves on the board of directors for Stray Cat Alliance and Fix Nation in Los Angeles and Tree House Humane Society in Chicago, is on the board of advisors for Neighborhood Cats in New York City and Rescue Me Magazine and is an ambassador for Best Friends Animal Society.
    Scheduled for April 27-29 in its new location of Kansas City, Missouri, USA, Petfood Forum 2015 will also feature 27 other learning sessions, a large exhibit hall and many networking opportunities. Early bird registration savings are now available through February 15. For more information, visit

Monday, December 1, 2014

Merrick releases infographic on organic petfood

    Merrick Pet Care has developed an infographic for its Castor & Pollux Organix brand highlighting organic food and how much it matters to pet parents.
    Among the topics discussed in the infographic: the value placed on organic food for pets compared to the rest of the family; what's important about organic to pet parents; and common misconceptions surrounding the USDA Organic logo. The infographic can be found on Merrick's Facebook page.

AFIA addresses FDA on Food Safety Modernization Act

    The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) addressed the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) during a Nov. 13, 2014 public meeting on the four re-proposed Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules. AFIA and the 575 members it represents submitted comments to FDA in March 2014 and are taking the additional time provided to prepare feedback on the supplemental proposed rules published Sept. 29, 2014.
    AFIA said it remains concerned with items addressed in its original comments that are not fully addressed in the supplemental, particularly the differentiation between human food and animal food as well as the looming high costs of the rule for its members. "There are a few proposed CGMP provisions that still appear geared toward human food, not animal food," said Paul Keppy, AFIA government affairs specialist. "This is frustrating because the spirit of the law clearly allows for treating animal food and human food regulations differently. On the other hand, there are places where animal food is left out of important rules."
    Keppy said the additions in the supplemental represent significant cost increases. He said FDA's own numbers in the original Preliminary Regulatory Impact Analysis (PRIA) concur, showing the cost of the rule to far exceed the benefit. "Feed is already 70% of the cost of raising an animal," said Keppy. "AFIA members want to make animal food safer, not more expensive. We continue to believe the costs can be reduced by a less prescriptive set of CGMPs and a strong approach to controlling significant hazards through CGMPs."
    AFIA will submit comments on the proposed supplemental rules, which are due by Dec. 15.