Wednesday, April 30, 2014

APPA unveils national pet market opportunity study at Global Pet Expo

    The American Pet Products Association (APPA) announced the official release of its newly expanded APPA National Pet Market Opportunity Study at the 2014 Global Pet Expo. The report focuses on previous pet owners and non-pet owners (individuals who have never owned a pet) and identifies new market opportunities as well as barriers to pet ownership. The study also explores comparisons between current, previous and non-pet owning households.
    One of the key findings in the survey found that there are 84.6 million US households that are current pet owners, 26.6 million US households are previous pet owners and 11.4 million households have never owned a pet.
    In exploring behaviors between the three pet ownership types—current, previous and non-pet owners—there are some notable demographic differences, according to the report. Current pet owners tend to live in more rural areas, have young children at home and larger households. They report somewhat lower average household incomes, are younger and own their own single family home. Conversely, previous pet owners tend to live in mid-size markets, do not have young children at home and have the highest average household incomes. They are slightly older and live in a single-family home they own with one other person (typically their spouse). Finally, non-pet owners tend to be urban dwellers who more often live alone, rent their residence (which has a higher likelihood of being a building for three or more families) and are least likely to be married.
    New to this year’s study was a look at ownership by generation. One-third of current pet owners are Baby Boomers, while another one-quarter each are Gen Y and Gen X. Only 10% of current pet owners are from the Builder generation. Previous pet owners are far more likely to be Baby Boomers (43%), followed by Gen X (21%) and Builders (20%). Gen Y makes up the smallest number of previous pet owners. The non-pet owners group is composed of one-third Baby Boomers and nearly one-third Gen X respondents. One-quarter are Gen Y and the remaining are Builders.
    The report also includes the impact of current economic conditions on pet ownership, as well as the influence of TV shows/videos about pets. Media habits, leisure activities, Internet usage and care of free-roaming animals are just a few of the other topics explored, according to APPA.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Nestlé Q1 pet sales up, overall sales drop

    Nestlé's first-quarter 2014 pet product sales increased to CHF2.74 billion (US$3.11 billion) even as the company's overall sales saw a 5.1% downturn (to CHF20.8 billion—US$23.62 billion). 
    The boost in pet product sales was fueled in North America above all by the market launch of Lightweight and Glade cat litter along with Waggin' Train. In Latin America, the Dog Chow and Pro Plan brands were the primary factors behind the company’s gain in market share, according to the company. In Europe, said Nestlé, the pet brands Felix and Purina One Dry Cat were the main contributors. 

Aller Petfood unveils new logo, website

    The past year, Aller Petfood has undergone reorganization preparing the company for the future business development and growth. To mark the changes and the new path, Aller Petfood has introduced a new logo and a new website,
    Aller Petfood is planning on reaching out to a broad geographical area. The plant in Denmark facilitates Europe but also countries beyond the European borders. Russia and the CIS countries are facilitated from the two plants in Russia. Since January 2014, Aller Petfood has also been able to supply customers in the Middle East and North African countries from its new production facility in Turkey.
    In 2013, Aller Petfood Group (APG) started centralizing some of the vital functions within the company, ensuring that information and development in the organization is channeled to each single unit of the business. This includes nutritional knowledge and product development as well as finance and marketing, according to the company.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Petco planning new corporate headquarters in California

    Petco has acquired property at 10850 Via Frontera in Rancho Bernardo, San Diego, Calif., USA, with plans to develop a new state-of-the-art, people- and pet-friendly corporate support center. The new location would bring together hundreds of employees currently spread across a number of separate locations in San Diego, creating a central facility to help support Petco’s 1,300+ stores, according to the company.
    At initial move in, the 300,000-square-foot facility will be home to more than 650 Petco partners who will relocate from existing support center facilities in the Miramar and Scripps Ranch areas. Interior construction and extensive remodeling of the existing site are anticipated to begin in the fall of 2014 and are currently slated to be complete in the fall of 2015. With the purchase and remodel of this facility, Petco said it hopes to invest substantially in creating an open and sustainable work environment focused on the long-term productivity, commitment and well-being of its employees and their pets.
    Plans for the new site include:   
    • An open, inviting environment with very few closed-door offices to foster a collaborative work environment;  
    • Pet-friendly amenities, including pet play areas;
    • Employee wellness facilities;
    • Sustainable space highlighting progressive design features including work spaces positioned to take advantage of natural light and locally-sourced, earth-friendly building materials where possible. 
    A groundbreaking event is expected to be held later in 2014 with employees expected to take occupancy in the third quarter of 2015.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Nestlé Purina PetCare highlighting cat obesity with pledge effort

    Nestlé Purina PetCare is focusing attention on cat health, specifically obesity, with a new pledge effort.
    The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates that 58% of owned cats in the US, or 50 million cats, are overweight, and less than 12% of cat owners are aware that their cats have a weight problem. Nestlé Purina is striving to get 100,000 cat owners to sign a pledge before May 2 promising to assess their cat's weight to determine if their cat is heavier than advised by vets. If 100,000 pledges are lodged, Nestlé Purina will donate US$50,000 to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.
    The pledge is available on the company's website, Those who sign the pledge will receive a free sample of Purina Cat Chow Healthy Weight, a low-calorie weight management cat food.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Minties dog dental treats now available at Walmart Canada

    Minties dental treats for dogs has expanded its retail distribution to include Walmart stores across Canada and
    Minties feature a triple-action formula that helps clean teeth, freshen breath and control plaque and tartar, according to VetIQ. The treats are also wheat-, soy-, corn- and gluten-free and are safe for dogs with allergies or specific dietary requirements. “We’re very excited to now offer Minties exclusively at Walmart Canada,” said Adelaide Sa, senior category manager for pets at Walmart Canada. “Our customers don’t have to compromise to keep their pets healthy. With Minties now available at Walmart, dog owners have access to nutritional and tasty treats for their dogs at prices they can afford.”
    Minties are available in four sizes for tiny, small, medium and large dogs, with prices starting at CA$1.98 for trial size and CA$6.98 for a 170-gram bag.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mars to buy P&G petfood brands for US$2.9 billion

    Mars Inc. is set to purchase Procter & Gamble's petfood brands, including Iams, Eukanuba and Natura, for US$2.9 billion, according to reports. P&G is leaving the pet care market to focus more on its core brands, and the transaction will solidify Mars as the world's biggest petfood company.
    Mars did not take on P&G's European business, but it has an option to buy operations in remaining markets in Asia and Africa, said P&G spokesman Paul Fox. The company plans to actively pursue the sale of its European pet care business, he said. 
    "The announced deal is not a surprise in view of P&G’s declining share," said Paula Flores, head of Euromonitor International's Pet Care division. "P&G is the fourth global player with a global value share 3.6%, down from 4.2% in 2008. Despite the good position in the premium segment of the North American dog and cat food market, where it accounts for 19% of value sales in 2012, this figure stood at 24% as recently as 2008. The company faced two voluntary recalls for its superpremium Natura, Iams and Eukanuba brand during 2013. Moreover P&G has a weak performance in most emerging markets."
     The deal is expected to be complete in the second half of the year.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

SuperZoo announces new features for 2014

    SuperZoo 2014, being held on July 22-24 in Las Vegas, will feature keynote speaker Daymond John, founder and CEO of FUBU and star of ABC's Shark Tank, American rock band The Doobie Brothers; and a new retail model called the Idea Pet Store.
    John has received more than 35 awards, including the Brandweek Marketer of the Year, the Advertising Age Marketing 1000 Award for Outstanding Ad Campaign and Ernst & Young's New York Entrepreneur of the Year Award. His marketing strategies and ability to build successful brands have made him a highly influential consultant and motivational speaker, and his insights will help pet store retailers discover how to improve their own operations.
    The Doobie Brothers will perform live at the House of Blues on July 23, in conjunction with SuperZoo. Tickets will be available through the SuperZoo registration portal at

Monday, April 21, 2014

Diamond Pet Food reaches class action settlement

    A settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit alleging Diamond Pet Foods manufactured and distributed certain petfood products that allegedly led to illness and death in some animals that consumed them. The lawsuit was first filed in 2012 by a customer who claimed the company's dog food caused one of her dogs to die and another to become ill.
    There are three subclasses of class members:
    • Subclass I includes consumers who purchased certain petfood products in 2011 and 2012. Diamond Pet Foods will create a settlement fund limited to a maximum of US$750,000 to pay claims from those who purchased the petfood. Members of this subclass who submit a valid claim form will receive either payment up to a maximum value of two bags of petfood per pet; or a pro rata share of the net proceeds of the settlement fund for this subclass not to exceed the actual or estimated purchase price of up to two bags of the petfood per pet.
    • Subclass II members who submit a valid claim form will receive a full reimbursement of the actual cost of veterinarian testing, care and/or treatment. The defendants will create a settlement fund limited to a total maximum of US$1.25 million to pay claims from this subclass.
    • Subclass III members who submit valid claim forms shall receive one or more coupons with a face value of US$2. A maximum of 50,000 coupons will be distributed.
    All class members must submit a valid form by July 11, 2014, and a final hearing will be held on September 15, 2014.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Dr. Tim's Momentum Dog Food feeds four of five top Iditarod finishers

    Dr. Tim's Momentum Dog Food was the dry kibble of choice for four of the five top finishers in the 2014 Iditarod on March 11, including the winner. Dallas Seavey of Willow, Alaska won his second Iditarod, setting a new course record of eight days, 14 hours and nine minutes. 
    It's the third year in a row that the winning musher was feeding Dr. Tim's petfood. This race was especially difficult as trail conditions were extremely poor with little snow and much ice as the Alaskan winter was unseasonably warm this year. Many mushers had to drop out of the race due to equipment failures or personal injury after the first 1/4 of the trail. Further up the trail it worsened again as glare ice and strong winds made travel very difficult, according to reports.

Global Pet Expo 2014 reports record-breaking numbers

    The 2014 Global Pet Expo reported record-breaking numbers in exhibitors, buyer and media attendance and total booths sold, according to show organizers. Experiencing an increase in growth on all fronts, the tenth annual show featured 5,597 buyers in attendance, a 5% increase over 2013 numbers, more than 3,000 new pet product launches, 985 exhibitors and 2,896 booths sold-the highest post-show numbers to date. Total show attendance came to nearly 14,000 people, with 289,600 square footage of exhibit space.
    "Over the past several years hosting this Show in Orlando, our numbers have consistently grown at an impressive rate," said Andrew Darmohraj, APPA executive vice president and COO. "So it was fitting that our tenth annual Global Pet Expo once again demonstrated record-breaking numbers across the board. It was the perfect time to announce that Orlando and the Orange County Convention Center will be the official home to our Show through 2019." 
    Sixteen percent of exhibitors were international, making up 156 of the 985 exhibitors, and 27% of buyers were from outside of the US, coming from 76 countries. The show saw 3,000 new products and had more than 900 entries in its annual New Products Showcase. "The 3,000 new product launches at this year's show included products with a charitable angle, more advances in technology, like interactive treat dispensers and dog collars that keep you apprised of your pet's activities while you're away, as well as products that provide innovative solutions for every day life such as pet raincoats and feeders that promote a slower eating process," said Darmohraj.
    The 2015 Global Pet Expo will take place March 4-6, 2015, in Orlando, Fla.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hillside Farms to open new US factory

    Premium dog treat producer Hillside Farms will open a new US facility in southern California. The factory will feature state-of-the-art automation in processing, production and packaging operations, according to the company.
    "We're thrilled to be expanding our production capabilities here in the US and southern California," said Steve King, vice president of sales and marketing. "As a pet-passionate team, we're always looking for ways to better serve our customers and their four-legged family members. This new facility will allow us to expand the availability of our wholesome, lean meat treats throughout North America." 
    The new facilities will also mark the launch of a new line of jerky treats for the company, American Authentics. Made with lean, US-grown chicken, the treats are high in protein while being low in fat and low in calories, said Hillside Farms. 

Jerky treat pet deaths still under investigation

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is still investigating the illnesses and deaths of several hundred dogs that began in 2007 and are suspected to be the result of contaminated chicken jerky pet treats manufactured in China.
    The FDA continues to seek leads from veterinarians and pet owners-roughly 1,500 reports have some in since an appeal for information in the fall of 2013. "We are frustrated," said Martine Hartogensis, who oversees the FDA's ongoing investigation. "It's been a long, winding, twisting road . . . [But] we haven't given up." 
    The FDA says it has tested more than 1,200 jerky treats, looking for Salmonella, mold, pesticides, toxic metals, outlawed antibiotics, nephrotoxins and other contaminants. Federal officials have inspected factories in China that manufacture chicken jerky products for U.S. companies and sought input from academics, state and university research labs, foreign governments and the petfood industry. In spite of all that, the cause of the illnesses has not yet been found.
    According to the FDA, the illnesses overwhelmingly affect dogs but some cats have also been made ill. The majority of complaints involve chicken jerky but also include treats in which chicken or duck jerky is wrapped around dried fruit, sweet potatoes or yams. Officials said there's no clear pattern based on breed or geography-pets have been sickened in every state, as well as in countries such as Australia-and the problems don't seem specific to any particular brand or manufacturer.
    The FDA said it is determined to find answers. "They want to solve it more than anything," said Hartogensis. "I'm confident we'll get there. It's a really complicated issue, but we've got a lot of great people working on it. And I think we're getting closer."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pet rescue film by Halo, Purely for Pets opens Sonoma film festival

    "Who rescued who?" was the impetus of a short film that opened the Sonoma International Film Festival in Sonoma, Calif., on April 2. 
    "Le Sauvetage" (The Rescue) is a six-minute film produced by Peter McEvilley, award-winning filmmaker and composer, and starring the Olate Dogs, winners of America's Got Talent. The film is a magical tale about life, love and finding our true destiny ... with a little help from a furry friend. The short film was sponsored and produced by Ellen DeGeneres' natural petfood company Halo, Purely for Pets.
    Halo has a track record of promoting rescue and adoption through film. The company sponsors all three episodes of Shelter Me, a PBS special dedicated to showcasing shelter dogs and the incredible lives they lead. Halo also sponsored the Humane Society of the United States' video campaign, "Meet My Shelter Pet," a series of videos featuring celebrities and their adopted pets.
    "Le Sauvetage" has also been selected to appear at the Court Metrage, Festival de Cannes in France in May.

America's VetDogs working to change US military veterans' lives

    Service dogs like Benjamin from America's VetDogs change the lives of US military veterans.
    Proper nutrition and feeding a quality petfood are especially important for dogs that act as service and guide dogs, said Wells Jones, CEO of the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind and America's VetDogs, which train dogs to serve US military veterans and blind people. Speaking as the closing keynote for Petfood Forum 2014 on April 2, Jones discussed how his organization selects, breeds, trains and feeds its dogs that are matched with veterans like Joseph Worley, who served in Iraq as a Navy corpsman and also spoke.
    America's VetDogs, founded in 2003, trains dogs to assist veterans of all eras and active military personnel with tasks such as standing up, walking, opening and closing doors, retrieving objects, barking for alert and much more. Jones said America's VetDogs also now partners with petfood company Bil-Jac to offer a line of dog treats whose sales support veterans. The organization is a part of the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, which was originally established in 1946 to assist veterans who lost their vision in World War II.
    The foundation has its own breeding program for the service puppies in both programs, with some of the dogs being descendants from dogs first bred in the 1960s. Jones explained that the foundation relies on volunteers and prisons to raise the puppies and teach them basic obedience at 7-8 weeks of age for about a year, at which time the dogs return to the foundation's program for formal service dog training. In order to enter the service dog program, dogs must pass a multi-level skills test, including retrieving of metal, wood, plastic and cloth, and a public access test. Dogs are primarily labrador retrievers and golden retrievers, as well as standard poodles, german shepherds, and a labrador retriever and golden retriever mix, he said.  
    After a dog has completed its service dog training, it is carefully matched with a student. Jones referred to these service dogs as a "designer dog," meaning that the foundation works to understand exactly what a person needs in the dog, and then a service dog is selected to meet their precise needs, taking into account capability, lifestyle and pace. 
    Once a student is matched with the right service dog, the student usually comes to the foundation's campus in New York, USA, to complete a training program that takes 12 days. Jones explained that the foundation's campus includes a student residence hall with 17 private rooms where students stay during their training, a training center equipped with kennels and training space, and a veterinary center.  

    Service dogs change lives

    Following Wells, US veteran Joseph Worley spoke with his service dog, Benjamin, about the dramatic impact on one's life that these service dogs make. 
    Worley joined the Navy in 2002, and he lost his left leg in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004. Worley explained that he was working as a medic and was running toward a vehicle that had been hit by an IED, when he was also hit by an IED. 
    Two years after putting in an application for a service dog from America's VetDogs, Worley received Benjamin in October 2008. Worley said that after he returned from Iraq, his family gathered around to support him. "Despite that support system, when Benjamin entered my life, he became an integral and vital part of that," Worley said. 
    Worley explained that Benjamin not only helps him physically by helping him brace to stand up, stabilize him when walking, retrieve objects and more, but he also added, "Benjamin gives me confidence." 
    "These animals can save people's lives and change people's lives," said Worley. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

RECALL: Robert Abady Dog Food recalls cat food on Salmonella concerns

    The Robert Abady Dog Food Co. LLC, of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., is recalling its 2 lb., 5 lb. and 15 lb. boxes of "Abady Highest Quality Maintenance & Growth Formula for Cats" because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. The recalled "Highest Quality Maintenance & Growth Formula for Cats" were distributed nationwide in retail stores and through mail orders.
    The product comes in 2 lb., 5 lb. and 15 lb. corrugated boxes with plastic liners marked with lot #14029/21 stamped on the right side top of the box. No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.
    The potential for contamination was noted after routine testing by the company revealed the presence of Salmonella in some of the product. Production of the product has been suspended while the US Food and Drug Administration and the company continue their investigation as to the source of the problem.
    Consumers who have purchased the recalled products are urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1.845.473.1900, Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m., ET.

Petfood Forum 2014 session highlights pet industry distribution trends

    At a Petfood Forum 2014 discussion session titled, "How distributor consolidation is affecting petfood retailing," held on April 2, Mark Kalaygian with Pet Business magazine highlighted the top petfood industry distribution trends.
    Online business is increasing market share in the US, with an estimated US$3.2 billion to US$3.7 billion in 2014 for pet products-5.5% of total pet sales. For petfood, shipping is still an issue even though is currently eating some of the cost. This is good news for brick and mortar pet stores, as more people are inclined to purchase petfood in stores than online. 
    In the private labeling sector, more distributors are getting into private labeling petfood. It's a way to offer more lines and price levels of products to retail customers. Small lines are responsible for their own marketing, according to Kalaygian, and ride alongs with distribution are critical for small brands to gain a presence in the industry and stand out to distributors and distribution sale representatives. As a company, you need to make it worthwhile for them to focus on your brand. 
    Small niche distributors can focus on brands, for example raw diets, and grab a piece of the market, said Kalaygian These distributors are hungry and looking to expand their market or be acquired by a larger distributor. 

Petfood industry’s response to FSMA discussed at Petfood Forum 2014

    The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is a hot topic in the petfood industry these days. The US Food and Drug Administration is calling for a new, prevention-oriented food safety system, and several of the rules found in the Act are of particular interest and concern to petfood manufacturers.
    At Petfood Forum 2014 on April 1, Jason Vickers, head of product safety and regulatory affairs for Proctor & Gamble Pet Care and co-chair of Pet Food Institute (PFI)'s FSMA response team, gave a talk entitled, "FSMA preventive control rule for feed: The petfood industry's response." During the discussion, he updated attendees on the status of the rule (the comment period closed on March 31), what the FDA is aiming to accomplish, and how the impending regulatory changes will affect the industry.
    Since 2011, the FDA has had several powers already aimed at food safety: Mandatory recall authority, suspension of registration, administrative detention authority, frequent inspection and records access are all connected to the government agency. Pending petfood industry requirements related to the lengthening stretch of these powers include written food safety plans, a written recall plan, hazard analysis and preventive controls, and supply chain management. And all of this ties into the upcoming rules that the petfood industry has taken a significant interest in: Preventive controls for human food, a foreign supplier verification program, the accreditation of third-party auditors and (arguably most in the spotlight) preventive controls for animal food.
    Vickers outlined several concerns the petfood industry has regarding these issues, and in the PFI's comments to the FDA during the open comment period, they highlighted some of those concerns and their ideal solutions:
    • The proposed regulation should reflect the Congressional intent specified in the statute requiring that the rules be based on science and risk analysis;
    • There should be one animal food regulation applicable to all animal food categories;
    • The rule should apply to all petfood and animal feed companies, and there should be no exemptions based on the number of employees or the volume of sales;
    • FDA should develop and implement training for animal food producers and FDA officials to ensure smooth implementation of the rule when finalized.
    Audits are one topic Vickers provided a little more insight on during his presentation. "We want to make sure the auditors have specific knowledge of, at minimum, the feed industry, but ideally the petfood industry," he said. As for consultative audits, which are informal audits meant to point out areas for improvement prior to an official audit, the petfood industry should be able to focus on achieving top results, rather than who is going to see the preliminaries. "You want to be able to gain knowledge without worrying that it will go directly to the FDA," said Vickers.
    Costs to the industry as a result of the rule implementation are another concern Vickers addressed. FDA estimates and independent industry survey results don't quite match up, with the surveying revealing even higher potential costs than initially projected. When it comes to environmental monitoring, "based on survey data from PFI, [companies are] looking at up to $800,000 per facility," said Vickers. In addition, costs for the record-keeping that will be required under the new rules are expected to be significant.
    The role of testing under the expanded rules definitely brought up concerns for PFI, and for the industry, said Vickers. "[A company's testing program] should be risk-based off the science that you have," he said. Further, testing programs should be individualized. "I support that each manufacturer should have the right controls in place that they feel are the best way to ensure the safety of their product," said Vickers.
    As the FDA begins to go through the comments submitted by every area of the agriculture and food/feed industries, these issues will continue to be discussed and refined, according to Vickers. The process of implementation is not yet complete, and there's still a lot of work to do on both sides of the fence.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sustainability a growing issue in the petfood industry

    Sustainability is a growing force in the world at large, and the petfood industry is not immune, according to Caitlyn Bolton, executive director of the Pet Industry Sustainability Coalition, who spoke at Petfood Forum 2014 on April 2. Bolton's presentation, "Sustainability Stories Shaping the Pet Industry," focused on defining sustainability and introducing the ways in which the petfood industry can communicate with its customers to make sustainability an understandable issue.
    There are two ways to look at sustainability, according to Bolton. One viewpoint is the "moral imperative": As human beings, we have a responsibility to future generations, the planet, its wildlife and its ecosystems. The other viewpoint takes a more business-like approach, addressing risk mitigation, costly supply issues, safety and transparency issues efficiency improvements that save a company money. Both are important for understanding the importance of sustainability as a whole.
    Communication is key on multiple levels and with multiple audiences. "You really have to simplify with all your audiences," said Bolton. Learning their problems and issues regarding sustainability and figuring out how to reach them and work with them is a vital strategy. Whether the audience is internal to the company, involved in the supply chain, a larger part of the industry or the end consumer, the general plan should be the same. You should try to connect with your audience, and aim to become a facilitator to help them figure out what they care about-create a shared platform around sustainability. "How can we be an enabler?" said Bolton. 
    Emotions can be an easy way to tell the sustainability story, and the petfood industry has a leg up, according to Bolton. "It's easy to appeal to emotions, social desires and shared value," she said. Whatever plan gets put in place, the sustainability story a company is telling must be backed up with a strategy-and they must follow through.
    Communication at all levels
    Communicating at the employee level is all about connecting them with the company's message. "They want to be engaged, they want to feel like their work is useful," said Bolton. In particular, "Generation Y wants to be engaged in a workforce that makes a difference." From a business standpoint, engaged employees mean 16% higher profitability, 18% higher productivity and 12% more customer loyalty.
    Communicating at the retail level is essential, and ties into supply chain communication. Retailers, said Bolton, are beginning to ask questions about the sustainability of products because it's what they're hearing from their customers. Customers want more transparency in their pet products and are interested in sustainability-retailers need to know what products to sell to meet this emerging need, and they're going to want their answers from the companies providing those products.
    Supply chain communication expands from the need for those answers. Companies will need to determine what parts of the supply chain are most affected by a sustainability plan, and discuss the fine points with vendors.
    Solid consumer communication is the end result. "Customers are looking for a company to help enable them to be better global citizens," said Bolton. This moral viewpoint makes sustainability an attractive idea, and it's the job of the petfood industry to ensure that consumers are educated. The data backs this up: "If price and quality are equal, social purpose ranks as the most important quality in a brand," said Bolton.
    Sustainability is here to stay, and its many facets will take some industry work to get a solid grip on. Collaborative petfood issues include sustainable sourcing, standard evolution metrics and packaging. But these issues are worth creating a plan for, and the right communication strategies will lead to industry success.

Argentina petfood market stable, aiming towards future growth

    Pet ownership is on the rise in Argentina, according to Carlos Crosetti, DVM, PhD, who discussed the country's petfood market in his Petfood Forum 2014 talk, "New product development and the Argentinean petfood market." The discussion, held on April 1, covered statistics, trends and a future outlook on a market that's been stable with little growth for the last several years, but is expected to pick up soon.
    Through 2011, Latin America overall saw a pet care market growth of 10% year over year, with the market stalling in 2012 and 2013, according to Crosetti, who is the technical manager for Grupo Pilar S.A. "I assume this is due mainly to the economic situation we've been facing the last few years," he said. "What we are seeing is that there's a shift in the products people are buying. Superpremium and premium buyers are moving to standard or budget products. But, people don't abandon petfood. They continue to purchase commercial petfood, rather than switching to scraps."
    But with 9 million dogs and 3 million cats in households in Argentina, Crosetti expects the market to improve. "I'm sure that once the economic situation recovers, the market will continue growing," he said. "Latin American countries have, more or less, grown 8%-12% in the last four or five years. I think that in the future, the Argentina market will grow again."
    The pet humanization trend hitting hard in larger markets such as North America is very present in Argentina, as well. As aging populations turn to pets for companionship in their later years, and younger generations staying single and childless for longer look for their own animal companionship, people are focusing on their pets-and are willing to pay to do so.
    This consumer devotion has led to the opportunity for industry education and communication, according to Crosetti.
    "We have to work to try to educate consumers about pet nutrition," he said. "We have to enable the pet parent community-people have to understand the link between the human and pet relationship. We have to facilitate the connection between a person and their pet."
    The best way to communicate is through pet owners' focus on nutrition and health for their pets, and product research and development should reflect that. "We must consider not just the food intake, but also the level of nutrients we're going to see in our formulas," said Crosetti. "We have to consider the balance and relationship between nutrients. We have to consider the bioavailability of nutrients." Petfood shelf life and the feeding habits of pet parents should also be significant considerations.
    The specialization and premiumization of petfoods are increasing globally in response to market demands, and Argentina's market is no different in that regard. Foods focusing on digestive health, immune system response (puppies), weight loss management, coat health/sensitive skin, joint health, urinary tract health, heart health and liver health are all areas of note for the growing market.
    Tangent to the petfood market is the pet treat market, which Crosetti said has not grown nearly to the levels of other areas in Argentina. "The treats market is very, very small, he said. "It has been stable for the last six or seven years. It's something that's growing mainly in the grocery channel, and perhaps in the veterinary and pet shop channels." For now, the pet treat market in Argentina consists mostly of dry bone-type treats, though the moist/semi-wet treat is gaining some ground. Either way, the market is small. "Right now there are two or three locally based companies manufacturing treats," said Crosetti.
    Though the current petfood market situation is currently more one of stability than growth in Argentina, an economic recovery is all it will take to jump start growth once more.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Pet Food Institute comments on FSMA animal food rule

    The Pet Food Institute has submitted comments to the US Food and Drug Administration on the proposed regulation for petfood and animal feed safety. Formally called "Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals," the proposed rule outlines requisite elements for food safety plans for implementation by manufacturers of food for animals.
    The comments are the culmination of more than 3,000 hours of engagement in work sessions by representatives of PFI member companies and PFI staff in meetings and on conference calls over many months. "This was a tremendous, cooperative effort," said Duane Ekedahl, president of PFI. "Never before has the petfood industry come together in quite this way, and worked so closely to reach consensus on very complex and important issues." 
    Topline points made in the PFI comments include:
    • The proposed regulation should reflect the Congressional intent specified in the statute requiring that the rules be based on science and risk analysis; 
    • There should be one animal food regulation applicable to all animal food categories;
    • The rule should apply to all petfood and animal feed companies, and there should be no exemptions based on the number of employees or the volume of sales;
    • FDA should develop and implement training for animal food producers and FDA officials to ensure smooth implementation of the rule when finalized.
    The proposed rule is based upon a similar rule for human food that was proposed by FDA in January 2013. The PFI comments note the surprise of the industry on the similarities between the two proposed rules, particularly because two international standards exist that were specifically developed for animal food-Publicly Available Specification 222 (PAS 222) and the Model Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs) of the Association of American Feed Control Officials-and do not appear to have been incorporated into the proposed rule.
    "PFI urges FDA to provide sufficient discretion in the regulation before it is finalized to account for the wide variety of animal food production methods and practices," said Ekedahl. "We believe the animal food sector should be granted ample time to become familiar with CGMPs before they are required, as was the case for the human food sector."
    CGMPs have been recommended by FDA for human food production for several decades, but they were not set to be required until publication of the human food in 2013. For animal food, CGMPs are a relatively new concept and had not been defined by FDA until now. Ekedahl said that the human food sector had many years to become familiar with CGMPs before they were required, whereas petfood and other animal food companies are being required to comply with CGMPs at the same time they are being introduced.
    The proposed rule was open for public comment for a far shorter period of time than its human food counterpart-five months versus nearly 11 months for the human food proposed rule. The deadline to submit comments was March 31, 2014. PFI says it will continue its constructive engagement with FDA to encourage finalization and implementation of a regulation that is science-based and facilitates the production of safe petfood.

AFIA submits animal food rule comments to FDA

    The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) has submitted comments to the US Food and Drug Administration on what AFIA describes as the most massive overhaul of animal food industry regulations since 1958. The comments, which address the Food Safety Modernization Act "Current Good Manufacturing Practices and Hazard Analysis Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals" rule, are 100-plus pages in length and cover five major areas. 
    Nineteen regional and state feed associations also signed on to AFIA's letter as a statement of their support.
    "AFIA and its membership are extremely satisfied with the comments generated during the brief, yet productive, comment period," said Richard Sellers, AFIA senior vice president of legislative and regulatory affairs. "If more time had been allotted, we would have ideally provided FDA with more examples of the overall impact of the proposal. However, given our time constraints, AFIA focused primarily on how this rule would impact the many varied segments of the industry to strive for practical and easily understood requirements by the industry, FDA and state investigators that will inspect and audit these new requirements."
    One major area of AFIA's comments is its focus on Current Good Manufacturing Practices, or CGMPs. The organization stated CGMPs should be "more practical and less prescriptive," which will allow its members and the industry as a whole to be more innovative and have a better understanding as it is the first time many companies will use CGMPs. AFIA is also requesting FDA to simplify terms and concepts used throughout the rule such as replacing "utensils" with "tools" or "sanitation" with "cleaning," and seeks assurance the rules are dedicated to the animal food industry, not the human food industry, which they originated from. 
    The organization's comments addressed FDA's lack of differentiation among various types of animal food facilities. AFIA stated without clarity in the rules, inspections/audits of the facility would be "related to the facility's animal food safety plan and not some predetermined idea about the expectations of a plant related to the highly subjective language of the proposed rules."
    AFIA also focused largely on the overall language of the hazard analysis and preventive controls rule. "We are asking FDA remove all HACCP references and requirements throughout the rule, including references to 'hazards that are reasonably likely to occur' and return to the statutory language of 'known or reasonably foreseeable hazards'," said Sellers.
    AFIA intends to work with its membership and the industry to submit ongoing comments to FDA as the agency moves forward in the comment review process. The intention of the "Current Good Manufacturing Practices and Hazard Analysis Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals" rule is to continue to ensure safe animal food, and AFIA will continue to work comprehensively with FDA to achieve this overall goal. The final animal food rule is mandated by court order to be published by Aug. 30, 2015.

Animal Nutrition Insights, SupplySide launch Petfood 2.0 expo

    Virgo's Animal Nutrition Insights and SupplySide are expanding their platforms to include a new tradeshow, Petfood 2.0, on September 23 and 24, 2014, at the Hilton Chicago. Petfood 2.0 is about the science of formulation, packaging and distribution around the innovation of products for the new petfood industry. Online registration opens April 29, 2014, and early bird pricing is $299.
    Petfood 2.0 is all about the science, according to show organizers. The expo will delve into the science of packaging and the issues surrounding food safety, shelf life, technologies, marketing and sustainability. It will also examine the supply chain, sourcing and how products are taken to the marketplace.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cargill Animal Nutrition donates petfood to mudslide-stricken Washington

    Recent mudslides in Washington state have affected entire families, including their pets, and Cargill Animal Nutrition is one of the entities stepping in to help. The company donated 27 tons of petfood to Darrington, Wash., adding to existing donations from the community and outsiders.
    The full number of pets and livestock killed may never be known, according to incident spokespeople. Authorities also don't have a clear number of how many pets are missing or displaced by the slide. There were at least 37 horses displaced and at least 10 dogs that were missing as of March 31. 

March Dog offers nutria dog treats

    Pet treat company Marsh Dog offers Barataria Bites, a dog biscuit, and Bark, a meat jerky, made from nutria, a rodent found in Louisiana and native to South America.
    Nutria were initially brought over from South America to be farmed for their fur, and trappers kept the population down. As fur fell out of fashion, however, the animals began to overtake their habitats. Today, nutria are considered an invasive pest and are hunted for population control purposes.
    When the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program announced a grant program for new conservation projects to preserve, protect and restore south Louisiana, siblings Hansel and Veni Harlan submitted an application. Their idea was to process some of the potentially wasted nutria carcasses to make dog food or treats, and they won a small grant. In 2011, they launched Marsh Dog, currently the only commercial seller of nutria meat.
    Each step of Marsh Dog's biscuit production is carried out by hand by employees at the company's headquarters, in Baton Rouge, La. Jerky is produced offsite. The company distributes to pet stores, veterinary offices and natural-food shops within a hundred miles. The products can also be ordered online. "I know we can't solve the coastal problem, but we can help educate about it," said Hansel. In 2012, Marsh Dog won the Conservation Business of the Year award from the Louisiana Wildlife Federation. 

Indigenous Pet Products introduces Pegetables natural dog chews

    Indigenous Pet Products announced the launch of a new formulation of Pegetables Nature's Dog Chews, a premium dog chew for canine dental health, at Global Pet Expo 2014. The original formula of the chew was from the Pegetables brand, which was recently acquired by Indigenous Pet Products, and expands the business's portfolio of canine dental health solutions. 
    Pegetables Nature's Dog Chews are designed to help clean teeth, leaving dogs with fresh breath, according to the company. The product is scientifically formulated to be safe and highly digestible for dogs of all sizes. The product is made with vegetables including sweet potatoes, peas and carrots, and is free of corn, wheat, grain and gluten.
    "Dental health is a common concern for many dog owners," said Scott Reinhardt, sales and marketing manager of Indigenous Pet Products. "Pegetables Nature's Dog Chews provide a treat that is satisfying and healthy for pets. With the acquisition of Pegetables, we are able to provide pet retailers with another product that aligns with our existing offering targeting the health and wellness category in the specialty petfood sector."

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

PetBox, BOGO Bowl partner to donate petfood throughout US

    PetBox Inc., a monthly subscription service delivering a personalized box of premium toys, treats and accessories to dogs and cats each month, has teamed up with BOGO Bowl, a premium petfood brand that donates a bag of petfood for every bag purchased. Through the new partnership, BOGO Bowl will supply and distribute dog and cat food to shelters and rescues selected via PetBox's weekly social media campaign.
    Each Friday, PetBox sends out a request for nominations and votes via social media to determine which animal shelter or rescue will receive the donation of dog and cat food. Through a variety of online platforms, users nominate and vote on a shelter or rescue using the #PetBoxFridays hashtag. On the following Monday, the donation of petfood is sent directly to the chosen organization. With the new support of BOGO Bowl, shipments of BOGO Bowl's dog and cat food will be sent directly from its Iowa headquarters to the chosen animal shelter or rescue each week. PetBox and BOGO Bowl share the costs of this partnership, with a concerted effort in this altruistic mission.
    Through donations of dog and cat food from PetBox and BOGO Bowl, animal rescues and shelters can redirect funds previously spent on petfood towards necessities like medical care, facility improvements, and other vital needs of resident dogs and cats.

Spring Naturals dog food certified low glycemic, diabetic friendly

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Two-year trial to test kangaroo meat in petfood

    A two-year trial in Victoria, Australia, will involve processing kangaroo meat into petfood, creating a new industry worth up to AU$1.4 million (US$940,604) in revenue, according to reports. The trial will begin March 31, 2014, and will involve up to 69,000 eastern and western grey kangaroos which would have been culled under wildlife control permits.
    According to Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh, the number of kangaroos killed isn't expected to rise because it's illegal to kill one without a permit. "It will not mean any increase in the wildlife control permits at all, it is just utilizing the waste that is there from the current controls," he said.
    The government plans to closely monitor the number of wildlife control applications to ensure that the new kangaroo petfood industry doesn't cause a spike in kangaroo killings.

Research and Markets to hold seminar on companion animal nutrition, petfood regulation

    Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "An Introduction to Companion Animal Nutrition and Pet Food Regulation" conference to its offerings. The seminar will take place April 8-9, 2014, at the Rembrandt Hotel in London, England.
    According to Research and Markets, benefits of attending include:
    • Gain an overview of the petfood market
    • Understand industry regulations and directives
    • Comply with labeling and legal requirements
    • Consider feed formulations and ingredients
    • Discuss feed processing and manufacturing
    • Gain an insight into costs and budgets
    • Take away key points on petfood testing
    • Learn about the physiology of cats and dogs
    • Better understand digestion, absorption and metabolism
    The seminar will provide a comprehensive introduction to companion animal nutrition and the regulatory requirements applicable to petfood. The course will provide an overview of the market, cover legal requirements, labeling, formulation and ingredients as well as feed processing and manufacture. Digestion, absorption and metabolism of the companion animal will also be discussed. The interactive workshop sessions will enhance the learning experience of the delegates and there will be ample time for discussion of the complex issues to consider.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Private equity firm acquires Three Dog Bakery

    Three Dog Bakery Inc. has been acquired by a private equity group led by Aziz Giga, former vice president of strategic planning at PPG Industries. The new company will be known as Three Dog Bakery LLC.
    "We are proud to own the Three Dog Bakery brand that pioneered bakeries for dogs," said Giga, the chairman of Three Dog Bakery LLC. "The team has done a great job expanding the brand, products and distribution across North America. We look forward to helping move the company to the next level."
    The company focuses on the premium, all-natural, made in the USA pet treat market. Three Dog Bakery provides Three Dog Bakery brand and private-label packaged products to national and independent pet retailers, grocery, drug, mass and club merchandisers and through direct-to-consumer internet sales. "We are excited about this new partnership and fully expect this transaction to greatly accelerate our growth strategy," said Brian Wietharn, president and CEO of Three Dog Bakery Inc.
    Three Dog Bakery Inc. was advised in the transaction by Triangle Capital LLC, a New York-based M&A investment bank.

Pet Supplies Plus to expand with corporate, franchised stores

    Pet Supplies Plus is looking to open both corporate and franchised stores in new and underserved markets in 2014, according to the company.
    The pet retail chain plans to specifically target fast-growing markets from Florida to Minnesota, including areas in Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, Tennessee, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Texas for franchise development. To prepare for the accelerated growth, executives invested in strengthening infrastructure, expanding the store support center team for both corporate and franchised stores, and introduced a new "neighborhood-centric" prototype. The chain also built a new 760,000-plus square-foot distribution center.
    "One of the reasons for the continued heightened demand in the pet products industry is the humanization of pets," said Dave Bolen, president and CEO of Pet Supplies Plus. "We've responded to that trend by conveniently locating our stores in neighborhoods and making our stores friendly for the neighbors who want to bring their pets shopping. We've enhanced our shopping experience, emphasized made-in-the-USA pet consumables, natural and organic petfood and offered in-store pet services that drive traffic and customer loyalty. Now, we're looking to find business-savvy franchise partners who share a passion for pets who want to be an integral part of their community."

Friday, April 4, 2014

National Advertising Division recommends Blue Buffalo modify claims to avoid disparaging competitors

    The National Advertising Division (NAD) has recommended that Blue Buffalo Company Ltd., manufacturer of BLUE brand petfood products, modify certain advertising claims to avoid disparaging competing petfood makers. The company has said it will appeal some of NAD's findings to the National Advertising Review Board.
    The claims at issue appeared in television, Internet, print and mobile advertising and were challenged by Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc., a competing manufacturer of petfood products.
    NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry's system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. 
    NAD examined express advertising claims that included:
    • "It takes a lot to get me mad, but it really hit me when I realized that his big name dog food had chicken by-product meal as a first ingredient-not real meat. It felt like they fooled me, so I switched Leo to BLUE Buffalo."
    • "If you are feeding one of the big-name brands, chances are you're in for a big let-down."
    • "Pet parents are learning the truth about the ingredients in some of the leading dog food brands. Don't be fooled by the big name dog food brands." 
    The advertising at issue depicts a pet owner who appears shocked and disappointed to learn that "big name pet foods" contain chicken by-product meal, leading the pet owner to switch to the BLUE product. 
    Consumers also are invited to compare their pet's food to BLUE petfood by taking the "True BLUE Test," an online comparison tool that allows consumers to choose one or more petfoods (including Hill's Science Diet products) to compare against BLUE dog and cat food based on five ingredient factors: 1) ALWAYS Has Real Meat as the First Ingredient; 2) ALWAYS Includes Veggies and Fruit; 3) NEVER Has Chicken (or Poultry) By-Product Meals; 4) NEVER Has Artificial Colors, Flavors or Preservatives; and 5) NEVER has Corn, Wheat or Soy.
    The challenger argued that all of the challenged advertising conveys the same falsely disparaging and inflammatory message-that "big name" petfood manufacturers, including Hill's, are actively try to conceal the fact that they include chicken by-product meal, instead of meat, as the first ingredient. Further, the challenger contended, the online "True BLUE Test" makes inaccurate, brand-wide comparisons that imply all, or almost all, products from every major competitor contain ingredients such as chicken by-product meal. 
    The advertiser contended that its market research shows that many pet owners prefer meat as the first ingredient of their petfood and do not want their pet's food to contain any chicken or poultry by-product meals. Further, the advertiser maintained that the surprised and angry reactions of the actors constitute puffery.
    NAD has previously held that while companies can and should inform consumers about the composition of their petfood, they may not falsely disparage competing products by communicating unsupported messages that these products are less healthy, less safe or nutritionally inferior. NAD determined that the challenged advertisements reasonably conveyed that leading petfood makers are misleading consumers by actively concealing the content of their products and by positioning their products as high quality when they are not and that consumers should switch to BLUE.
    NAD recommended that the advertiser modify the challenged advertisements to avoid any express or implied references to competing manufacturers "fooling" or otherwise misleading consumers because their products include meat or chicken by-product meals. However, NAD noted, the advertiser is free to promote the high-quality ingredients in its products and to encourage consumers to check product labels before making purchasing decisions. NAD further recommended significant modifications to the advertiser's online "True BLUE Test" to assure that comparisons are truthful and accurate, that disclosures are clear, conspicuous and easy to read and assure that checkmarks-signifying positive petfood attributes-are uniform in color to equally highlight the positive attributes of both BLUE and its competitors.
    Blue Buffalo, in its advertiser's statement, said the company is "particularly disappointed with NAD's recommendations regarding its long-standing True Blue Test." Nevertheless, the company said, it would make the recommended changes to the test, but will appeal NAD's remaining recommendations to the NARB.

Interzoo explains exhibitor considerations for petfood import licenses

    Interzoo 2014 has released come considerations for exhibitors looking to gain import licenses for petfood.
    According to Interzoo, petfood may only be placed on the market in Germany if it complies with the German or European legal regulations. Exhibitors must therefore check in good time before Interzoo to make sure petfood from their country is allowed to be imported into the European Union (EU) or Germany.This avoids problems at the Border Inspection Posts.
    In principle, food for pets and ornamental fish that contains animal by-products may only be imported from third countries which meet the requirements of the valid version of Chapter II Section 1, Table 2, No. 12 of Regulation (EC) 142/2011. The petfood companies must be approved in accordance with EU law. In exceptional cases, an import licence can also be applied for if petfood from unlisted third countries and companies is to be imported for exhibition purposes. In such cases, the petfood may be imported into Germany solely for display purposes and must be rendered harmless and disposed of at the importer's cost at the end of the exhibition.
    Each consignment of petfood must be registered in advance (at least one working day before) for inspection by the official veterinarian at an approved Border Inspection Post by submitting a CVED (Common Veterinary Entry Document) in accordance with Regulation (EC) 136/2004. Importation without prior veterinary inspection is prohibited.
    The current version of the detailed Interzoo Information Sheet on Importation of Pet Food with further information and Internet addresses is available for exhibitors at and in the ExhibitorShop under "Information and Approvals" (password required for access). 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Women in the Pet Industry Network to hold women-focused pet business conference

    Women in the Pet Industry Network (WIPIN), an organization designed on women entrepreneurs in the pet industry, will be holding its 2nd annual women-focused pet business conference and awards show, titled "All About Growth," August 14-16, 2014, in Portland, Ore.
    Pet professionals from all career paths within the industry are invited to attend the three-day All About Growth Conference & Awards Show, where 24 business experts will deliver presentations on a variety of topics, such as business strategies, effective marketing, social media success and building connections. Attendees will also be provided the time to forge partnerships and delve into needs, niches and how to best collaborate with other pet professionals, vendors and sponsors.
    "There are more pets in American households than children, and pet parents are sparing no expense to ensure their four-legged friends feel safe, happy and loved," said Shawna Schuh, president of WIPIN. "The All About Growth Conference & Awards Show gives pet professionals the opportunity to talk, share and brag about their brand with some of the most influential businesswomen in the pet industry who will share that news with their own vast networks of pet parents and pet professionals, resulting in unlimited potential for business growth."

DOG for DOG wins 'Best in Show' at Global Pet Expo 2014

    DOG for DOG received the 2014 Global Pet Expo's top award, "Best in Show," in Global's New Product Showcase for dogs. The company celebrated the launch of its new DOGSFOOD all-natural premium kibble at the show.
    Presented by The American Pet Products Association (APPA) and the Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA), this is the first time the honor has been given to a dog food product in more than five years. Additionally, DOG for DOG donated its display, an eight-foot wall built out of bags of DOGSFOOD totaling 2,380 pounds of dog food, to eight local Florida dog charities. "Winning 'Best Product' at the Global Pet Expo further validates the fact that there is a strong need to help dogs in need and that our customers want to be a part of the solution," said Rocky Kanaka, president of DOG for DOG. "Our supporters can feel great when they purchase DOGSFOOD  because they know that they are providing premium, healthy food for their pets, while they are also helping feed dogs that are in shelters or part of rescue groups." 
    The 2014 expo saw 2,896 booths, more than 6,000 buyers and 3,000 new products.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Steve Dale encourages petfood industry to put a stop to consumer misconceptions with science, honesty

    Petfood Forum 2014 opened with the presentation, "Pet food is a religion: Why people care more about their dog's food than their own," by pet journalist and certified animal behaviorist, Steve Dale. After having his life changed by a Brittany Spaniel named Chaser and a piano-playing Devon Rex cat named Ricky, Dale started his career in the pet industry with a desire to help people who have pets with behavioral problems and to save pets' lives.
    Dale shared a lot about his pet parent audience-readers of his column and blog, and his radio listeners-and what he hears from them regarding their perceptions of pet nutrition and the petfood industry as a whole. "Facts are trumped by individual opinion, rumor, emotion, creativity-anything but scientific fact-and it spreads like a virus," said Dale. So how should the petfood industry respond? Dale suggests that petfood makers:
    1.       Communicate. "Be personal and honest and avoid lawyer language."
    2.       Bust internet myths. "Educate vets, trainers and animal behaviorists about nutrition, too."
    3.       Give consumers the facts. "Science doesn't need to be a bad word and neither do words like by-products."
    Dale also pointed out that during the 2007 petfood recalls, 80% of the questions he received were from consumers desperate for information. The more recent China chicken jerky treats illnesses and deaths in cats and dogs have once again raised mistrust among pet parents. This is the industry's chance to respond.

AFIA responds to FSMA animal food rule comment period extension denial

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has denied the request for an extension on the comment period for the FSMA animal food rule. The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) has responded to the denial, with Senior Vice President of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Richard Sellers expressing disappointment.
    "We are disappointed FDA did not grant the industry more time to review the 'Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals' proposed rule provided the agency themselves was given an extension by the courts," said Sellers. "FDA had more than two years to write the animal food rule while allotting the animal feed industry only five short months to review and submit comments on the rule. This faults in comparison to the human food rule, which had an 11-plus month comment period timeline."
    The FDA had already granted an extension beyond the original 120-day comment period, giving the industry an extra 33 days, to March 31, 2014. "FDA believes this total period of 153 day has provided ample opportunity for stakeholders to comment on the proposed rule," said the FDA. "In addition, FDA is under a consent decree issued by the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California Oakland publish the final rule for preventative controls for food for animals by August 30, 2015. As such, we need sufficient time to review, analyze and respond to the comments received, draft the final rule and move the rule forward through clearance to publish by the court-ordered deadline."
    According to Sellers, AFIA does not predict FDA will move forward with a re-proposal of the rule as there is not enough time given the court-mandated timeline. "However, FDA stated it will publish revised language for the proposed rule, which was a deciding factor in their denial of a second extension to the comment period deadline," said Sellers. "AFIA will be submitting comments by the March 31 deadline and has informed the agency that we will continue to filter feedback and comments after that date due to the enormity of the rule."

How to use primary research to drive product innovations

    On April 1, Art Bucci of Coating Excellence International (CEI) discussed how petfood industry companies can use primary research to drive product innovations at Petfood Forum 2014. 
    According to Bucci, companies should take an "outside-in approach" when it comes to developing and launching a new product or service. Bucci stressed that innovation is not merely just new product launches, rather innovation encompasses service, cost saving initiatives, sales management and much more.
    "Innovation doesn't have to be a product launch; it can be an easier way for your customer to do business," Bucci told attendees. "Innovate to the need of the market."
    Many companies already use published data, subscription services, the Internet and government records to understand consumer demands. But, Bucci says companies should take this a step further by augmenting and customizing research to better understand what customers need and how quickly they need it. It is important for companies to remember that one size does not fit all - what you do for bird seed may not work for dog food.
    Bucci said CEI's innovative process includes retail visits, focus groups, usability studies, voice of customer analysis and surveys, bridging the gap from public to customized research.