Monday, March 31, 2014

Pet living expert to speak at Petfood Workshop: Marketing to Today's Consumers

    Kristen Levine, pet living expert, author and president of Fetching Communications and PetPR.com, has been selected to speak at the 2014 Petfood Workshop: Marketing to Today's Consumers, on Wednesday, April 2, at the Renaissance Schaumburg in Schaumburg, Ill. During Levine's breakout session, "Putting the BOOM in your Bottom Line: Building loyalty and engagement with the almighty boomer consumer," petfood marketers will learn what's important to boomers and how to target the fastest-growing segment of pet parents.
    "Baby boomers are the largest generational segment the US, controlling $2.5 trillion in spending power," said Levine. "Not only do these affluent empty nesters have time and disposable income to spend on their pets, they are also health-conscious and value diet and nutrition, and these characteristics are shared with their pet's care as well. I'm looking forward to teaching petfood marketers how to engage with this growing consumer segment at this year's workshop."
    Immediately following Petfood Forum 2014, Petfood Workshop: Marketing to Today's Consumers will feature industry experts delivering information and insights on how to connect with today's ever more discerning pet owners. The two-day seminar will feature hands-on breakout sessions where attendees can learn about topics such as how pet owners shop, their perspectives on petfood, how to build trust and credibility with them, connecting with them through social media, balancing marketing with science and regulatory requirements, reaching emerging pet owner groups, and much more.
    "The baby boomer generation is starting to pick up the pace in terms of pet ownership, and are a fast-growing demographic group that petfood marketers need to start reaching out to in dynamic and unique ways," said Jessica Taylor, managing editor of Petfood Industry. "Our audience would like to find out what's important to these pet owners and the best ways to reach them, so we're excited to have Kristen lead this discussion at this year's Workshop."

Thermo Fisher Scientific offers product screening in new California facility

    A new Thermo Fisher Scientific facility in Sunnyvale, Calif., is available to assist in addressing food, beverage and pharmaceutical manufacturers' safety and quality concerns.
    Product Assurance Services and Solutions (PASS) from Thermo Fisher offers rapid response for companies requiring off-site packaged product evaluation to address possible foreign object contamination concerns, according to the company. Additionally, the PASS facility can inspect products for processing anomalies (such as clumps), as well as broken or missing components (empty pharmaceutical blisters, partially-filled candy trays, etc.). "We are here to help customers get accurate and reliable results so that they are able to make informed decisions affecting the safety of the public," said Darren Eaton, global manager, PASS, Thermo Fisher. "By locating this facility in close proximity to this high production area, we help reduce the turnaround time and expense associated with urgent product contamination inspection issues."
    The new Northern California facility is the company's third global PASS location. The other two facilities are located in Barrington, Ill. and Rugby, Warwickshire, England. In 2013, the PASS facilities collectively evaluated more than 8 million packages.

China pet product e-store gains US$25 million in funding

    Shanghai-based pet products e-store Boqii has just completed a US$25 million series B funding round, according to reports. The investors have yet to be named.
    In 2008, Boqii was established as a retailer of petfoods and pet-related products. It had its own website, but was best knows for its outlets in Taobao, Tmall, Jingdong and other well-known Chinese e-commerce sites. The company has since added a wiki, social forums, group buying deals and directories, as well as developed an in-house brand of products.
    Boqii has more than 3 million registered users. The newest funding will be used to ramp up marketing and branding, as well as moving into online-to-offline services.

Clear Conscience Pet retains counsel in trademark infringement case

    Natural pet nutrition company Clear Conscience Pet plans to defend its federal trademark rights to the SLIDERS brand. The company registered the trademark in 2010, but a competitor is now using the brand name for its own products.
    Clear Conscience has defended the trademark successfully in the past without litigation, but this time, the other party is resisting. They feel that the SLIDERS name is generic in describing small sandwiches and thus not worthy of trademark protection. But Clear Conscience says the SLIDERS brand isn't a product description, it's a trademarked brand name for a family of healthy pet treats and gravies that evokes a lifestyle.
    "Lest there be any doubt, SLIDERS is our federally registered trademark and brand name in the petfood and treats industry, it signifies a family of healthy pet treat products that are the very best ever made in our industry, and we will defend our intellectual property vigorously and tirelessly," said Anthony Bennie, founder and president of Clear Conscience.   

Friday, March 28, 2014

Texas-based natural petfood company aims to go national

    Austin, Texas-based premium petfood company Nulo has set its sights on becoming a national brand after growing to a regional presence in the last four years, according to reports. One of the US's largest independent petfood distributors will begin handling Nulo in April 2014, a distribution deal that could find the company's petfood on the shelves of 3,600 pet stores nationwide.
    Nulo is exiting the grocery stores currently carrying its products, and has stopped selling directly to customers online, instead partnering with pet specialty sites. With its expanded distribution, the company aims to attract more customers focused on the healthy, fresh premium petfood trends. 

Veterinary dermatologists discuss confusion between petfood, environmental allergies

    Environmental pet allergies and petfood allergies are often confused, and changing your pet's diet to a specialty food may not make a difference, according to veterinary dermatologists at VRCC Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Hospital in Englewood, Colo.
    "Food allergies occur in only 10%-30% of dogs and between 20%-30% of cats," said Dr. Christina Gentry, with VRCC's dermatology/allergy department. "Environmental allergies are much more common." As such, switching to a specialized diet (such as grain-free or raw) may not actually be addressing the issue at hand. VRCC has listed three myths regarding petfood diets they they say are prevalent among consumers:
    Veterinarians at VRCC's dermatology/allergy department recommend that your pet's diet should be assessed based on its overall nutrient profile of the ingredients, rather than the ingredients themselves. If you are concerned your pet may have environmental or food allergies, contact your veterinarian to have them properly assessed and treated.

WellPet launches superfood, protein-focused products at Global Pet Expo 2014

    WellPet, the makers of natural pet food brands Wellness, Old Mother Hubbard, Eagle Pack   and Holistic Select, has its focus on two new petfood trends for 2014: superfoods and unique protein pairings. From nutrient-packed superfood ingredients such as kale, pomegranates and sweet potatoes to high-protein recipes featuring multiple protein pairings like turkey & duck and tilapia & ahi tuna, WellPet provides gourmet, natural petfood offerings.
    Launching in spring 2014 at natural and pet specialty retailers nationwide are two firsts for the industry, according to the company: a superfood protein bar for dogs and a dual-layered wet cat food featuring pâté topped with meaty morsels  "Pet owners want to read petfood labels and see high-quality, natural ingredients that they're familiar with from their own diets," said Chanda Leary-Coutu, senior marketing manager for WellPet. "That means no fillers, meat by-products or hard-to-pronounce preservatives. As pet owners, we strive to develop healthy, protein-packed and nutrient-rich recipes, like Chicken & Turkey with Sweet Potatoes from our Wellness CORE Superfood Protein Bars line, that reflect flavor combos we know and pets will love."
    In its Wellness Dog line, WellPet introduced Wellness CORE Superfood protein Bars, Wellness Petite Entrées, Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diets and Wellness Complete Health Toy Breed. In its Wellness Cat line, the company now offers Wellness Kittles, Wellness Divine Duos and Wellness Complete Health Dry Cat Food. WellPet's Holistic Select line has added Grain-Free Holistic Select.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Pet Food Manufacturers' Association releases pet obesity report

    The UK's Pet Food Manufacturers' Association (PFMA) has released its latest pet obesity report, "Pet Obesity: Five Years On," which highlights the discrepancy between the numbers and pet owners' perceptions. According to the PFMA, three in four (77%) vets believe that pet obesity is on the rise. However, two in three (63%) pet owners feel there are more important issues relevant to their pets than obesity.
    Vets consider the root causes of pet weight gain to be owners not following feeding guides (72% re: cats, 60% re: small animals and 28% re: birds), treating with leftover food (78% re: dogs) and insufficient exercise, particularly for cats (46%), dogs (44%) and small animals (35%).
    "Overweight pets, like humans, can suffer from a myriad of health issues such as osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease and diabetes," said Zara Boland, BVSc BE MRCVS, founder of Vet Voice Ltd. "There is nothing 'cuddly' about an overweight pet. Obesity is a disease in itself. It causes discomfort and illness that can result in both emotional distress and financial pressure for owners, and it has also been proven to reduce actual life length. We must continue pushing the pet health message until overweight pets are no longer an increasing and widespread concern."
    New findings in the latest report, conducted five years after the initial report, show that although pet owners' awareness of pet obesity has improved, cause for concern remains-while vets feel up to 45% of all pets they see are overweight (45% of dogs, 40% of cats, 28% of small animals and 15% of caged birds), two in three (63%) pet owners believe their pet is the correct weight. The vast majority (93%) of pet owners say they would be concerned to discover their pet is overweight, yet only one in three (37%) know how to check this, indicating that existing tools and guidelines are simply not getting enough cut-through, according to the PFMA.
    Taking its latest pet owner and vet findings into account, PFMA says that controlling portion size and monthly weighing or measuring are priority for any owners wanting to prolong and improve their pet's life. "All the tools are in place for pet owners and pet care professionals to better pets' lives together-now is the time to use them," said Michael Bellingham, chief executive of PFMA. "We need to engage pet owners emotionally, helping them realize that feeding and exercising their pet to optimum level can result in an extra two years of active life. To help spread the word about ideal pet weight, PFMA will launch a #GetPetsFit campaign in May this year (2014)." 

Food testing lab group Silliker increases mycotoxin testing services

    Silliker, an international network of accredited food testing laboratories and a Merieux NutriSciences company, now offers expert testing for mycotoxins at its Illinois Analytical Laboratory. The Crete-based facility serves as the organization's Chemistry Testing Center of Excellence in North America.
    "We have a made a significant investment to bring the latest technologies and approved methods for the analysis of mycotoxins to our Crete-based operation," said Randall Fleener, director of the Silliker Illinois Analytical Laboratory. "Employing HPLC with fluorometric and UV detection, we offer expert testing for a wide range of food and feed ingredients. Our skilled scientists possess particular expertise with petfood products."
    The ISO 17025-accredited laboratory provides results-at limits of detection (LOD) below US Food and Drug Administration guidance-for the following mycotoxins:
    • Aflatoxins B1/B2, G1/G2 
    • Aflatoxins M1
    • Fumonisin B1, B2 
    • Ochratoxin A
    • Vomitoxin/Deoxynivalenol 
    • Zearalenone
    Silliker (#626) will be exhibiting at the 2014 Petfood Forum, March 31-April 2, 2014, in Schaumburg, Ill., USA. Experts will be on hand to discuss the laboratory's enhanced mycotoxin testing capabilities, as well as other technical and consulting services for the petfood industry.

Pet spending estimated at US$58.5 billion for 2014

    Overall spending in the pet industry for 2013 came in at an all-time high of more than US$55.7 billion, a 4.5% growth over spending in 2012. In addition, the pet industry is positioned positively once again as the American Pet Products Association (APPA)'s annual comprehensive spending and data report estimates overall spending for 2014 at US$58.51 billion, a 4.9% growth over 2013.
    Pet services showed the largest percentage of growth in 2013, rising 6.1% from 2012, putting spending in that category at US$4.41 billion. With grooming, training, boarding and other services on the rise, it's estimated for highest category growth again over the next year at $4.73 billion in spending, according to the report.
    Veterinary care demonstrated significant growth in 2013, with US$14.37 billion in spending, second only to food category spending. While the number of veterinary visits is down, spending on care is rising. Pet insurance is also expected to increase in 2014. Included in the veterinary care figures, pet insurance is estimated at US$650 million and projected to grow to over US$870 million by 2015.
    The food category is expected to reach an all-time high in 2014 with US$22.62 million in estimated spending, according to the APPA. Surpassing previous estimated growth in 2013, food sales proves yet again to be consistently increasing with a growth of 4.5%. This category remains the highest spending segment of the pet industry as petfood trends continue to follow human food and diet trends.
    Further demonstrating a demand for health and wellness products, supplies and over-the-counter medications experienced a significant leap in 2012, with a 7.4% growth over 2011. Expectations fell slightly short in 2013 with growth of 3.9%. Category spending, however, is still on the rise and expected to be once again the third-highest segment in the industry behind food and veterinary care.
    The only area expected to see a decline in sales is that of live animal purchases which is forecast to be down just under 2% in 2014.
    "We have seen a slight slow-down in growth rates over the past few years of all pet types except dog and cat," said Bob Vetere, president and CEO of the APPA. "That is contributing to the overall decline in live animal purchases as well as the threat of pet sales bans in some communities. That said there are enough other positive influences to keep industry sales strong."
    In addition to pet owners' increased emphasis on pet health, Vetere points to a recovering economy and the continuation of the humanization of pets as two leading forces behind increased growth in overall spending. "People are pampering their pets more than ever and manufacturers and businesses are offering new products, services and opportunities to meet their needs and wants from interactive and innovative toys to dog walking, doggy day-care and pet-friendly hotels, restaurants and airlines," said Vetere.
    Vetere said the positive impact of pet ownership on human health will also help grow pet ownership in years to come.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

J. Rettenmaier & Söhne to host dietary fiber in petfood seminar

    J. Rettenmaier & Sohne (JRS) will host a fiber seminar for the needs of petfood and pet treat manufacturers at its headquarters in Rosenberg, Germany, on May 16, 2014.
    The company will feature industry experts and petfood specialists sharing knowledge on the latest trials in pet nutrition and new EU labeling practice for petfoods. A free shuttle bus service will be available on May 16 from the Congress Hotel Mercure Nürnberg, Germany, at Interzoo to JRS headquarters and back.
    Registration is open until April 6.

Blue Buffalo chooses IPO bookrunners

    Premium petfood company Blue Buffalo has hired banks for an initial public offering that could come later in 2014, according to sources.
    The company has selected JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and Citigroup Inc. to lead the IPO. Blue Buffalo is looking to go public amid positive industry trends like rising pet ownership and an increase in spending among pet owners for their animals.

WellPet LLC offers wellness toy breed complete health line dog food

    WellPet LLC's Wellness Natural Pet Food offers a line of dry dog food designed for the tiniest of digestive systems: Wellness Toy Breed Complete Health.
    The Wellness Toy Breed line features natural ingredients and super nutrients developed for Pomeranians, Chihuahuas, French Bulldogs and the twenty-two other recognized toy breeds, according to the company. The new dry dog food also has a special crunchy texture that can combat dogs' plaque build-up, helping to maintain overall oral health. 
    The Wellness Toy Breed Complete Health line has three formulations: 
    1) Adult Health Deboned Chicken, Brown Rice & Peas Recipe, 
    2) Healthy Weight Deboned Chicken & Barley Recipe, and 
    3) Senior Health Deboned Chicken & Oatmeal Recipe. 
    The Complete Health Toy Breed Adult Health recipe is protein-rich to support energy needs, whereas the Complete Health Toy Breed Senior Health recipe supports heart health with controlled sodium levels. The Complete Health Toy Breed Healthy Weight recipe is reduced fat to help maintain a healthy weight and also contains L-carnitine to help support a healthy metabolism. All three recipes have omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to support healthy skin and a shiny coat.

Friskies, Grumpy Cat launch Seafood Sensations cat food

    Friskies, with the help of "official spokescat" Grumpy Cat (AKA Tardar Sauce), has launched the company's Seafood Sensations line with new shrimp flavor during an event at SXSW in Austin, Texas. 
    As part of the product launch, Friskies (a subsidiary of pet food-maker Purina) agreed to donate a minimum of 25,000 meals to Austin-area shelter cats. Fans were able to help increase the donation to 50,000 meals by using the #HolyShrimp hashtag on social media between March 7 and March 9. "We know cats love shrimp and we wanted to bring that to life in a fun way that could also benefit shelter cats," said Shawn Brain, Friskies brand manager. "Friskies enlisted our 'official spokescat' Grumpy Cat as the 'Worst Mate' of the S.S. Holy Shrimp Boat to help introduce Seafood Sensations with new shrimp flavor at a prime attraction during the well-known festival in Austin. We're thrilled that our efforts here will help feed local Austin shelter cats."

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Petfood Forum 2014 provides opportunities to give back to pet community

      Petfood Forum 2014 will offer multiple opportunities for convention-goers looking for ways to give back directly to the pet community. 
      Visits with pets from Tree House Humane Society will be available on Tuesday, April 1, from 9:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Schaumburg East Foyer outside the exhibit hall. Tree House Humane Society rescues and rehabilitates stray cats-often ill, injured or abused-for adoption. Steve Dale, the opening keynote for Petfood Forum 2014, serves on the board of directors. Tree House supports Chicago-area pets in many other ways, including a petfood pantry that is seeking new donation partners. Cash donations are also welcome. Please contact Ollie Davidson, director of programs, at Ollie@treehouseanimals.org. 
      On Tuesday, April 1, from 2:25 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., and Wednesday, April 2, from 9:25 a.m. to 10:15 a.m., Petfood Forum attendees can meet Joseph Worley, America's VetDogs' graduate, and his service dog Benjamin, in the Schaumburg East Foyer. Learn from Worley, who served in Iraq as a US Navy corpsman, how his service dog changed his life. Worley and Benjamin are visiting with Wells Jones, CEO of America's VetDogs and the Guide Dog Foundation, and Petfood Forum 2014's closing keynote; and Katherine Fritz. The Guide Dog Foundation and America's VetDogs provide guide and service dogs at no charge-and team the right dog with the right person-to ensure someone with visual or physical disabilities can live a life without boundaries.
      Both groups' visits are courtesy of Trouw Nutrition USA.

Mars Japan ranked among Japan's best workplaces

    For the second year running, Mars Japan has been ranked among Japan's best workplaces by the consultancy and research company Great Place to Work Institute.
    Rising nine places since the previous year, Mars Japan is now ranked at number 16. In the past year Mars has also been recognized by 19 Great Place to Work lists, including Argentina (ranked 6), Austria (ranked 4), Belgium (5), Brazil (24), Central America (5), Chile (8), Denmark (14), Finland (8), France (3), Greece (5), Ireland (1), Italy (3), Japan (25), Korea, Poland (7), Portugal (7), Spain (10), Switzerland (9) and the USA (95).

Petfood, feed industries seek extended comment period on CGMPs proposed rule

    The Pet Food Institute (PFI), the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and the National Renderers Association (NRA) on March 4 submitted an official request to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to extend the comment period for its proposed rule on Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals to give petfood, animal feed and feed ingredient companies more time to review and develop comments on this major proposed regulation.
    The request seeks an additional 90 days to prepare comments on the issues raised by the proposed rule. The groups wish to extend the comment period to June 30.
    "We have been working diligently to analyze the proposed rule and prepare meaningful comments that address all of the issues raised for all segments of the feed industry, but we need additional time to complete this massive undertaking," said the groups in their request. "At the same time, we are working to analyze and respond to other FDA proposed rules and initiatives such as the proposed rule on sanitary transportation of food and the draft approach to designation of high-risk foods."

Monday, March 24, 2014

Penford Corporation to acquire Gum Technology Corp.

    Penford Corp., which deals in ingredient systems for food and industrial applications, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Gum Technology, a privately held gum and hydrocolloids distribution, blending and services company. Gum Technology, based in Tucson, Ariz., serves primarily the food and beverage industries.
    "Gum Technology's product line and reputation for outstanding customer service will broaden Penford's portfolio of functional and specialty ingredient systems for existing customers and open new segments to the company," said Tom Malkoski, Penford CEO. "We see opportunities in food and industrial bio-products for high value, specialized products from the combination of our product lines and customer relationships."
    Gum Technology markets a range of gums and other hydrocolloids throughout North America and Asia. The company specializes in developing and producing customized stabilizers to meet customers' product formulation needs. Gum Technology's products are found in a wide variety of food products including beverages, sauces, bakery, frozen foods, jams and fruit fillings, spice blends, dairy applications and nutraceuticals. 
    "We are pleased to join Penford and anticipate exciting opportunities to combine our companies' expertise in product lines and broad geographic reach," said Allen Freed, CEO of Gum Technology. "With Penford's resources and product knowledge, we can immediately begin advancing Gum Tech's GumPlete™ line of gum-starch blends."
    The acquisition is expected to close in late March 2014, subject to certain conditions. It is expected to be accretive within the first year with significant growth occurring in subsequent years.

Hall of Fame baseball manager to announce 'Bark at the Park' partnership at Global Pet Expo

    Tony La Russa, the newly elected Hall of famer and co-founder of Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), will be appearing at Global Pet Expo on March 12, 2014, at 11 a.m., at the Central Garden & Pet Booth (#1901) to announce a new partnership with two of Central's brands, AvoDerm Natural Pet Foods and Nylabone, that will help bring thousands of families and their dogs to Major League baseball games around the country while also raising awareness for pet adoption, health and welfare.
    American Pet Products Association (APPA) President & CEO Bob Vetere will also be in attendance at the press conference. The Association's Pets Add Life (PAL) campaign will be included as part of the program's overall mission to celebrate the joys of responsible pet ownership and to inspire people to adopt a pet and/or get a PAL for their pet.

Friday, March 21, 2014

FDA sets deadlines for food safety regulation implementation

    The regulations required by the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act will be fully in place by spring 2016, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The regulations for preventative control for animal and human food at factories and warehouses must be finalized by August 2015.
    The process of finalizing the regulations has been troubled by delays, which prompted the Center for Food Safety (CFA) to file a lawsuit against the FDA over the missed statutory deadlines. A consent agreement filed on February 20 in federal district court in Oakland, Calif., cements a staggered set of deadlines for the rules. "This is a major victory for the health and safety of the American people," said George Kimbrell, the Center's lead attorney. "The first major update to our food safety laws since 1938 must now be implemented in a close-ended, timely fashion. That means safer food for American families."
    An earlier federal ruling sided with the CFA, directing the agency to complete all of the rules by 2015. The agency appealed, and Michael Taylor, the FDA's deputy commissioner for foods, told The Hill late last year that the court-ordered deadlines would be "enormously challenging." As part of the settlement agreement, the FDA has dropped its appeal in exchange for a new set of deadlines, according to the CFS.

Merrick Pet Care unveils all-natural treats, expanded grain-free recipes at Global Pet Expo

    Merrick Pet Care Inc. will introduce a lineup of more than 60 new all-natural food and treat recipes for dogs at the 2014 Global Pet Expo being held March 12-14, at the Orange Country Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. The products will include full lines of all-natural treats, humanized canned dog food recipes and expanded grain-free recipes, according to the company.
    "Many pet parents believe their dog is the best dog ever, and to honor that relationship they seek the very best for their dog, including food choices that make every mealtime special with quality, nutrition and taste," said Mark Sapir, vice president of marketing for Merrick Pet Care. "This and other insights drove us in our development of our new items that we believe surpass many of the options currently available in the marketplace."
    Natural treats are experiencing significant market growth, and to meet those expanding needs Merrick Pet Care is introducing a series of all-natural treats from both the Merrick and Castor & Pollux brands. From the Merrick brand, three new grain-free, gluten-free treat lines include:
    • Merrick Kitchen Bites: Oven-baked biscuits based on Merrick's classic can recipes. Real deboned meat is the number one ingredient, and biscuits also include fresh fruits and vegetables. Available in six flavors.
    • Merrick Power Bites: Soft and chewy all-natural treats high in protein; several flavors contain deboned meat as the number one ingredient and have no sorbic acid. Star-shaped treats serve well for training or rewards. Available in six flavors.
    • Merrick Dental Chews: All-natural dental chews come in shapes and textures to combat plaque and tartar and freshen breath. Treats contain no sorbic acid or sodium copper chlorophylin. Available in five varieties, including Flossies, Texas Toothpicks and three sizes of bones: Mini Brush Bones, L'il Brush Bones and Big Brush Bones.
    From Castor & Pollux come two new treat lines, including:
    • ORGANIX Jerky Chip Cookies: All-natural oven-baked cookie treats with organic whole grains and protein-rich jerky chips from chicken, salmon, beef or lamb. The cookies also contain organic fruits and vegetables such as organic peas, organic apples and organic carrots, and contain no corn, soy or wheat. Four flavors available including Oatmeal & Salmon, Oatmeal & Beef and Oatmeal & Lamb, as well as Oatmeal & Chicken which is made with 95% organic ingredients (including organic chicken) and can bear the USDA Organic logo on the front of the bag.
    • Good Buddy All American Nibs: Soft and chewy all-natural treats for dogs; ideal for training and rewards. Treats are grain-free, gluten-free, without sorbic acid and many flavors have real deboned meat as the number one ingredient. Treats also contain fresh fruits and vegetables. Available in six flavors.
    Merrick Pet Care is also introducing four new canned recipes for dogs. "We're recognized for our high-quality, innovative and humanized canned dog food recipes, like Wingaling, Brauts N Tots and Grammy's Pot Pie," said Sapir. "We're introducing new Merrick Chunky Cans as the next evolution of that legacy; four new recipes for dogs with big chunks of carved meat, hand-stuffed real vegetables and hearty gravy for a high level of visual appeal and aroma for pet parents, and a meaty and delicious taste for dogs."
    The four grain-free Chunky Can flavors include:
    • Pappy's Pot Roast Dinner: Made with big chunks of beef and hand-stuffed red jacket new potatoes and carrots in gravy.
    • Carver's Delight Dinner: Made with big chunks of turkey and hand-stuffed Yukon gold potatoes and carrots in gravy.
    • Big Texas Steak Tips Dinner: Made with big chunks of beef in gravy.
    • Colossal Chicken Dinner: Made with big chunks of chicken and hand-stuffed peas and carrots in gravy.
    The company's grain-free line, which has been expanding since 2012, is growing further in 2014. "Grain-free now accounts for 40% of all natural dog food sold in pet specialty stores, which reflects an increased demand among pet parents seeking the benefits of a grain-free diet for their pet, from allergy management to easier digestibility to healthier skin and coat," said Sapir. "We've grown our grain-free options to provide even more protein choices and life stage options."
    New grain-free options throughout the company portfolio include:
    • Four Merrick grain-free dry recipes for dogs: Grain-Free Real Salmon + Sweet Potato (grain-free fish recipe with 34% protein); Grain-Free Lamb + Sweet Potato (high-protein, poultry-free, grain-free lamb recipe with 30% protein); Grain-Free Puppy Recipe; and Grain-Free Healthy Weight Recipe (a nutritious and palatable recipe with a smart protein balance of lean meat plus animal and plant protein).
    • Two Whole Earth Farms grain-free dry recipes for dogs: The relaunched Whole Earth Farms offers Grain-Free Recipe Beef + Lamb (poultry-free) and Grain-Free Recipe Chicken + Turkey. All seven Whole Earth Farms canned recipes are grain-free, including four loaf recipes and three new Hearty Stew Recipes.
    "The mission here is to become the leader in this natural/organic premium petfood space," said CEO Greg Shearson. "We as a company believe that we're very well positioned to make that stated objective possible, and we're committed to going after it every day, in all that we do."

Blue Buffalo to discontinue Blue Longevity line

    Blue Buffalo will discontinue its dog and cat food Blue Longevity product lines because it could not attract enough consumers to make it a viable brand, the company said.
    The company suggests that pet owners who use Blue Longevity try one of its healthy weight products for dogs and cats as an alternative. Blue Buffalo these products all contain only the finest natural ingredients, with real chicken, turkey or beef as the first ingredient and are formulated to help dogs and cats achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Campaign aims to create healthier lifestyle for pets in Philippines

    Pet Food Institute (PFI) and the Veterinary Practitioners Association of the Philippines (VPAP) have launched the Well-Fed, Well-Nurtured campaign to create a healthier lifestyle for Filipino pets.
    In the Philippines, there was one dog for every eight people in 2012, but the average monthly spending on dog food per dog was only 24 cents, compared with $13.89 in the U.S.
    The Well-Fed, Well-Nurtured campaign seeks to provide educational initiatives and materials on responsible pet ownership. The campaign says PFI and VPAP "remain committed to promoting and encouraging Filipino pet owners to provide proper nourishment and care to make their pets well-fed and well-nourished cats and dogs."
    The campaign seeks to educate pet owners on essential nutrition dogs need. It also stresses the importance of monitoring pets' weight and to avoid overfeeding and severe dieting. It addresses foods that can be poisonous to pets, such as chocolate, onions, grapes, raisins and nuts. The importance of exercise for pets is also highlighted by the campaign, as well as the importance of a supply of fresh, clean water.

Alltech celebrates presence in China, looks to future

    Alltech recently held its China 20 Year Celebratory Summit in Beijing to celebrate the global animal nutrition company's 20 years of successful presence in the Far East and to explore where the Chinese feed and food industries are heading.
    "China must be able to feed itself," said Alltech Founder and President Dr. Pearse Lyons, while addressing more than 700 attendees at the summit.
    China is experiencing a growing demand for dairy products and its ever conscious consumers are increasingly concerned about food safety. According to Alltech North China General Manager, Gordon Gao, who addressed the dairy session of the Alltech China 20 Year Celebratory Summit, China urgently needs to increase milk production efficiency, maintain profitability and focus on food safety.
    "Chinese dairy farmers need to find sustainable ways to maintain profitability by lowering costs and increasing the level of production and Alltech can provide solutions for these issues that Chinese dairy farmers face," Gao said.
    Adaptation
    Chinese companies have the capability to quickly adapt technologies and learn from other markets. In 2013, China contributed 30 percent of the total 267 million tons of global swine feed produced. China is set to remain the largest pork meat producer and consumer in the world and the Chinese perspective on pig production has global implications.
    Lyons spoke about the very recent Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) cases in the U.S. and Canada. After another recent outbreak of the virus, many industry members are now reassessing their feed ingredient sources and tightening the reins on the traceability of their overall management and nutrition programs.
    "While it is unrealistic to believe that a simple nutritional change will result in the elimination of the virus from a herd of pigs," Lyons said. "Alltech's distinct set of technologies can help in maintaining healthy pig populations, which is the first step in dealing with a herd crisis."
    Alternative raw material sources
    It will also soon be critical that Chinese companies use alternative raw material sources. Lyons predicts that systems such as solid state fermentation (SSF) will soon allow the production of customized enzyme cocktails for improving digestion, animal performance and health. Algae has already began to play an increasing role in animal production as a source of sustainable vegetable protein or oils (DHA).
    As part of Alltech's China Now strategy Dr. Mark Lyons, vice president corporate affairs commented that "Alltech has committed to investing $2.5 million by 2016 in research alliance programs with leading Chinese universities and our partnership with Ocean University of China in Qingdao will contribute to a sustainable future for the Chinese aquaculture industry."

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Petfood Forum offers app for 2014 conference

    Petfood Forum is launching an app for its 2014 conference and Petfood Workshop: Marketing to Today's Consumers. The app, produced by A2Z Inc. under its ChirpE mobile platform, will be available mid-March.
    The app will allow Petfood Forum and Workshop participants to customize their conference experience and keep up with any changes or announcements. Features include:
    • A full schedule for each conference (Petfood Forum and Petfood Workshop), plus schedules by track within each conference;
    • A list of speakers, including photos and bios;
    • A list of exhibitors, searchable by name and product category, with a "Map It" function that takes users directly to the exhibit hall floor map;
    • The ability to "favorite" sessions and speakers, adding them to a My Planner feature for each user, along with the ability to check off each session attended or exhibitor visited;
    • A notes function that allows users to take personal notes and email them to colleagues (or to themselves to access after the conference);
    • A "buzz" feature alerting users to special sessions or exhibits, plus any changes in schedule or locations;
    • Access to information on conference hotels, transportation and area restaurants and attractions;
    • Access to Petfood Industry's social media, including direct access to a Petfood Forum Twitter hashtag; and
    • The ability to log in to the A2Z system to access further Petfood Forum information.
    To download the app, search for Petfood Forum 2014 in iTunes (for Apple devices) or Google Play (for Android devices) after March 15.

Freshpet expands to meet demand for natural petfood

    Freshpet is projecting an increase in sales, after it spent $25 million to relocate its production and distribution facility to Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, USA, according to a report. The company says its new location will enable it to get fresh products to a huge population base quickly.
    Freshpet says its products are made with minimally processed and "gently cooked" meat, fruits, vegetables and brown rice, and without preservatives.
    "Obviously the Lehigh Valley is a great location for a distribution center," said company CEO Richard Thompson. "It's a one-day drive from a third of the population in the U.S."
    Thompson said the company purchased its new factory in 2012 for $2.94 million, and expanded it from 60,000 square feet to 80,000.
    "We rehabbed the building to our own specs and immediately installed our Freshpet equipment for starting plant operations," Thompson said.
    He said two additional expansion phases will add 20,000 square feet at a cost of about $5 million by July 2014. He also said the natural petfood company's business has grown 300 percent in the past three years and that 2014 sales are expected to approach $100 million.
    "Natural petfood has really taken off," he said.

Thiele Technologies acquires Symach business

    Thiele Technologies, Inc., a leading manufacturer of high-speed integrated packaging equipment solutions based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, has acquired Symach palletizers business based in Terneuzen, The Netherlands. This is Thiele Technologies' seventh acquisition in nine years, creating one of the largest providers of comprehensive end-of-line packaging equipment solutions for a broad range of global markets.
    The acquisition of Symach affects the flexible and rigid business groups of Thiele Technologies, a division of Barry-Wehmiller Companies, Inc. Thiele's flexible division handles bagged products, ranging from flour mixes to soil to petfood. The addition of Symach's line will strengthen Thiele's capabilities as a supplier of total bag handling solutions for the industrial markets. Combining Thiele's weighing, bag-filling and bag-closing solutions with Symach's palletizing and load-securing technology further expands its capabilities to serve the global markets.
    Thiele's rigid division handles products packaged in cases and cartons, including bliss and tray equipment, often used in the produce industry. Symach also plays a dominant role in the produce bag/case palletizing market segment, handling challenging products including potatoes, onions and more. With a dedicated manufacturing location in Reedley, California, USA, Thiele has a strong presence in the corrugate tray and bliss forming/erecting machines for the agricultural produce industry.
    "This will be an exciting new chapter in our history. We look forward to joining the teams of Thiele and Barry-Wehmiller, continuing to offer the fantastic service and top-notch equipment on which we've built our reputation and business," said Sacha Bakker, sales and market development director for Symach.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Innova introduces Nature's Table natural, grain-free petfood

    Inspired by the farm-to-table movement, Innova has announced the launch of Nature's Table, a new line of premium grain-free, natural recipes.
    Innova Nature's Table recipes each start with high-quality proteins like farm-raised chicken, cold water salmon or ranch-raised bison, according to the company, and include fresh fruits and vegetables like apples and carrots. "We know that our consumers care about high-quality, farm-grown ingredients that benefit their pets' natural lifestyle," said Dan Jackson, marketing director at Innova. "In fact, Innova was the first brand to create a grain-free product and Nature's Table recipes continue to follow this movement. By eliminating gluten, grains and white potato and using healthy carbohydrates like lentils and peas, similar to the way so many of us eat, we are proud to continue to provide pet parents with the ability to feed their pets natural products."
    The recipes contain no chicken by-product meal, fillers, wheat, corn, soy, artificial preservatives, artificial colors or artificial flavors. Dog owners can choose from five dry recipes and two treats recipes:
    • Grain Free Farm-Raised Chicken & Savory Turkey Recipe Adult Dog Food
    • Grain Free Cold Water Salmon & Wild Herring Recipe Adult Dog Food
    • Grain Free Ranch-Raised Beef & Red Lentils Recipe Adult Dog Food
    • Grain Free Adult Dog Food with Ranch-Raised Bison & Green Lentils
    • Grain Free Adult Dog Food with Pasture-Raised Venison & Split Peas
    • Grain Free Farm-Raised Chicken Recipe Dog Treats
    • Grain Free Ranch-Raised Beef & Garden Peas Recipe Dog Treats
    Cat owners can choose from two dry recipes and one treat recipe:
    •  Grain Free Farm-Raised Chicken & Tender Turkey Recipe Adult Cat Food
    • Grain Free Cold Water Salmon & Peas Recipe Adult Cat Food
    • Grain Free Cold Water Salmon & Savory Chicken Recipe Cat Treats

New US FDA program aims to standardize inspections for petfood, animal feed

    A new federal program aims to standardize inspection procedures for petfood and farm animal feed produced in the US, making them safer, according to the US Food and Drug Administration.
    The Animal Feed Regulatory Program Standards comprise a series of voluntary standards for inspections by state and other regulatory programs that oversee the production of petfood and feed for farm animals such as cattle, chickens and pigs. Currently, routine inspection and enforcement practices can differ among the various state agencies responsible for conducting inspections of the companies that make these products, and problems can often fall through the gaps, say critics. The new standards aim to help unify this process, with guidelines that range from on-site inspection protocols at feed plants to how to respond to feed-related illnesses or deaths.
    The guidelines are comprised of 11 individual standards:
    • Regulatory foundation
    • Training
    • Inspection program
    • Auditing
    • Feed-related illness or death and emergency response
    • Enforcement program
    • Outreach activities
    • Budget and planning
    • Laboratory services
    • Sampling program
    • Assessment and improvement of standard implementation
    While the program is not mandatory, "the FDA is encouraging state programs to implement the feed standards because this will build uniformity and consistency among state feed regulatory programs," said the agency. The new program follows the 2011 federal Food Safety Modernization Act, which shifted the focus of federal regulators away from responding to food contamination to preventing it.

Food and Drug Administration offers video on safe petfood handling

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published a video on the safe handling of petfood and treats, called "Pet Food and Treats in Your Home."
    In the YouTube video, Dr. April Hodges, a nutritional scientist at the FDA, explains the most common dangers of various contaminants, such as Salmonella, that may be found in petfood. The video also goes over how to avoid such contaminants:
    • Avoid damaged packaging, such as dented cans or torn bags
    • Keep petfood and treats in an easily cleaned space to reduce the possibility of contamination
    • Immediately clean surfaces that might have come into contact with petfood
    • Wash hands and dishes that have come into contact with petfood
    • Use utensils strictly for petfood to avoid cross-contamination
    • Properly store any unused portion of semi-wet/wet petfood in the refrigerator
    • Keep dry petfood in a cool, dry place and seal properly to avoid spoilage
    • Keep original packaging of petfood in case information is needed for suspected illnesses
    Hodges also details the steps to take if a consumer suspects a pet has become ill from petfood, including how to get proper care and who to notify.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Royal Canin to exhibit at Interzoo

    Royal Canin says it intends to take part in Interzoo 2014, despite a press release issued in 2013 that said it would not appear as an exhibitor at the pet supplies fair.
    Royal Canin will be a co-exhibitor with BTG Beteiligungs GmbH.
    In discussions with BTG the opportunity arose for the company to be represented on a comparatively small show area. "We viewed this offer as an opportunity to demonstrate our close cooperation with BTG," says sales and marketing manager Steven Sagrodnik. Interzoo will also provide a platform for unveiling a completely new product line.

Aquafeed Horizons Asia, FIAAP Conference registrations filling fast

    Registrations are filling quickly for the 7th Aquafeed Horizons Asia and the 5th FIAAP Conference, scheduled for April 8-9, 2014, during the feed industry trade show FIAAP/VICTAM/GRAPAS Asia 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand.
    Previous conferences have attracted high-level feed industry professionals from throughout Asia Pacific and beyond. The 2014 meetings already have seen registrations from the region as well as Europe, the U.S. and Australia. With special rates for students, Thai delegates and groups and - for the first time - simultaneous interpretation into Thai for both conferences, the organizers expect the meetings to fill up fast.
    "People should not delay in securing their places," organizer Suzi Dominy said.
    The Aquafeed Horizons Asia Conference presents advances in formulation and processing technology, while the FIAAP Conference focuses on feed additives and ingredients. Both meetings feature presentations by international teams of industry experts.

Friday, March 14, 2014

South Dakota State University to study Salmonella testing in raw petfood

    Through a five-year US Food and Drug Administration grant for nearly $500,000, South Dakota State University Senior Microbiologist Seema Das aims to determine whether a test that detects Salmonella in human food can do the same in raw petfood.
    The first year the test will be validated, and then either adjustments or expansion of the testing will be done in subsequent years. The work will involve multi-lab validation with collaborators at Iowa State, Texas A & M, the University of Minnesota and the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. "This is not only a pet health issue, it is a human health issue because everything is interlinked," said Das. "If the petfood is contaminated with Salmonella, it goes from the petfood to you."  
    After reviewing recalls, Das and her research team suspect that mice or other rodents may be possible sources of contamination. Rodents and bugs can be problematic in factories where food is produced, said Das, and Salmonella is a common pathogen in mice. The SDSU team, consisting of veterinarian Russ Daly, bacteriologist Laura Ruesch, microbiologists Marciel Aguiar and Cindy Watt and two undergraduate students, began working on the project in September 2013.

World Nutrition Forum 2014 to focus on sustainability

    World Nutrition Forum 2014, being held in Munich in October, will focus on the concept of sustainability through the show's theme, "sustain:ability."
    Jørgen Randers of the Norwegian Business School and co-author of "The Limits to Growth," will present a view of the world to come in the next 40 years. Keynote speakers for the opening day (October 16) also include Marty D. Matlock of the University of Arkansas's Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, who will present key trends in the future of animal nutrition, and Didier Jans, secretary general of FEFANA, who will speak on the topic of worldwide regulation and harmonization.
    Breakout sessions will be organized for the four target species-poultry, swine, ruminants and aquaculture. On the second day, October 17, a top-class mycotoxin expert panel will address key research findings and the application of new technologies that will mark the industry in the upcoming years.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Positive Identification of Pets offers smartphone app for lost pets

    Founder and CEO of Positive Identification of Pets (PiP) Philip Rooyakkers has developed a smartphone app that helps pet owners act quickly when their dog or cat goes missing. Launched on iTunes, the app uses advanced facial recognition technology to help identify lost pets and reunite them with their families, according to Rooyakkers.
    Cloud-based technology stores pet information, including breed, photos, age, size, gender and any other possible unique traits that the pet may have. If a pet goes missing, the app will activate an "Amber Alert" to veterinarians, animal control and rescue agencies, PiP subscribers, and social media users within the owner's local area. It will also begin monitoring social media sites for any postings of found pets. When a pet is found, the system analyzes the photos for a match.  
    Rooyakkers is also the co-founder of The Urban Puppy Shop, a doggy daycare and grooming service in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Founder of Bliss Industries dies

    William Lynn "Bill" Bliss, 79, founder of Bliss Industries Inc., died February 13, 2014, at Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA.
    Bliss founded Bliss Industries in 1979 with his sons after he designed his own hammermill, which he called the Eliminator.
    Bliss was a longtime member of the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) and was very active in the group's Equipment Manufacturers Conference (EMC).
    Bliss, was born in Ponca City, Oklahoma, USA, and grew up on a farm southwest of Newkirk, Oklahoma, USA. He raised and showed calves, lambs and pigs as a member of 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA). He later worked for a construction company and formed Bliss Construction Company, building feed mills in several states. Many of these mills are still in operation. Bliss also was a sales representative for several companies, selling feed mill equipment.
    The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, contributions be made in Bliss' name to the Newkirk Education Foundation through Eastman National Bank, Box 468, Newkirk, Okla., U.S., 74647-0468.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Food & Water Watch delivers petition on China pet treats

    Food & Water Watch has delivered a petition on behalf of "animal parents" to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) against pet treats and food made in China. It wants the agency to implement Section 211 of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that would inform consumers about the dangers of these treats. Under that rule, grocery stores will have to post notices in conspicuous places telling consumers about contaminated food products, including petfood.
    Terry Safranek, a founding member of Animal Parents Against Pet Treats & Food Made in China (APAPTFMIC), said in a statement, "I lost my beloved dog Sampson in January 2012 to poisonous pet jerky treats made in China
    Since 2007, FDA has reported that 600 dogs have died and over 4,600 have gotten sick and the common denominator is that all of these pets consumed imported jerky treats from China. While I appreciate the effort that the agency has made to look at this problem, China is still being permitted to export these products to the U.S. and we are no closer to finding out what is killing our pets. FDA should ban these products from coming into our country until we figure out what is going on. Short of that, FDA should implement this section of FSMA that would inform consumers of the dangers of these products."

Special sections at Global Pet Expo 2014 sell out

    The four special sections included at the 2014 Global Pet Expo (Natural Pet, The Boutique, Everything Aquatic and What's New!) have officially sold out, according to Andrew Darmohraj, executive vice president and COO of the American Pet Products Association. The show, celebrating its 10th anniversary, will take place March 12-14, 2014, in Orlando, Fla.
    "We're thrilled to see the specialty areas sell out yet again, as they've become such an exciting and important part of the Show floor," said Darmohraj. "Having sold out in all of our special sections truly proves how much the pet industry continues to grow, and what a vast amount of new products continue to hit the market year after year."
    The Natural Pet section highlights the latest in healthy, organic and environmentally friendly products. This section provides media and retailers with an opportunity to learn about green-conscious trends in the pet industry. It's the largest of all the specialty areas with nearly 200 booths.
    The Boutique section covers the trendiest pet products on the market. Fashion, jewelry and pet-spa products for the most fashion-forward pets and owners are displayed. The latest in pampered pet trends like couture clothing and luxury pet beds and carriers will be revealed at The Boutique during the show.
    The Everything Aquatic section provides underwater species enthusiasts with all of the up-and-coming trends and aquatic suppliers in one place to showcase the newest water pet trends in 2014.
    Reserved for first-time exhibitors only, the What's New! section is a great place for buyers and media to visit with 150 new companies in one convenient area on the massive show floor.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Merrick Pet Care focuses on grain-free petfood in 2014

    Merrick Pet Care Inc. has its eye on the grain-free petfood market in 2014, and is planning to launch more than 60 innovations at the upcoming Global Pet Expo in order to expand its hold on the growing industry segment.
    The company has seen an 83% uptick in growth since launching its Real Whole Food Revolution initiative. The plan focuses on high-quality petfood formulas that produce the best possible product, according to the company. "That's what the Revolution was about: How do we reinvent all of our formulas, reinvent all our products, to make the very best product we can make, put it in the marketplace and win with superiority," said Greg Shearson, who took over as Merrick's CEO in 2011. "And that has had a tremendous first two-year impact on our company."
    More specifically, Merrick has seen 212% growth in the company's grain-free category. "We've always had a very strong grain-free business, but now 40% of the category is being bought in grain-free," said Shearson. "Our brand is growing at seven times the rest of the category in the grain-free segment, so we've got a lot of momentum to drive in this area." It follows, then, that the company wants to further grow its presence in the segment. At the expo, Merrick plans to release new products in both the wet and dry petfood categories under the Merrick and Castor & Pollux brands, and will also release three new lines in the treats category.
    New Products
    Merrick's wet food category will gain grain-free chunky formulas and grain-free seasonal formulas under the Merrick brand, and Organix and Natural Ultramix formulas under the Castor & Pollux brand's natural dog and cat food line. The dry food category will be expanded with new Merrick-brand grain-free dry dog food recipes focusing on salmon and lamb, as well as puppy and healthy weight formulas. New treats will include all-natural, grain-free and gluten-free biscuit, chewy training treats and dental chews formulas under the Merrick brand, as well as new treats under Castor & Pollux's Organix and Good Buddy lines.
    "The mission here is to become the leader in this natural/organic premium petfood space," said Shearson. "We as a company believe that we're very well positioned to make that stated objective possible, and we're committed to going after it every day, in all that we do."
    Whole Earth Farms
    Merrick re-launched its value brand Whole Earth Farms in January 2014 to take further advantage of that premium space. The brand aims to serve as a gateway to help convert more pet parent households from mass petfood brands to the natural category. "We've created an entry-point brand that we think will really help retailers with offering a trade-up option to mainstream users," said Shearson.
    According to Merrick, Whole Earth Farms is a line of naturally nutritious dog food that offers an affordable choice for pet parents interested in exploring natural petfood. The brand features high-quality proteins in nutritionally complete, grain-free diets.
    "One of the fundamental truths that drives us as a company is that pet parents really take the responsibility of the relationship and the nutritional decision-making [for their pets] to heart," said Shearson. "We all care passionately about our pets. The people who are in this premium petfood specialty space don't enter into these choices lightly. They really feel passionate about doing the absolute best. And it's helping them make better decisions, and helping them to better provide for the pets they love so much, that really drives the choices we're making in how we're running the company."
    Global Pet Expo 2014 will take place March 12-14, 2014, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.

Meow Mix invites cat lovers to vote for next great invention

    Meow Mix cat food is looking to create a project that will solidify that special bond between cats and their owners. With the launch of Meow Mix Catstarter, an interactive site that brings to life an idea cats will love, cat fans can select an invention they would like to see created by the Meow Mix brand team.
    Through April 11, 2014, there will be three projects to choose from at www.meowmix.com/catstarter. The project that receives the most votes at the end of the voting period will be produced and distributed to randomly selected fans who have entered for a chance to win. 
    "It's no secret that mealtime is the perfect opportunity for cats and their pet parents to bond, which is why Meow Mix wants to help foster and enrich the mealtime experience with Meow Mix Catstarter," said Kimberly Rom, senior brand manager, Meow Mix cat food. "For the first time, pet parents are in the driver's seat to select the next product that will make mealtime more memorable or playtime more playful."
    With insight into the dynamic bond between cats and pet parents, the Meow Mix brand team saw an opportunity to build a device that will change the way cats eat, play or live for the better. With three inventive projects from which to choose, pet parents will be able to back Twister Dish, a unique food bowl designed so cats can get to the very last bite; #MealMachine, a technologically advanced mealtime tool that feeds their hungry cat with a single tweet; or Hot Keys, a miniature keyboard bed that helps you bond with your furry best friend as it attaches to the computer and warms as the cat parent types away.

Interzoo 2014 introduces organic petfood showcase

    Organic products for pets will attract special attention at the 2014 Interzoo, according to show organizers, with the organic petfood showcase.
    Manufacturers of certified organic petfood can present their products for the first time at a special show in hall 3A, including an accurate description of each product and a reference to the exhibitor's stand (maximum two products per registration). The showcase exhibitors will also be presented in the exhibition catalogue and Exhibition Guide, and their registered products will be published complete with product description, photo and stand information on the Interzoo website.
    Interzoo will be held May 29-June 1, 2014, in Nürnberg, Germany.

Europe pet retailers look to growth in 2014

    Pets at Home Group has announced its intention to go public and Fressnapf Group is looking to expand as the European pet retailers turn to growth in 2014.
    Pets at Home
    The initial public offering of Pets at Home is expected to value the pet store and veterinary surgery chain at £1.5 billion (US$2.51 billion). The company was bought in 2010 by US private equity group KKR, and aims to reduce its debts and aid expansion plans with the move.
    "This is a very exciting time for Pets at Home as we look to drive our expansion program in the UK to over 500 stores, more than 700 veterinary practices and in excess of 300 groom rooms in the medium term," said Pets at Home CEO Nick Wood. The company's like-for-like revenues grew by 2.4% and underlying earnings grew 11.1% to £87 million (US$145.3 million) in the 40-week period to Jan. 2, 2014. This number is expected to reach £110 million (US$183.7 million) by the end of the year in March.
    Fressnapf Group
    Fressnapf Group ended 2013 with a 6.7% increase in turnover, according to the company. Its gross turnover was €1.6 billion (US$2.2 billion) and it beat the €1 billion (€1.012 billion; US$1.4 billion) mark in Germany for the first time. The increase in gross turnover via the online channel was up 76% compared to 2012, at €47.8 million (US$64.9 million).
    The Fressnapf Group increased by 3.4% in existing stores compared with 2012 numbers, according to the company, and international stores in particular saw positive growth. "We are pleased that our stores in Denmark, France and Italy showed particularly outstanding growth in 2013," said Torsten Töller, founder and proprietor of Fressnapf | Maxi Zoo. "Poland is another success story. We opened in Poland a little over a year ago, and since then the three Maxi Zoo branches have done so well that we plan a total of six new stores for 2014. We endeavor to achieve profitable growth in all Fressnapf Group countries and to establish and/or expand our market leadership." 
    The Fressnapf Group plans for a total of about sixty new stores in 2014, approximately 20 of which will open in Germany.

Monday, March 10, 2014

AFIA supports AMS/FDA animal feed export certification program

    The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) has said that it is pleased with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s new agreement that designates USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) as the authority to certify animal feed and petfood products for export to foreign countries. 
    "The agreement is a result of AFIA's efforts to inform USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service about several issues that industry has had exporting to various markets, such as Brazil's requirement for Good Manufacturing Practice certifications and products under the implementation of China's AQSIQ Decree 118," said Gina Tumbarello, AFIA manager of international trade. "The need to find a feed export certification solution for the increasingly popular requirements being put out by several countries ultimately led to these government agencies coming together to develop an agreement that would allow AMS to serve as the competent authority for feeds and register, audit and certify feed facilities as needed based on foreign requirements."
    AMS was selected to lead the program due to its experience in working with stakeholders to develop export certification programs that meet the specific requirements of foreign countries. The agreement was modeled after a previous USDA/FDA agreement on processed egg programs. "This agreement is a big step toward helping U.S. feed exporters take advantage of the growing global demand for these products," said AMS Administrator Anne Alonzo.
    The agency now has the ability to certify a wide range of animal feed products, including petfood and treats, dried distillers' grains with solubles, mixed-ingredient feeds and feed additives.
    The program will not be implemented across the board for all feed and feed ingredient products to all markets. Instead, it will be addressed on a country-by-country basis. AFIA will help identify markets where the feed, feed ingredient and petfood industries are currently experiencing export difficulties related to certifications on foreign requirements. AMS will then work with the foreign government to determine if there is an opportunity for AMS to fulfill the requirements. The hope is for AMS to develop a program and certificate that could be used across several export market requirements, rather than creating a separate certificate for each market.