Agenda & Speakers

Petfood Forum & Petfood Essentials 2020 Tentative Schedule of Events

Monday, April 27, 2020

8 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

Petfood Forum registration and check-in
Lobby 2300

10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Petfood Forum exhibitor move-in
Exhibit Hall D-E

5-6:30 p.m.

Petfood Forum and Petfood Essentials opening reception
Kansas City Convention Center

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

7 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Petfood Forum registration desk open
Lobby 2300

7-8 a.m.


8-8:50 a.m.

Welcome and opening keynote: Bonin Bough
Bonin Bough, CPG brand expert, presents “Hackonomy,” explaining how to create value for your business by breaking things.

8:50-9:30 a.m.

General session: Emerging trends in a changing pet food industry landscape
Maria Lange, vice president of strategic verticals pet and cannabis, Nielsen
Lange offers an update and overview on the state of the pet industry and emerging trends in a changing pet food industry landscape. This session will look back at recent years and highlight what impact these trends and factors had on the industry overall, plus what other trends are worth watching in 2020 and beyond. Are raw alternative feeding options the fastest growing categories for pet foods? What do we know about insect protein being used in pet food? And what is the CBD craze all about?

9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Exhibit hall open
Exhibit Hall D-E

9:30 a.m.-12 p.m.

Paws for a break (visiting pet charities)
Lobby 2300

9:45-10:30 a.m.

Coffee break
Exhibit Hall D-E

9:45 a.m. -12:00 p.m.

Pet Food Tech Talks on the Tech Talk Stage
Sponsored by: Clayco Corp., a full service engineering, design-build and construction firm
Exhibit Hall D-E

9:45 a.m.-12 p.m.

Petfood Forum Student Program paper presentations, part 1
Exhibit Hall D-E

12-1:30 p.m.

Exhibit Hall D-E

1:30-2:35 p.m.

Concurrent technical sessions (see list below)

2:35-3:05 p.m.

Coffee break
Exhibit Hall D-E

3:05-4:10 p.m.

Concurrent technical sessions (see lists below)

4:15-5:30 p.m.

Networking reception
Exhibit Hall D-E

4:30-5:15 p.m.

Industry research poster reception and student mixer
Exhibit Hall D-E

Concurrent session tracks:

Ingredient research

Nutrition and market trends


Technologies for today’s pet food

Black soldier fly ingredients for cat food: new digestibility results, regulatory updateAndrew Vickerson, chief technology officer, Enterra

Nutrition for the Labrador Retriever: amino acid and energy requirementsCraig Coon, Ph.D., CEO, Four Rivers Kennel

When compliance fails to prevent: assessing the critical factors of an effective pet food recall from theory to practicePaola Cane, Ph.D., CEO, Mia Solution

4 essential pieces to a modern e-commerce fulfillment and technology strategyLuke Helm, VP of distribution, eShipping Distribution Services

Rendering industry’s research and initiatives to supply high-quality pet food ingredientsDavid Meeker, Ph.D., senior VP, scientific services, North American Rendering Association

Long-term effects of diet format on body weight, composition and insulin sensitivity in cats Emma Bermingham, Ph.D., senior research scientist, AgResearch

Nurturing an organizational pet food safety cultureDavid Rosenblatt, D.V.M., director of learning, Sher Consulting and Training

Industry 4.0: Improve the operational performance of your pet food facility by using big data to make fact-based decisionsPete Ensch, CEO, WEM Automation

Research update: rethinking the role of corn in the pet food industrySarah McKay, director of market development, National Corn Growers Association

Key success factors for a winning clean label pet food strategyCécile Saint-Paul, marketing director, North America, Diana Pet Food

Rigorous new supply-chain-applied controls for innovative raw pet food materialsJeff Lucas, senior director, technical services, Silliker-Merieux NutriSciences

A path to pet food personalization: A direct-to-consumer scientific experienceJustin Shmalberg, DVM, DACVN, DACVSMR, chief nutrition officer; and Ryan Honaker, Ph.D., director of microbiology, NomNomNow

New refined chicken fat for reducing risk of Salmonella in pet foodJames Peterson, Ph.D., technical consultant, Pet Food Solutions

Pet food customer perceptions of product attributes: implications for marketing and product strategyLonnie Hobbs, Ph.D. student in agricultural economics, Kansas State University

Unconventional and novel protein sources: mitigating the risk for safe pet food ingredientsRay Matulka, Ph.D., director of toxicology, Burdock Group

Technologies for overcoming unique challenges with new pet food retort packagingJulian Stauffer, chief operating officer, PTI

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

7 a.m.-3 p.m.

Registration desk open
Lobby 2300

7-8 a.m.


8 a.m.-3 p.m.

Exhibit hall open
Exhibit Hall D-E, Kansas City Convention Center

8-8:45 a.m.

General session: Tracking pet food priorities: Why consumers switch products and how they mix things up
David Sprinkle, publisher and research director for Packaged Facts
Sprinkle provides data and insights into which consumers have changed their pet food type, brand or product choices in the past 12 months — and why and to what new choices. What do these changes and the pet owners pursuing them say about consumer “pain points” with current and historical pet food offerings?

8:45-9:30 a.m.

General session/panel: Beyond DCM: New models to close pet food’s nutrition research gaps
Emma Bermingham, Ph.D., senior research scientist, AgResearch

George Collings, Ph.D., president and general manager, Collings Nutrition Solutions

The ongoing situation with canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and grain-free pet food is just one recent example of how the lack of pet nutrition research has not served the industry, consumers, retailers, veterinarians or regulators well. Other cases and questions, such as vitamin D levels and the Fanconi syndrome with chicken jerky treats from China, have also contributed to confusion, anxiety, lost confidence and sales. Could these types of situations be avoided or at least mitigated with better models for pet nutrition research — and what changes and improvements would help? Do we need new funding sources, including financial participation from consumers? Moderated by Greg Aldrich, Ph.D., research associate professor at Kansas State University and president of Pet Food Ingredients & Technologies, this lively roundtable discussion will feature industry experts addressing these questions and proposing next steps.

9:45-10:15 a.m.

Coffee break
Exhibit Hall D-E

10:25-11:45 a.m.

Pet Food Tech Talks on the Tech Talk Stage
Sponsored by: Clayco Corp. a full service engineering, design-build and construction firm
Exhibit Hall D-E

9:45-11:15 a.m.

Petfood Forum Student Program paper presentations, part 2
Exhibit Hall D-E

11:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Exhibit Hall D-E

12:30-2 p.m.

Roundtable sessions

CBD craze: Update on usage, legality, research in pet food – CBD products are everywhere on the pet scene, but is this substance legal to use in pet food or treats? Is it safe for pets? How much can the CBD pet product market grow? Join experts in these areas to find out if this is just a passing fad or a major category in the making.

  • Top trends in natural and specialty pet: Focus on CBD — Amy Kerr, director of business development, SPINS
  • Green rush: Making and marketing pet foods and treats with CBD — Emily Lyons, attorney, and Michael Annis, partner, Husch Blackwell
  • New research on CBD: Safety and efficacy — Joseph Wakshlag, DVM, Ph.D., professor

Sustainability’s key role in all areas of pet food

  • Optimizing proteins to achieve holistic sustainability in the pet food industry — Caitlyn Dudas, executive director and co-founder, Pet Sustainability Coalition
  • Sustainable pet food: Combining nutrition and efficiency — Henk Bosch, sustainability manager, DSM
  • Debunking common pitfalls on the path to pet food packaging sustainability — Dave McLain, sustainability director, Printpack

The microbiome and its importance to pet nutrition and health

  • Feeding trillions of bacteria: Bridging the gap between nutrition, the microbiome and pet well-being — Juan Gomez Basauri, Ph.D., global director for companion animals, food ingredients and human health technologies, Alltech
  • Keeping the microbiome in mind: Best practices for diet trials — Jessica Jarett, Ph.D., computational biologist, AnimalBiome
  • The effect of complex and diverse sialylated oligosaccharides on simulated dog gut microbiome and metabolites — Kelly Swanson, Ph.D., Kraft Heinz Company endowed professor in human nutrition and scientific advisory board member of Gnubiotics Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

3 p.m.-12 a.m.

Exhibitor tear-down
Exhibit Hall D-E, Kansas City Convention Center

2-3 p.m.

Closing networking reception
Grand Ballroom D and patio, Kansas City Convention Center

Petfood Essentials Agenda - Monday, April 27

8:00 am – 8:45 am

Petfood Essentials registration and check-in with coffee and light breakfast

8:45 am – 9:15 am

Welcome and introduction

Get an overview of the dry pet food production process, starting with ingredients through packaging, and including quality/safety/testing as a key element. Plus, information on the day’s schedule/program will be covered.

Sessions/rotations: Each provides an expert’s explanation of the key steps, processes and considerations in that area, plus an interactive exercise demonstrating one of the steps or processes. Get more details about the sessions.

9:15 am – 10:00 am

Rotation 1 – Ingredient selection and sourcing
Serge Boutet, agrologist and animal nutrition expert, SB Nutrinnov Consultants – Moderated by Kerry Ingredients
Boutet offers an overview of pet food ingredient selection and sourcing. Based on defined claims, functionality, production and regulatory parameters, the session helps attendees identify which ingredients and ingredient categories they are targeting. The session also explores considerations such as available supply on an ongoing basis, costs, sustainability, local sourcing and animal welfare claims as well as how to identify which approved ingredient suppliers can fulfill these needs.

10:05 am – 10:50 am

Rotation 2 – Batching, mixing, grinding and milling
Charles Stark, Ph.D., associate professor of feed technology, Department of Grain Science and Industry, Kansas State University
Stark discusses batching, mixing, grinding and milling of pet food ingredients, identifying what upstream processes are necessary to prepare ingredients before main production. Topics covered include what types of equipment can perform these processes; how these processes might impact ingredient selection, formulation or further production; and the cost considerations of these necessary steps.

10:50 am – 11:15 am

Coffee break

11:15 am – 12:00 pm

Rotation 3 – Preconditioning and extrusion
Ron Tribelhorn, food process engineer, former section head for Procter & Gamble/Iams Pet Food Co. – Moderated by Extru-Tech, Inc.
Tribelhorn presents why pet food producers should use a preconditioner, the most important preconditioning parameters and settings, and the main steps of the extrusion process. Discussion covers the function of each, the different types of extruders and preconditioners — and which is most appropriate for what kind of product and price point — and where and when in the process to make adjustments or changes to improve the final product.

12:05 pm – 12:50 pm

Rotation 4 – Coating, cooling and drying
Griffiths G. Atungulu, Ph.D., associate professor & agricultural/food engineer, Department of Food Science, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture
Atungulu identifies the key purposes of the coating, cooling and drying steps in pet food production. Topics covered include the types of coatings applied to pet food or treats and the functional benefits; the types of equipment used, and which are most appropriate for what kind of product, process and price point; key safety considerations of each step; and new types of technologies or processes being studied.

12:50 pm – 2:05 pm


2:00 pm – 2:45 pm

Rotation 5 – Packaging
William (Scott) Whiteside, Ph.D., Food, Nutrition and Packaging Sciences Department, Clemson University – Moderated by TC Transcontinental
Whiteside presents the main types of packaging available for various pet food products and the benefits and drawbacks of each type. Topics discussed include what types of packaging equipment are available for each type of product and purpose; the important considerations for functions like filling and seaming; and the role sustainability plays in the various packaging materials and types.

2:50 pm – 3:35 pm

Rotation 6 – Quality, safety, validation and other testing
Michele Sayles, Ph.D., executive director of food safety and quality, Diamond Pet Food
Sayles discusses quality, safety and other testing to help pet food producers understand the main requirements to comply with FSMA regulations. Topics include the best practices for quality and safety testing at various steps of the production process; how to ensure you’re meeting your CCPs and also following cGMPs; testing for contaminants (bio, toxins, metal, other), nutritional validity and guaranteed analysis; and third-party safety certifications.

3:45 pm – 4:00 pm


4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Petfood Essentials mixer

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Join Petfood Forum opening reception