Monday, March 30, 2015

Spring Naturals now low glycemic, diabetic friendly

The entire super-premium line of dry Spring Naturals Dinners has been deemed low glycemic and diabetic friendly by the Glycemic Research Institute.
“Receiving dual approval from this influential organization is very gratifying for everyone involved in building this brand,” said Rob Cadenhead, vice president of sales and marketing at Spring Naturals. “But it’s especially good news for parents of older and overweight cats.”
Cat foods with a high-glycemic index lead to elevated blood glucose levels. This in turn can increase the risk of epilepsy, hypothyroidism, allergies, yeast infections, cancer and diabetes. Diets formulated with low glycemic ingredients are digested slower than high-glycemic foods, allowing all of the nutrients to be properly absorbed. When food is digested slower and the nutrients are properly absorbed, pets will remain fuller longer, which helps maintain weight control.
Nate Thomas, vice president of research and development adds, “With between 25% and 33% of cats being overweight and diabetes on the rise, it’s clear that we need to focus on nutrition and prevention. Feeding cats a certified low-glycemic, diabetic-friendly feline pet food like Spring Naturals can help regulate blood sugar levels and may help prevent obesity. Another thing to keep in mind is that cats give us so much affection at feeding times that it becomes very tempting for us to overfeed them. Helping our cats regulate their body weight by paying attention to their weight and overall health is a responsibility that we cannot ignore.”
The dry formulas submitted to the Glycemic Research Institute for testing were Spring Naturals Grain Free Turkey Dinner, Grain Free Turkey & Salmon Dinner, Grain Free Chicken Dinner, Grain Free Tuna & Chicken Dinner, and Grain Free Tuna Dinner.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Canada restricts raw petfood containing poultry products

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is implementing measures to protect Canada's poultry resources from an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza reported in poultry in the states of Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Minnesota, California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, USA.
Travelers should know that, due to this outbreak, all raw poultry and all poultry products and byproducts that are not fully cooked, including eggs and raw petfoods, sourced, processed or packaged from the states of Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Minnesota, California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington are under restriction until further notice. You may not bring these items into Canada.
These measures are a normal part of Canada's animal disease control efforts and are consistent with international guidelines on trade.
Examples of restricted items include:
  • Raw petfoods containing poultry products
  • Live birds and hatching eggs
  • Eggs, yolks, egg whites (albumen)
  • Poultry meat (other than fully cooked, canned, commercially sterile meat products)
  • Feathers
  • Poultry manure and litter
  • Laboratory material containing poultry products/byproducts
Live pet birds may be brought into Canada with official certification from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
Commercial imports of live poultry, birds and raw or untreated avian products are restricted from the specific quarantine zones within the states of Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Minnesota, California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington until further notice. Commercial importers should refer to the CFIA's Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) for more information on restricted products.
 There is no food safety risk associated with these products. These measures are being taken to prevent the introduction of avian influenza into other parts of Canada.

Senators ask for tougher FDA oversight of petfood

Two senators have asked the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to increase its oversight of petfood after a lawsuit accused Nestle Purina’s Beneful of harming and killing dogs.
Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, and Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, sent a letter to FDA asking it to investigate the claims and to provide an update on how it is implementing previous laws that require contamination prevention measures in petfood.
“To put it frankly, the food safety system Congress fought to develop has not been put in place by the FDA,” the senators wrote in the letter addressed to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg.
A class action lawsuit was filed February 4 by a California man alleging that Purina added propylene glycol, an automotive antifreeze component, to Beneful, causing illness and death to his dogs.
In response to the suit, Nestle Purina said: “We at Beneful want you, our valued customers, to know that this lawsuit is baseless; you can continue to feel confident feeding your dogs our food. We stand committed to our Brand, our products and your pets.”
The class action claims that the defendants have received more than 3,000 online complaints about their food making dogs sick throughout the past four years. In some cases, the dogs reportedly suffered internal bleeding, weight loss, dehydration and other symptoms. The suit alleges negligence, misrepresentation, product liability and unfair business practices. The plaintiff is seeking more than $5 million in damages, plus costs and fees.
“To our knowledge, the FDA has not issued any investigations, warnings, consumer guidance, or product recalls to address these alarming issues,” the senators wrote.
The letter cites the FDA Amendments Act of 2007, which requires various changes such as improving regulations for petfood safety, strengthening labeling requirements, establishing an early warning system for contaminated products, and setting ingredient and processing standards.
“However, eight years later, most provisions of the petfood safety law have not been implemented and protections Congress enacted are not in place, amid allegations of contaminated Beneful dry kibble,” the senators wrote.
 The eight kinds of dry Beneful food scrutinized in the lawsuit are Purina Beneful Healthy Smile, Healthy Fiesta, Healthy Growth for Puppies, Healthy Radiance, Healthy Weight, Incredibites, Original and Playful Life.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Moody’s downgrades J.M. Smucker

    Moody’s Investors Service downgraded J.M. Smucker by two notches to Baa2 on March 10, 2015, on expectations that the company’s debt-financed acquisition of Big Heart Pet Brands will increase leverage. J.M. Smucker agreed to buy Big Heart Pet Brands for US$3.2 billion in February.
    J.M. Smucker is expected to come to the bond market soon, as it has mandated banks to arrange US fixed income investor calls. Moody’s says J.M. Smucker’s leverage will rise to 4x earnings after the deal closes from 2.3x now.
    J.M. Smucker’s acquisition of Big Heart Pet Brands will be funded through a US$1.75 billion five-year bank term loan, and the bonds are expected to refinance a US$3.75 billion bridge loan, according to a report.
    "Other key considerations include the recent high earnings volatility in the company's coffee business and significant integration and execution risks related to its entree into the attractive, but highly competitive, pet food industry where Big Heart competes against larger companies and stronger brands in mainstream and specialty pet foods," Moody's said.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Acquisition of PetSmart by BC Partners complete

    The acquisition of PetSmart Inc. by a consortium led by BC Partners was completed on March 11, 2015.
    PetSmart shareholders will receive $83 per share in cash, representing a premium of approximately 39% over PetSmart’s unaffected closing share price on July 2, 2014. The transaction was approved by PetSmart stockholders at a special meeting of stockholders held on March 6, 2015. As a result of the completion of the acquisition, the common stock of PetSmart will no longer be listed for trading on NASDAQ and PetSmart expects no further trading after the close of business on March 11, 2015.
    “Today is an important day in PetSmart’s history. We are committed to actively investing in long-term growth opportunities for PetSmart and delivering for its customers and their pets for many years to come,” said Raymond Svider, a managing partner at BC Partners.
    PetSmart’s David K. Lenhardt will step down from his role as president and CEO. He will be replaced by Michael J. Massey. Svider will become non-executive chairman of the board of directors.
    “I have been honored and privileged to lead this great company,” Lenhardt said. “My 15-year journey with PetSmart is filled with wonderful memories of our passionate associates who represent the best and brightest in retail. I am confident that PetSmart will continue to lead the industry by creating more moments for people to be inspired by pets."
    Massey, who will be based at PetSmart headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, said: “I am honored today to be appointed to this role and look forward to building upon the heritage and reputation that PetSmart has established as the most admired pet retailer. I am excited to work closely with the PetSmart team to bring the brand ever closer to the hearts of pet parents everywhere. I’m confident that PetSmart’s future will be one defined by growth, increased opportunities for our team and closer emotional connections with our customers.”
    Massey joins PetSmart with more than 25 years of experience in the retail industry, with specific expertise in using research and insights to develop a more personalized, holistic customer experience.

Rações Zêzere opens factory for pet food subsidiary

    Portugal’s Rações Zêzere has launched a new factory for its petfood subsidiary, Maxipet, in Ferreira do Zezere, Portugal. The factory’s equipment was designed by FAMSUN, a Chinese company specializing in livestock feed production.
    Rações Zêzere, government-owned and one of Portugal's largest conglomerates, was founded in 1981 and is an industry leader in Portugal's animal feed and egg production. The company produces more than 200 products that are internationally recognized and command significant market share throughout Portugal and neighboring areas in Europe. In 2014, total sales reached EUR250 million (US$265.6 million).
    “Maxipet's project has received investment of more than EUR5 million,” Maxipet CEO Luis Guilherme said at the opening ceremony. “The factory totals 45,000 square meters, including a 5,500-square-meter workshop. FAMSUN's machinery will produce 8-10 tons of pet feed per hour, allowing Maxipet to meet 60% of the market demand and Rações Zêzere to strengthen its market position in line with European standards. The company will continue to produce high-quality petfood while minimizing production costs, which will overall ensure maximum profits and a solid future."
    This is FAMSUN’s first petfood production line, which signifies the European market's importance to the company.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dogswell acquires two pet products companies

    Dogswell L.L.C., a premium, high-quality pet consumables company, has acquired Natural American Pet Products (NAPP) and Natural Life Pet Products (NLPP). The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
    Natural American Pet Products is an SQF-certified production plant based in Joplin, Missouri, USA, that develops and produces high-quality premium chicken, beef, and duck pet treats. Founded in 1986, Natural Life Pet Products is based in Pittsburg, Kansas, USA, and specializes in premium, nutritious and flavorful petfood and treats using all natural ingredients.
    “We are thrilled to welcome NAPP and NLPP into the Dogswell family,” said Brad Casper, CEO of Dogswell. “The additions of NAPP and NLPP give our company vertical integration in the premium, high-quality pet treat space. This will further our mission of providing pet parents with a continued and increasing supply of innovative, great-tasting petfood and treats, including jerky and other delicious and nutritious propositions.”
    “We are excited about this new chapter in our company’s evolution,” said Kaleb Terlip, chief operating officer for NAPP/NLPP. “Dogswell represents an ideal fit for our employees, vendors and loyal pet parents, and this transaction will enable us to significantly increase production capabilities to support a rapidly growing portfolio of premium pet treats.”
    Based in Los Angeles, Califoria, USA, Dogswell markets and sells brands under the Dogswell, Happy Hips, Vitality, Nutrisca, and LiveFree brand names throughout the USA and Canada.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Wellness introduces TruFood, expands CORE line

    Wellness Natural Pet Food had debuted a new product line, TruFood, and has expanded its CORE product line.
    Wellness TruFood features whole prey protein, raw produce and antioxidants. It is blended by hand and baked in small batches to create delicious, natural meals. Made with colorful ingredients you can see like chicken, beets, coconut oil, kale, pumpkin and live active yogurt cultures, TruFood recipes are living proof that real nutrition is the most fundamental source of health and happiness for your pets.
    “Our new Wellness TruFood line helps provide pets with the wholesome, natural, grain-free nutrition they need to support their overall health and well-being,” says Camelle Kent, chief commercial officer at WellPet. “Real nutrition—nutrition you can see through vibrantly colored fruits and vegetables and whole prey proteins—is the most fundamental source of health and happiness for your pets. We’re thrilled to unveil our newest recipes for dogs and cats of all sizes, palates and stages of life.”
    The new Wellness TruFood line for dogs and cats is natural, grain-free and offered in a variety of sizes and flavors to accommodate any pet’s palate across all stages of life. Available at pet specialty retailers nationwide in April, Trufood features four categories of food options: Baked Blends, Tasting Pairings Wet Food, RAW Goodness treats, and CocoChia Bakes treats.
    CORE is Wellness Pet Food’s popular grain-free, protein-focused line, which now includes air dried toppers for dogs and cats and two varieties of wet recipes for dogs, all packed with high-quality protein and balanced with fresh fruits and vegetables.
    The new additions, which will be available at pet specialty retailers nationwide in April, can all be served as complete and balanced meals, tender toppers or protein-rich treats.

New Purina pet food promotes older dogs’ mental sharpness

    Nestle Purina PetCare has introduced Purina Pro Plan BRIGHT MIND Adult 7+ dog food, with enhanced botanical oils shown to promote alertness and mental sharpness in dogs age 7 and up, with visible results within 30 days.
    Around age seven, a dog’s glucose metabolism in the brain begins to change, which can affect memory, learning, awareness or decision-making.
    After years of research, Purina experts have discovered that fatty acids derived from botanical oils, called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), can be used in addition to glucose as an energy source for the brain. As part of an older dog's total nutrition, MCTs have been shown to promote alertness and mental sharpness in older dogs age 7 and up.
    When added to the daily diet of dogs age 7 and older, MCTs promoted memory, attention and trainability. Owners who feed a Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind formula may notice differences in owner-dog interaction, interest in play and the ability to adapt and cope with change.
    The food features high-quality protein, including chicken as the first ingredient; enhanced botanical oils shown to promote alertness and mental sharpness in dogs age 7 and up within 30 days; EPA, an omega-3 fatty acid, and glucosamine help support joint health and mobility; vitamin A and linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, for healthy skin and coat; and natural prebiotic fiber, sourced from wheat bran, to help promote digestive health.
    Purina Pro Plan BRIGHT MIND Adult 7+ Chicken & Rice Formula and Large Breed Formula are available at pet specialty retailers nationwide.

APPA: 50% more households have pets

    A survey by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) shows 79.7 million pet-owning households, representing a 50% gain over the past two decades.
    Noteworthy findings from the 2015-2016 National Pet Owners Survey include an increase in the number of new and younger pet owners. The study found that more than 10% of pet owners are new pet owners, which equates to almost 8 million new pet owners within the past year, the majority of which are Gen Y and Gen X. The survey also reports that the average length of pet ownership is shorter for some pet types than in previous studies, which is suggestive of new owners entering the marketplace.
    “This is really exciting as the industry as a whole has been trying to engage Gen Y in pet ownership the way generations before them did,” said Bob Vetere, APPA president and CEO. “These numbers demonstrate huge potential for the industry to grow with up-and-coming, new pet owners.”

    Generational differences

    According to the survey, this generation tends to pamper and spend more on their pets than their parents and grandparents. A Gen Y dog or cat owner spends more to purchase their pet; takes them to the vet more often; buys more toys, gifts and care items; and utilizes more services than Gen X, Baby Boomers and Builders.
    “This generation also likes high-tech gadgets like pet cams and electronic health monitoring collars, and convenience products to take their pets with them or care for them while they’re gone,” said Vetere. “This opens the door for innovation in products and services as well.”
    One inevitable fact to come out of this year’s survey is that the historically largest population of pet owners, Baby Boomers (comprising 37% of pet owners), may be nearing the point where they are no longer able or willing to care for a pet. This may partially explain a slight decrease in overall pet ownership over the past two years.
    “We knew this was coming as the generation that started the humanization and pampering of pets is aging,” said Vetere. “But, what’s important to note is that this is only one number over 20 years and is by no means indicative of a trend. In fact, the growing incidence of pet owners among the younger generations is so encouraging, we are extremely optimistic about the future of pet ownership and the industry that stands to serve those pets and their owners.”

    Social media, businesses play a role

    New data from the 2015-16 survey reveals a growing prevalence of online and social media networks used to find pets and pet products with websites, product review sites and Facebook pages leading the charge. But emerging channels including blogs, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram are gaining growth as well.
    The Survey also shows that more places of business are catering to pets. Eight percent of current pet owners report that their workplace allows pets. Twenty-eight percent of dog owners have been to a pet-friendly hotel and 9% have dined at a pet-friendly restaurant.

    Economy no longer a factor

    What no longer seems to be a factor on pet spending is the state of the economy. According to the survey, more pet owners, 74%, report they are not influenced by the economy when it comes to their pets. Furthermore, fewer pet owners report spending less money on their pet or that they did not get a pet or had to give up their pet due to economic factors. With regard to spending money on their pets, many owners report increased or consistent spending across all pet types.

    Pets good for our health

    Another relatively new finding from this survey along with research conducted by the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI), supported in part by APPA, finds that not only do more pet owners believe pets are good for our health, so do doctors. Along with 64% of pet owners in the National Pet Owners Survey saying the health benefits of pets are important to them, according to a survey of 1,000 family doctors and general practitioners, 97% of doctors polled believe in the health benefits of pet ownership and 60% would recommend a pet to improve overall health.
    “The body of science validating that pets are good for us is growing with strong research in numerous areas of health,” said Vetere. “Studies now exist that show pets can help improve our cardiovascular health, improve immunity in young children and assist with therapy for autistic children and people suffering from PTSD. Our desire to take better care of our pets and the joys and benefits they provide are continuing to work together to grow pet ownership and keep this great industry strong.”

Friday, March 20, 2015

Pet industry spending more than US$58 billion in 2014

    Overall spending in the pet industry for 2014 exceeded US$58 billion, according to the annual comprehensive report from the American Pet Products Association (APPA).
    “The pet industry continues to outpace most other retail segments and for 2015 we are projecting to surpass the $60 billion mark which demonstrates the strength and vitality of this industry,” said Bob Vetere, APPA president and CEO.
    Pet services, which includes grooming, boarding, walking, training, daycare and spa services for pets, saw the largest growth again this year and exceeded expectations at close to 10%.  It is expected to grow another 8% this year.  Second only to pet services growth is veterinary care spending, at just under 5% growth from 2013.  Even though visits to the vet have been flat to down recently, expenditures per visit continue to go up as more expensive procedures grow in popularity. As in years past, veterinary care spending is the second highest spending segment in the pet industry, and is expected to grow another 4.6% to over $15.7 billion in 2015.
    The food category is by far the leading source of dollars spent within the industry.  As the pet industry continues to mirror human food and diet trends, pet owners are becoming more aware of the quality and source of food given to their animal companions.  Petfood manufacturers are offering new varieties of food for dietary preferences, medical issues, overall health, and other partialities, and pet owners are paying for these options.
    Supplies and OTC medications comes in third both for amount spent on this segment and percentage growth in 2013 from 2014.The supplies categories can include anything from dog and cat beds, bowls, and collars to fish tanks, terrariums, and bird toys.
    “Increases in spending are being led by both ends of the pet owning spectrum -- aging baby boomers paying more to provide care for their pets and younger Gen Y owners who prefer the conveniences of high-tech and pampering products and services,” said Vetere.
    As for the decline seen in live animal purchases, Vetere says that although they anticipated this, there are only theories explaining why, ranging from a decline in pet types available from shelters or breeders, a growing number of pet sale bans, and longer pet lifespans due to improved health care.

AFIA webinar to discuss Safe Feed/Safe Food

    The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) will host a Safe Feed/Safe Food webinar April 7, at 2 p.m. EST, to discuss its recent certification program updates. The webinar -- coordinated by the Safe Quality Food Institute -- will address the major changes to the FSC36 Safe Feed/Safe Food guidance document, how the changes will impact facilities and the purpose behind the newly revised guidance document.
    Changes to the program are listed in the FSC36 Safe Feed/Safe Food guidance document and include updates to the registration and certification process, implementation process, introduction to the guidance document, guidance document for FSC36, glossary and use of seal or logo.
    "The implementation process now provides facilities with a more user-friendly format by allowing auditors to spend additional time reviewing documentation and manufacturing processes, and streamlining the program to support compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act. In addition, the ‘self-audit’ has been replaced with a ‘surveillance audit,’ which will be completed by the certifying body," said Henry Turlington, AFIA director of quality and manufacturing regulatory affairs.
    The new FSC36 Safe Feed/Safe Food guidance document will assist facilities with designing, developing, implementing and maintaining a quality and feed safety program that complies with the desired requirements of the program, and assist auditors with auditing locations seeking certification for FSC36 Safe Feed/Safe Food. There are numerous examples provided within the guidance document to assist facilities with preparation for compliance with the requirements.
    Register for the webinar here.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Wellness Natural launches well pet campaign

    Wellness Natural Pet Food has launched "Five Signs of Wellness," an effort to educate pet parents on the visible indicators of overall health and well-being in their pets: skin and coat health; digestive health; energy; immunity; and eyes, teeth and gum health.
    "Pets are members of our families and it's important that we understand how to recognize the signs of their overall health," says Camelle Kent, chief commercial officer at Wellness Natural Pet Food. "Veterinarian visits only happen once or twice a year, but you can see the 'Five Signs of Wellness' in your pet every single day."
    Balanced nutrition through quality ingredients like protein-rich meats and whole fruits and vegetables is the key to a long, happy life for pets and their parents alike. Foods that are made with wholesome, natural and consciously sourced ingredients give pets the nutrients they need.
    By discovering the "Five Signs of Wellness" and all the ways to notice them in pets, pet parents can learn to identify when their pet is happy and healthy:
    • Skin and coat: Clear skin and a soft, shiny coat are signs that pets are getting enough essential vitamins, minerals and fatty acids in their diet.
    • Digestive health: Upset stomachs can slow your pet down; regularity in their digestive system is supported by probiotics, prebiotics and fiber in their diets.
    • Eyes, teeth and gums: Clear eyes with no excess tearing, and clean teeth and gums with no inflammation are signs that they're getting proper essential nutrients.
    • Immunity: A strong immune system, supported by essential vitamins and minerals, means less downtime and more playtime for your pet.
    • Energy: Enough energy to keep up with the family is a sign that you pet is getting balanced nutrition from high-quality proteins and carbohydrates.

Central Garden & Pet’s short interest drops 6.2%

    Central Garden & Pet Co.’s short figure has dropped 6.2%, or 82,022 shares, taking it from 1,314,372 on January 30, 2015, to 1,232,350 on February 13, 2015.
    In terms of floated shares, the short interest was calculated to be 3.7%. The days to cover are 6 given that the daily volume averaged 195,059 shares.
    The short interest has registered a change of -3.4% for the month. The total shorted shares measure up to 0.025 times the outstanding shares. Over the preceding 3 months, short interest has changed to -1.52%. The company has a short ratio of 7.46. A low ratio indicates that the short interest is still on the lower end while a high ratio represents aggressive short positions. The daily volume has averaged 151,190 shares in the last 20 days. The volume in the preceding 20 trading sessions has been calculated at 0.3% of the total outstanding shares.
    Shares of Central Garden & Pet ended the trading session with a loss of 0.09 points or 0.92% at $9.68. The shares had previously closed at $9.77. Shares have dropped 0.41% during the last week of February, however, the bigger picture is still very bullish; the shares have posted positive gains of 6.37% in the past four weeks. The counter has underperformed the S&P 500 by 0.14% during the past week but Central Garden & Pet has outperformed the index in four weeks by 0.84%.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Big Heart Pet Brands net income down in third quarter

    Big Heart Pet Brands’ third quarter net income was US$33 million, down from US$34.2 million the previous year.
    The company’s operating income was up 26.8% to US$104.5 million, driven partially by new products sales. Net sales were up 2.5% to US$589.9 million, due to the success of Milk-Bone Brushing Chews, the relaunch of Milo's Kitchen, Meow Mix Tender Centers with Vitality Bursts, and Kibbles n' Bits American Grill.
    “Big Heart Pet Brands delivered solid results as our investments in innovation continued to build momentum,” said Dave West, president and CEO of Big Heart Pet Brands. “Our snacks portfolio, particularly Milk-Bone and Milo’s Kitchen, once again delivered strong growth as we continue to expand our leadership in dog snacks.”
    In February, the J.M. Smucker Company announced that it will acquire Big Heart Pet Brands for US$5.8 billion, including US$2.6 billion of net debt. The purchase marks Smucker's entrance into the petfood and snacks category and expands its overall presence in consumer packaged goods.
    “We are looking forward to joining Smucker,” West said. “Given the strong alignment of the companies’ purpose and values, I’m confident that Smucker is a great fit. Our iconic petfood and snack brands have significant growth potential and Smucker will provide the resources as well as the scale to help our brands continue to grow.”

Canidae hires Umpf to launch brand in UK market

    Canidae has hired UK communications agency Umpf to help it as it enters the UK market at the Crufts dog show March 5-8, 2015.
    The company will launch its Grain Free Pure dog and cat food brands with trade and consumer public relations, social media and event activation, leading into a bigger campaign that will use traditional and digital channels to play up the products’ quality and grain-free attributes.
    Canidae is working with Pedigree Wholesale, the UK’s largest pet and aquatic wholesaler. The distributor also will handle day-to-day marketing of Grain Free Pure, along with Umpf.
    Steve Brown, managing director of Pedigree Wholesale, said the foods would benefit from a “fantastic distribution network.”
    "There is a huge potential in the UK for what is, for the moment at least, a challenger brand and we have some really exciting campaigns lined up to raise the profile of Canidae in the UK," Brown added.
    Texas-based Canidae was founded 18 years ago. It is available in more than 10,000 stores in the US, and sells nearly 100 formulated dry and canned petfoods, plus treats.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Petfood Forum to feature Student Program

    Petfood ForumPetfood Industry magazine and WATT Global Media will host students from animal nutrition, packaging and process technology programs at leading universities during Petfood Forum.
    The goal of this pilot program at Petfood Forum is to create an industry destination for students interested in the petfood industry as a career, and to make it easier for students to attend Petfood Forum educational conference, networking activities and the exhibition.
    While at Petfood Forum, students can meet with industry professionals while also gaining professional connections that will help to make the petfood industry a viable choice.
    Petfood Forum Student Program participating universities include Iowa State University, Kansas State University, University of Illinois, University of Minnesota, University of Missouri, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Arkansas and Texas A&M University.
    The program is sponsored by Extru-TechTrouw NutritionWenger3D Corporate Solutions and DSM, and is presented by Petfood Industry magazine and WATT Global Media.

Petfood Forum to feature Student Program

    Petfood ForumPetfood Industry magazine and WATT Global Media will host students from animal nutrition, packaging and process technology programs at leading universities during Petfood Forum.
    The goal of this pilot program at Petfood Forum is to create an industry destination for students interested in the petfood industry as a career, and to make it easier for students to attend Petfood Forum educational conference, networking activities and the exhibition.
    While at Petfood Forum, students can meet with industry professionals while also gaining professional connections that will help to make the petfood industry a viable choice.
    Petfood Forum Student Program participating universities include Iowa State University, Kansas State University, University of Illinois, University of Minnesota, University of Missouri, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Arkansas and Texas A&M University.
    The program is sponsored by Extru-TechTrouw NutritionWenger3D Corporate Solutions and DSM, and is presented by Petfood Industry magazine and WATT Global Media.

Open Farm’s petfood is ethically raised and sourced

    Open Farm, a Canadian-based family-run company, touts its ethically raised and sourced petfood. The company says it uses humanely and sustainably farmed meats, ocean-caught fish and local vegetables, allowing pet parents to feed their pets premium food while also doing some good for farm animals, family farms and the environment.
    “As an animal lover and ethical eater, it was very important that Open Farm work only with farmers who raise their animals in accordance with strict ethical and humane standards,” said co-founder Jacqueline Prehogan. “To give pet parents 100% comfort in where their pet’s food comes from, our farm-to-bowl supply chain is audited and certified by third-party organizations specializing in humane animal care and sustainable farming practices, such as Certified Humane.”
    The Certified Humane label assures consumers that all of the meat and poultry used in Open Farm products comes from animals fed a vegetarian diet, free of antibiotics and growth hormones, and that live naturally with space, shelter and gentle handling.
    For its fish sources, Open Farm uses a “catch of the day” model that uses exclusively ocean-caught, seasonally sourced fish in collaboration with Ocean Wise and the Vancouver Aquarium. This maintains the company’s commitment to aquatic animal welfare and the health of the oceans.
    Open Farm has launched a full-sale program to manage its environmental footprint, and it has partnered with TerraCycle to provide customers with a free and easy way to recycle their bags, converting them into new products.
    Open Farm is available in Canada and will launch in the US at Global Pet Expo.

Partner in Pet Food up for sale

    Partner in Pet Food (PPF) has been put up for sale by private equity firm Advent International, according to reports.
    PPF, a Hungarian company that has eight facilities in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and the Netherlands and a sales office in Poland, produces wet and dry private label petfood.
    PPF generates an estimated annual operating income of EUR30 million to EUR35 million (US$33.2 million to US$38.7 million), which could translate into an asking price of more than EUR300 million, reports have said.
    Advent bought PPF from Permira in 2011 for EUR188 million. In 2014, PPF reported sales of EUR235 million. Its volume totals approximately 430,000 tons per year.
    The company employs 1,000 people and exports its products to 32 countries. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

RECALL: Primal Pet Foods recalls raw frozen cat food

    Company voluntarily recalling single lot due to low thiamine levels

    Primal Pet Foods is voluntarily recalling a single batch production code of Feline Turkey Raw Frozen Formula 3-pound bag. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tested product in response to a single consumer complaint. Primal Pet Foods was alerted by FDA that the testing of two bags of this lot resulted in a low thiamine level. Neither FDA nor Primal have received any other reports concerning thiamine in Primal products. No other product manufactured by Primal Pet Foods is involved in this voluntary recall.
    Only the product with the following Best By date and production code is included in the recall:
    Primal Pet Foods Feline Turkey Raw Frozen Formula 3-pound bag (UPC# 8 50334-00414 0) with Best By date 060815 B22
    "Primal takes very seriously the need for adequate thiamine levels in our feline diets," said the company. "We include organic quinoa sprout powder as a natural B-complex supplement to ensure that adequate levels of thiamine are met. Additionally, thiamine occurs naturally in other ingredients contained in our Feline Turkey Formula, such as turkey muscle meat (including heart), turkey liver, organic sunflower seeds, dried organic kelp, organic collard greens and organic squash."
    Consumers who still have bags of cat food from this lot should stop feeding it to their cats and call Primal at 866.566.4652 Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. PST. Consumers with further questions should visit the company's website at or call at the same number.

PetSmart launches Partners in Pethood campaign

    PetSmart has launched its Partners in Pethood – pet parenthood – campaign, featuring actresses Anna Faris and Jennifer Coolidge.
    “The idea of Partners in Pethood is based on a simple premise: 'Parents of Pets' are a lot like parents of children and they love their pets as much as parents love their kids,” said Phil Bowman, PetSmart executive vice president, customer experience. “Our experiences with pethood are told through different types of pet parents, from the new, concerned pet parents to the ‘cool’ pet parents. They might be a little eccentric, but they’re definitely entertaining and – we hope – endearing.”
    The PetSmart Partners in Pethood story, created by advertising agency GSD&M, begins with a series of short films and ads that feature relatable pet parents in the throes of pethood – highlighting relatable antics such as the over-protective parent, new parents and the overly competitive mom. These stories are brought to life by the recognizable improv of GO Film director Christopher Guest, actor, director, writer, musician and composer. Guest is joined in two spots by Faris and Coolidge.
    In the journey of pethood, PetSmart says it is the partner of choice because of its knowledgeable associates, wide range of services and stocking customers’ favorite brands – whether their kids have two legs or four, whether they have fur, scales or feathers.
    “The PetSmart Partners in Pethood campaign is based on the fact that just like with kids, pet parents want the best for their pets. They don’t always know what they should be doing, but as their partner, we can help them through it all,” said David Lenhardt, PetSmart president and CEO. “At PetSmart, we’re every pet parent’s partner, and we’re here to share in the joy, here to help them find solutions and, ultimately, here to have fun with them during their journey through pethood.”
    PetSmart’s new campaign launched on TV and through a fully integrated campaign featured in five 2-minute mini-films online and carried through print, digital and social media.

Ebos Group posts 12% higher profits for first half

    Health care and animal care products company Ebos Group posted a 12% increase in first-half profit, due to growth in both divisions and lower finance costs.
    The company said it expects similar growth in the second half, which would make full-year earnings more than US$92 million.
    The company will pay a first-half dividend of 22 cents per share, up 7.3% from a year earlier. Ebos shares rose 4.17% to $10 after the first-half results were released, which showed sales and earnings beat some estimates.
    The company's animal care unit saw an 8% rise in revenue to $191 million and a 7.5% gain in earnings before interest and tax to $15 million.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Burda to exit stake in rapidly growing Zooplus

    German publisher Hubert Burda plans to exit its 30 percent stake in online pet supplies store Zooplus, according to a Reuters report.
    Zooplus has seen shares rise 80% in the past year, valuing the company at EUR639 million (US$726 million). Its sales reportedly rose 34% in 2014 to EUR571 million. Because of its rapid growth, Burda’s digital chief Stefan Winners said, Burda would rather invest in expansion than pay a dividend.
    "We want to invest in digital businesses that also make dividends possible," Winners told Reuters.
    Burda said it intends to make its exit within the next two to three years.

PetsPrefer adds soft chew supplements to product line

    The PetsPrefer line of products for dogs and cats now includes soft chew supplements for cats and several new soft chews for dogs to join the original six formulations.
    For a proactive approach to oral health, PetsPrefer offers dental sticks for dogs and dental treats for cats. Rounding out the line are a series of grooming products including non-drying shampoos, fish oil and protective paw balm. All of the products are veterinarian formulated with no soy, corn, gluten or added sugars.
    “The market for gluten free is growing. Our supplements are formulated to meet what pet parents expect in terms of quality ingredients,” Dale Metz, director of companion animal business unit at manufacturer Vets Plus Inc., said. “With the addition of these new products, we’re able to offer a more complete line of pet care options so that it’s easier for retailers to select the ideal mix for their customers.”
    The PetsPrefer line initially was launched to bring nutritional supplement options to pets. The line extension includes a variety of grain-free supplement options to maintain everyday health and immune function as well as lean treats. The jerky bites for dogs, available in four flavors featuring real Wisconsin cheese, include functional ingredients rosemary and lecithin that support cognitive function. Four delicious flavors of treats have been added for cats, two of which contain functional ingredients to support dental health while the other two contain probiotics.
    “Dogs and cats love the flavors, and they’re getting a nutritional benefit with each treat,” Metz said.
    With the addition of nearly two dozen products for dogs and cats, the line has also received a playful new design featuring characters that evoke the personality of the brand. The packaging is clean, with two bright colors to easily distinguish between products for dogs and cats. The soft chews are available in 30- to 60-count jars and the treats and dental sticks are packaged in re-sealable bags.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Protein For Pets offers free same-day home delivery

    Protein For Pets has introduced a free same-day home delivery service for its more than 200 natural formulas of high-quality dry, raw and wet petfoods.
    Initially, home delivery is available Monday through Saturday to customers who live within a designated area that includes the Simi Valley North Border, the Thousand Oaks/Agoura Southern Border, the Agoura Hills Eastern Border and the Ventura West Border in California, USA.
     “The decision to offer home delivery makes sense for Protein For Pets which was created to fill a void in the retail landscape for an independent petfood and supply store that is strictly driven by customers’ needs and convenience,” said Marco Giannini, founder and CEO of Protein For Pets. “We value our busy customers and their time and remain committed to enhancing their shopping experience while making it as convenient as possible.”
    Residents of those areas who place a minimum order of $60 by 3 p.m. will receive their orders delivered to their doorsteps the same day for free.  For orders less than $60, there is a service fee of $4.95. Delivery of raw pet foods may require an additional $4 cooler charge.
    Protein For Pets provides a unique, easy and customer-friendly shopping experience that offers poultry, meat, fish and exotic sections among others stocked with national and specialty brands including Blue Buffalo, Nutrisource, Earthborn, Stella & Chewy and Primal. Protein For Pets also organizes its product, all of which have no corn, no soy, no wheat and no animal by-products, within each section by varying price points to meet every budget.
    While the focus is on food, Protein For Pets also offers an exclusive selection of healthy and natural treats, toys, supplies and grooming products.
    Protein For Pets has stores in Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Ventura, Anaheim, Rancho Cucamonga, Laguna Niguel, San Clemente, Rancho San Diego and Santa Clarita.

Petnet to acquire SlimDoggy

    Petnet has entered into an agreement to acquire SlimDoggy Inc., giving Petnet access to SlimDoggy’s petfood database and patent pending technology, which the company plans to incorporate into its “Smart” line of pet products.
    Together, Petnet and SlimDoggy aim to make feeding a pet and selecting appropriate petfood as simple and convenient as possible. The acquisition allows Petnet to leverage the data and methodologies SlimDoggy has developed into an innovative pet feeding system that empowers pet owners to improve the overall health of their pets through proper diet.
    In the U.S., pet owners are estimated to have spent nearly $24 billion on petfood in 2014. As the industry continues to grow, data indicates that there are now more pets than children in U.S. households, with 180 million dogs and cats in the U.S. and more households owning a pet than having children. Additionally, consumer spending on smart home systems and products is expected to hit $39 billion by 2019.
    Petnet addresses the food-related needs of this growing demographic using a combination of petfood data and sensors to make proper pet feeding simple and convenient. The Petnet SmartFeeder ensures proper servings of the correct food, and alerts the pet owner when the food supply is running low and will automatically have more delivered to the pet owner’s door when it is needed.
    "Our acquisition of SlimDoggy helps us to accelerate our vision of using technology to build a better world for pets,” said Carlos Herrera, founder and CEO of Petnet. “We’re deploying a sensor-enabled system powered by SlimDoggy’s data that will guide pet owners to the perfect food recipe for their pet, help them maintain healthy portions, and automatically deliver food to their home when they need it. It's the epitome of the connected home and the future of commerce.”
    The majority of pet owners are unaware of the correct portion size and quality of food to feed their pet. In the U.S., more than one-half of the dogs and cats are overweight or obese, which leads to 15 percent shorter lifespans, and increased risk of disease including diabetes, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular problems, and even some forms of cancer.
    “The amount and type of petfood is the single biggest decision a pet owner can make to impact their pet’s health. With the long and confusing petfood labels, consumers are left to guess when trying to make intelligent, healthy food and portion control decisions,” said Steve Pelletier, founder and CEO of SlimDoggy Inc. “We are excited to work closely with Petnet to improve the way petfood is served, evaluated and purchased, all the while helping to keep pets as healthy as possible.”

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Class action alleges Purina’s Beneful harmful, deadly to dogs

    A California man has filed a class action lawsuit against Nestle Purina Petcare Co., alleging unsafe petfood manufacturing and distribution. The suit was filed February 4, 2015.
    The plaintiff, Frank Lucido claims that Purina’s Beneful dog food injured his three dogs. He claims Purina added propylene glycol, an automotive antifreeze component, to Beneful. Lucido says two of his dogs suffered and one of his dogs died after ingesting Beneful beginning January 15, 2015.
    The class action claims that the defendants have received more than 3,000 online complaints about their food making dogs sick throughout the past four years. In some cases, the dogs reportedly suffered internal bleeding, weight loss, dehydration and other symptoms. The suit alleges negligence, misrepresentation, product liability and unfair business practices. The plaintiff is seeking more than $5 million in damages, plus costs and fees.

Backer’s Total Pet Expo 2015 postponed

    H.H. Backer Associates Inc. has postponed its fall 2015 pet industry trade show, Total Pet Expo. It will be repositioned to better service industry changes. The next show was scheduled for September 25-27, 2015, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois, USA.
    "This was a very challenging decision, as the pet industry has been dear to my heart for practically my entire life,” said Patty Backer, president. "But it is time for me to take a year off to explore other avenues of growth and creativity.”
    Backer added that she would be part of "a new, exciting event for the industry” tentatively scheduled for 2016. "It’s truly a case of one door closing and another opening, and I’m really looking forward to this new venture,” she said.
    Companies that have already contracted for booth space for the 2015 show will receive a full refund.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Jackson Galaxy: how petfood companies can help needy pets

    Jackson Galaxy, star of My Cat From Hell and keynote speaker for Petfood Forum 2015, believes that, in addition to donating petfood and money to organizations that care for and support homeless pets, petfood companies can encourage their employees to volunteer for such groups or foster homeless pets.
    “I think what the workers can do on a personal level is what everybody should be doing—which is volunteer, foster,” Galaxy said. “You know, make the job easier on the people [who work at shelters] and the animals. And also, it connects you in a way that doing other things may not. Whatever it is that you can do. If your heart can’t stand going into an animal shelter, I get it. And if that means just opening your wallet and spreading the word, God bless you for doing that.
    “That said, if you can, you do exactly what I’m asking everybody to do, which is to take one step over your personal challenge line,” he continued. “I talk about the challenge line a lot with cats on my show, and if you have a challenge line, you take one step over what you might be comfortable with. For instance, if every day, you leave to go for work and you see that same cat under a car down the street, and every day, you put down a little bit of food for that cat, what’s that next step?”
    Galaxy, who will present his Petfood Forum keynote on Tuesday, April 28, gave examples such as finding out how to trap, neuter and return the cat to the neighborhood or making neighbors aware of stray cats in the neighborhood so all could decide how to best help the cats. He also stressed the need for fostering homeless pets. “Man, we need foster parents like you wouldn’t believe.”
    Later in the morning of April 28, after Galaxy speaks, Petfood Forum participants can enjoy a visit with pets from two Kansas City area humane organizations: Great Plains SPCA and the Kansas City Pet Project, whose innovative work helping homeless pets was lauded by Galaxy. The groups’ visit is sponsored by Trouw Nutrition USA.
    For more information or to register for Pefood Forum, visit

Blue Buffalo launches Shelter Starts to celebrate pet adoption

    Blue Buffalo has launched BLUE Shelter Stars, a website celebrating pet adoption and the work of America’s animal shelters.
    With so many homeless pets across the country, pet parents are making a difference in the lives of animals that deserve a second chance. The website gives pet parents the opportunity to share the love of their adopted dogs and cats, uploading photos, videos and stories about their own “Shelter Stars.”
    In addition to community-generated content, the website will serve as an information hub about animal shelters and rescues, pet adoption and more.
    "Over the years, we've helped place over 2.5 million pets in forever homes through our animal welfare initiatives," said David Petrie, vice president, Blue Buffalo Co. "We look forward to continuing our work with animal shelters and celebrate pet parents who choose to adopt."
    The website launches in anticipation of the Blue Buffalo-sponsored NBC TV special, “Best in Shelter,” hosted by animal welfare advocate and former NBC correspondent, Jill Rappaport. The show highlights pet adoption centers from around the country and includes appearances from celebrity animal lovers Betty White, Lindsey Vonn and others. One dog from each shelter will be named "Best in Shelter" and win a one-year supply of a food-filled care package from Blue Buffalo.

2 new NASC websites provide information on pet supplements

    When it comes to the supplements people are giving their beloved dogs, cats, horses and other companion animals, pet parents want to know these products are providing their intended benefits from companies they can trust.
    The National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) has introduced two new websites focused on people making buying decisions to help ensure confidence in the products they buy and help provide credible information to animal owners. The NASC Quality Seal certifies not only what is taking place behind the scenes during their manufacturing process, NASC’s Preferred Supplier Program helps members use quality raw materials that come from trusted suppliers.
    NASC also buys and randomly tests products to make sure they meet label claims for ingredients.
    In the growing pet supplements market, challenges include regulatory hurdles, stability, safety, palatability and adverse event monitoring. NASC works with federal and state agencies to allow supplements into the market and facilitate their expansion.

    Focus on buyers

    The NASC Seal of Quality on an animal supplement will give buyers and pet parents peace of mind that the products they are giving their furry friends have passed the NASC’s rigorous certification standards. As part of the certification, NASC verifies quality ingredients, quality production processes, continuous product and data monitoring and allowable product claims, specifically:
    • The company must have a Quality Control Manual in place that provides written Standard Operating Procedures for production process control. This helps ensure the company is providing a consistent and quality product and is almost identical for the standards for human products.
    • The company must utilize the NASC Adverse Event Reporting System (NAERS) to continually monitor and evaluate products and ingredients.
    • The company must follow proper Label Guidelines for all products and all forms of labeling.
    • The company’s product labels must include any specific Warning and Caution Statements suggested by the Food & Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine and the NASC Scientific Advisory Committee.
    • The company will have to comply with independent random product testing requirements in order to maintain the seal.
    Only after the company has successfully passed an on-site quality audit and comprehensive inspection, are they granted permission to display the seal on their products, websites, product literature and advertisements. Use of the seal demonstrates the supplement manufacturer has implemented the NASC requirements and is committed to the highest current standards of quality in the animal supplement industry today.
    As a result, the Seal of Quality is a mark of assurance that consumers are purchasing from a reputable animal supplement company. Additionally with the launch of two new consumer websites, NASC offers one-stop expertise for consumers to get all their pet health information, to learn about pet supplements and to stay on top of the latest news from experts. The Council has entered into a partnership of support with PetHealthLive and HorseHealthLive.

Monday, March 9, 2015

US Army veteran meets service dog at Three Dog Bakery

    A US Army veteran and his service dog met for the first time at Three Dog Bakery’s store in Kansas City, Missouri, USA, on February 13.
    Taz, a two-year-old Austrian Shepherd, was trained to provide US Army veteran Brandon Garrison with daily assistance and companionship.
    Garrison, 28, was an automatic logistical specialist with the Army’s 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, and was deployed to Afghanistan between 2006 and 2007. During that time, he suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), significant hearing loss and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
    “I met Paul Chapa, the founder of FISH (Food Industry Serving Heroes) and we started talking about what FISH does for returning veterans,” Garrison said. “Then I was surprised to hear from Paul that I would be the recipient of the Three Dog Bakery Veterans Day promotion. And it’s happening just before my 29th birthday, so it’s a nice early birthday gift.”
    Three Dog Bakery’s 2014 Veterans Day promotion raised US$5,000 via a percentage of its November 11, 2014, sales from its growing global bakery franchise network, grocery, mass and pet specialty retail outlets and In December, Three Dog Bakery presented a check to FISH that paid for training two service dogs. Garrison is the first recipient of the donation, which was designed to make a difference in the lives of returning military personnel who benefit from the highly specialized service dogs. He will receive a one-year supply of Three Dog Bakery food and treats as well.
    Veterans face myriad challenges that can be aided with the use of a service dog, from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to immobility. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the US has 1.6 million veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, 21% of whom suffer a service-connected disability. Service dogs perform a multitude of tasks to help veterans find a new level of independence in their post-combat life. People paired with service dogs show significant improvements psychologically, socially – even economically.
    Garrison says Taz will be a valuable addition in his life. While receiving support for his wartime injuries, Garrison is coping with his father’s terminal illness. His own children live in another state, so Garrison says the companionship of a service dog is extremely important to him. And because of his injuries, he also suffers from vertigo and uses a cane. Having Taz to help with his balance and retrieve items for him is another plus.
    Service dogs are in high demand, with wait times up to three years. Training begins when the dogs are young. These highly trained canines work on average eight to 10 years before they retire.
    According to Chapa, Taz has been trained to respond to certain commands, in English and German, due to her breed.
    “This is a highly intelligent and full-service dog. She will be able to go everywhere with Brandon, from restaurants to airplanes,” Chapa says. “Brandon is just one of thousands of returning veterans who deserve this type of support.”

Nature’s Variety, Best Friends Animal Society team up

    Three to four million healthy and adoptable pets are killed in America's animal shelters each year because they haven’t yet found a home. To help increase awareness of and save the pets available for adoption, Nature's Variety, makers of the Instinct brand and newly named Official Pet Food Partner of Best Friends Animal Society, is launching Long Live Pets.
    Adopters of shelter and rescue pets across the nation are being invited to submit photos of their pets to be the potential stars of what will be a groundbreaking, crowd-sourced film that showcases the happiness of adopted dogs in their new lives. The short film, which will premiere on national TV this spring on the Nat Geo WILD network, will also help promote the mission of Best Friends to end the killing of animals in America's shelters.
    "Our company purpose – something we live every day – is 'empowering people to transform the lives of pets,'" said Reed Howlett, CEO of Nature's Variety. "Best Friends Animal Society is a natural partner in this mission because they have been transforming – and saving – the lives of pets for more than 30 years."
    According to Best Friends, an estimated 9,000 adoptable pets are killed in America's shelters each day. In recognition of Best Friends' goal of reducing this number to zero, the campaign strives to receive at least 9,000 photo submissions.
    To participate in the campaign, consumers can go directly to or submit their photos on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #LongLivePets.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Wellness Natural, WellPet donate US$1.7 million in petfood

    Wellness Natural Pet Food and the WellPet Foundation have made a US$1.7 million in-kind donation of Wellness petfood to PetSmart Charities for distribution to five shelters in Arizona and Indiana serving pets in need. The Wellness petfood donation represents the largest-ever volume donation received by PetSmart Charities, and the single-largest donation by the WellPet Foundation, and will help thousands of dogs and cats in need.
    The shelters, all adoption partners of PetSmart Charities, include Heartland Small Animal Rescue in South Bend, Indiana, and, in Arizona, the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, Pima County Animal Care in Tucson, Maricopa County Animal Care in Phoenix and Pinal County Animal Care in Casa Grande.
    "Thousands of homeless pets will benefit because of our partnership with WellPet," said Jan Wilkins, executive director, PetSmart Charities. "WellPet's generous US$1.7 million Wellness petfood donation will make it possible for many of our animal welfare partners to not only feed homeless pets, but use the money they would have spent on food to make life better in other ways, too, for the pets in their care."
    Wellness and the WellPet Foundation have a long history of helping animals in communities across the country. "Helping pets in need is part of the Wellness 'All Ways Well' brand promise, which includes extending the nutritional benefits of Wellness natural petfood to all pets," said Chanda Leary Coutu, senior communications manager for WellPet. "We're sincerely honored to have the opportunity to join PetSmart Charities in supporting the well-being of dogs and cats at these shelters.

Mars Petcare receives endorsement for Arkansas’ Tax Back Program

    The Fort Smith, Arkansas, USA, board of directors has endorsed Mars Petcare for participation in its Tax Back Program for an expansion of the Mars Petcare facility there.
    Mars Petcare is planning a US$81.7 million expansion of its facility, the second significant expansion of the plant in two years. The expansion will add an estimated 95 jobs, according to reports.
    The Tax Back endorsement is a formality as part of an incentive program administered by the Arkansas Department of Economic Development. The program allows businesses to seek sales tax refunds from construction materials, new equipment and other qualifying expenses of investments that result in new jobs.
    “This is how the city can move forward and help spur economic development in our city,” At-Large Director Kevin Settle said.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

AFIA’s Safe Feed/Safe Food program updated to comply with FSMA

    The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) has updated the requirements of its FSC36 Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification Program to support the new requirements outlined in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) as well as help drive continuous improvement within a location's quality and feed safety program.
    The updated requirements are listed as the FSC36 Safe Feed/Safe Food Guidance Document on the Safe Feed/Safe Food website and will take effect beginning March 1.
    The goals of the updated document are to assist facilities with designing, developing, implementing and maintaining a quality and feed safety program that complies with the desired requirements and to assist auditors with auditing locations seeking certification for FSC36 Safe Feed/Safe Food. The guidance offers numerous examples to assist facilities with preparation for compliance of the requirements.
    "The new guidance document provides a 'user-friendly' FSC36 Safe Feed/Safe Food certification," said Henry Turlington, AFIA director of quality and manufacturing regulatory affairs. "The new requirements improve the certification process that drives continuous improvement of a company's quality and food safety program. FSC36 Safe Feed/Safe Food certification is tool AFIA recommends because it supports compliance with FSMA."
    The requirements for FSC36 Safe Feed/Safe Food certification include Current Good Manufacturing Practices for animal feed production as well as the requirements for an effective animal food safety program. FSC36 requirements support a risk-based management system that is documented and implemented by a facility (supplier) of feed or feed-related products to control animal food safety.
    "The changes to the requirements to obtain FSC36 Safe Feed/Safe Food are minimal; however, the process for completing the certification has been streamlined to create a more user-friendly program," Turlington said.
    "The number of elements has been reduced from 230-plus elements to 77 elements to allow auditors to spend more time reviewing documentation and manufacturing processes," he said. "And, FSC36 will now be a 'Continuous Improvement' program versus a 'Compliant' program."
    Previously, facilities were required to comply with each element in order to obtain certification. The new process will allow the auditor to assess the effort and progress by a facility to comply with the FSC36 Safe Feed/Safe Food Guidance Document. The facility will be scored based on these efforts. The assessment process will provide the facility with better direction for continuous improvement and compliance with FSMA. The continuous improvement process is consistent with the FSC32 and FSC34 programs. This also allows AFIA to take advantage of the Safe Quality Food Institute tools more effectively.
    "Another change to the program is the 'self-audit' is being replaced by a 'surveillance audit' (or remote audit) that will be completed by the certifying body (CB). The surveillance audit is an abbreviated version of the on-site audit and covers 'mandatory' elements," said Turlington. "The process and the quality of the audit will be greatly improved as the CB is more involved with the assessment and the facility provides supporting evidence only, and an on-site audit will continue to be completed every two years."
    Safe Feed/Safe Food launched in 2004, with the first facilities obtaining certification the next year. Since the beginning of the Safe Feed/Safe Food program, the number of certifications has expanded to four options. FSC36 is the most popular certification and is considered the core offering of the program. In 2013, AFIA partnered with SQFI to administer the Safe Feed/Safe Food program.

Woof Gang Bakery to open corporate stores in Savannah, Key West

    Woof Gang Bakery is opening its first corporate-owned stores, with five locations open by summer 2015. These five new corporate stores will join 20 new franchise locations opening this year. The corporate stores located in Savannah, Georgia, USA, and Key West, Florida, USA, will serve as support centers for franchises in those regions.
    The first corporate store will open in March in Savannah’s historic downtown City Market. The second corporate store opening in Savannah will be a Woof Gang Bakery, Grooming & Wellness Center in the city’s downtown. In addition to pet supplies and grooming, this location will include a pet wellness center offering vaccinations, dental cleaning and other pet wellness services.
    A third Savannah location and two Key West corporate stores also will open by summer of 2015. The Woof Gang Bakery store on the famous Duval Street in Key West will officially be the southernmost pet store in the United States.
    “We’re thrilled to be positioned to grow the Woof Gang Bakery infrastructure by adding corporate stores to the portfolio. With a total of 75 franchise locations open by year end, this enables us to provide a higher level of support across all markets,” said Paul Allen, CEO of Woof Gang Bakery. “Our growth plan also includes hiring more than 20 new corporate employees and opening an 8,500-square-foot franchise support facility in Orlando, Florida this summer.”
    Each Woof Gang Bakery corporate location will be unique to the market it serves. City Market Savannah and Duval Street Key West will be Woof Gang Private Label stores, primarily selling the Woof Gang product line. Specialty items and signature products, customized and branded for each location also will be offered.
    The three additional corporate locations will be full-service stores, providing a full range of pet care goods and services – one-stop shops offering food, treats, supplies and grooming.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

5 tips to keep your pets safe amid petfood recalls

    Hound & Gatos Pet Foods Corp. has tips for pet owners to keep their pets safe and healthy amid petfood recalls.
    “Most people are caring pet owners, and they want to what helps protect their pet,” said Will Post, founder and CEO, Hound & Gatos. “Yet the problem is that most are not sure what that means and how to go about it. The more they learn about petfood, the better able they will be able to make an informed decision that will keep their pet healthier and safer.”
    Petfood recalls have become commonplace, with foods being recalled for Salmonella or Listeria contamination, presence of foreign materials, or other issues. Here are several tips that consumers may want to keep in mind when it comes to choosing a petfood that will help reduce the risks:
    • Get to know the company. Most people may know a company name simply because they spend millions on advertising. But that doesn’t mean they know much about the company or their ethics. Research companies to find one that offers high standards, quality products, and great customer service. Then stick with that company for the long haul.
    • Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to contact a petfood company and ask them where something was made, where ingredients came from, or any other questions. They should have no problem answering questions about their products, or with being able to provide proof of their quality standards.
    • Read reviews. Do some searches to read some reviews about various brands of petfood. Keep in mind that some reviews can be biased and even planted by the company itself, so look for impartial third-party sources giving the review. Also, ask around to see what friends and family feed their pets.
    • Investigate ingredients. The source of ingredients is of major concern when it comes to reducing the risks of petfood recalls and with keeping pets healthy. Many of the petfoods recalled contain ingredients that came from Asia, rather than all being 100 percent originating in the USA. Read the labels and ask questions to determine where the ingredients are coming from, and then opt for only products that are completely originating from the USA. For example, the FDA just approved chicken from China. Only three percent of petfoods get inspected, leaving a big window for risks.
    • Understand petfoods. Cat and dog food should contain 100 percent protein, which will supply pets with the nutrients their bodies require. The problem with many commercial petfoods is that it is comprised of numerous fillers, such as generic liver, cheap fillers and grains.
    “In order to keep pets safer and healthier, you can’t just pull any food off the shelf at the store,” Post said. “Many have generic ingredients and fillers that cats and dogs should not be eating. Get to know petfoods and the companies that manufacture it, and then stick with one that has a high level of standards and is ethical.”

HealthyPets buys new property in California

    HealthyPets Inc. has acquired a 70,000-square-foot building in Newark, California, USA.
    The company, which was founded in 1997, has increased its inventory by 25% in the past six months and its Web traffic by 30% in 2015, according to a report. HealthyPets operates and
    HealthyPets owns two other buildings in Union City, California, USA. The new building in Newark reportedly includes office space and “flex” space for warehouse and manufacturing. The purchase price for the new property was reported at more than US$10 million.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

United Pet Group to close Cincinnati headquarters

    United Pet Group plans to close its global headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, according to a report.
    Spectrum Brands Inc., which owns United Pet Group, is planning the move to consolidate the pet products division with its home and garden division in St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
    United Pet Group makes products including Dingo rawhide dog treats, Nature’s Miracle stain and odor remover, Furminator de-shedding brushes for dogs and cats, and Tetra fish tanks and other water-related products.

Betagro Group to build new plant in Thailand

    Betagro Group says it plans to build a THB1 billion (US$308,000) petfood factory in Lop Buri province, Thailand.
    Construction on the facility is expected to begin in 2015 and be ready to operate in early 2016.
    In the first phase, the factory will have monthly production capacity of 4,000 tonnes.
    The petfood produced at the factory will be exported to pet farms, pet shops, veterinarian clinics and trade outlets in Asia and Europe, according to a report. The products will be distributed under the Dog’n Joy, Cat’n Joy, Perfecta and Bingo brands.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Fire damages UK Nestle Purina factory

    Nestle Purina factory in Sudbury, Suffolk, UK, was damaged in a fire on February 15, 2015. Fifty workers were inside at the time, but no one was injured, according to reports. The fire affected three of the building’s five levels.
    The fire involved four 30,000-liter tanks of animal fat, and there was concern that the blaze could spread to another 30,000-liter tank of phosphoric acid nearby.
    “The fire had the potential in the early stages to affect the whole factory,” said Carl Francis, area commander for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, in a report. “It started in the tank farm where there is raw soya and animal fat product. Four of the eight tanks were affected but not a tank which had the acid.
    “The fire did then break into the building. It is a large commercial building and we were aware that the fire involved flammable product, an oil-based product and pockets of fire were elsewhere in the building.”
    Two volunteer firefighters, who also work at the plant, are credited with largely helping to control the fire.
    “Their early action saved the fire from developing throughout the building because of their knowledge of the site,” Francis said. “They were able to tell us how to get into and around the building. Within a couple of hours, we were quite confident that we had dealt with the fire and contained it and it was not going to developer further.”
    The factory will be closed February 16 while the fire is investigated.
    The factory produces petfood brands like Bakers, Winalot, Felix, Bonio and Go-Cat.

Smucker makes changes to executive board

    The J.M. Smucker Company announced a series of key executive promotions after the recently announced planned acquisition of Big Heart Pet Brands, which is expected to be completed by the end of the company's fiscal year, April 2015.
    • Vincent C. Byrd will assume the role of vice chairman. Byrd currently serves as president and chief operating officer. In this newly created position, Byrd, along with David West, will lead the integration and synergy efforts of the Big Heart Pet Brands transaction. Byrd has been with the company for 38 years.
    • Mark T. Smucker will assume the role of president, consumer and natural foods. Smucker has 17 years of experience with the company, most recently serving as president, U.S. retail coffee.
    • Steven Oakland will assume the role of president, coffee and foodservice. Oakland most recently held the position of president, international, foodservice, and natural foods. Oakland has been with the company for 32 years.
    • Barry C. Dunaway will assume the role of president, international and chief administrative officer. Dunaway has 28 years of experience with the company, most recently serving as senior vice president and chief administrative officer.
    • In addition, after the anticipated closing of the Big Heart Pet Brands transaction, David West will assume the role of president, Big Heart Pet Food and Snacks. West is currently the CEO of Big Heart Pet Brands and has more than 25 years of food industry experience. 
    These five individuals, along with Mark R. Belgya, senior vice president and chief financial officer, will report to Richard Smucker, CEO.
    In addition to their management roles, Tim Smucker, Richard Smucker, Mark Smucker, and Byrd will continue to serve on the company's board of directors. West will be nominated to the board of directors in conjunction with the closing of the Big Heart Pet Brands transaction.
    "The executive promotions announced today, along with the talented teams that support them, continue to provide family leadership and broad management continuity, while also adding new talent to our leadership team," said Richard Smucker. "This leadership team has a proven track record of growing brands and businesses and continues our history of strong succession to ensure our company's long-term growth."