Woof! Er, I mean, hello! My name is JoJo, and I’m the office pet here at Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing, but I prefer to call myself the official greeter and taste tester. Last week a couple of my office mates, Liz and Elizabeth, attended the annual Petfood Forum in Kansas City, where more than 3,000 professionals gathered to network and discuss the latest trends and issues impacting the pet food and pet treat industry.
Liz and Elizabeth were able to share with me all the interesting things they learned at this year’s show, including how several of the mega-trends affecting the people food industry are also impacting the pet food industry. After all, most owners consider their pets as members of the family!
Here are a few highlights from the show:
Alternative Sources for Protein
The industry continues to compete with a growing human population for protein sources in pet foods. Several panel discussions explored the potential for insect proteins to provide a sustainable solution to this challenge, as pet food manufacturers and consumers continue to seek novel proteins.
Transparency and Education
Today’s pet food owners analyze pet food labels to understand exactly what they’re buying. Transparency has become a demand that no company can afford to ignore. Having identifiable ingredients on pet food packaging is becoming more and more important as the industry strives to do a better job of “pulling back the curtain” and educating consumers.
Innovation and Premiumization
These two topics also drew a lot of interest at the show. Isaac Matthews from Lansing Trade Group shared how grain-free pet food sales grew 200 percent from 2011 to 2015, and Rebecca Casey from TC Transcontinental Packaging reported that 71 percent of owners believe the type of food they feed their pets has an impact on their health and wellness. As owners seek out better-for-you alternatives in their pet food items, manufacturers are exploring how to deliver new and exciting products while addressing economic and nutritional challenges.
Oh, and I almost forgot to tell you the best part! Liz and Elizabeth brought back tons of new product samples with all sorts of yummy ingredients for me to try. Time to get to work and start the taste-testing. Woof!