Agenda & Speakers

Petfood Forum & Petfood Essentials 2020 Tentative Schedule of Events

Monday - April 27, 2020

9:00 am – 7:00 pm

Petfood Forum registration and check-in
Lobby 2300

10:00 am – 5:30 pm

Petfood Forum exhibitor move-in
Exhibit Hall D-E

5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Petfood Forum and Petfood Essentials opening reception
Kansas City Convention Center

Tuesday - April 28, 2020

7:00 am – 5:30 pm

Petfood Forum registration desk open
Lobby 2300

7:00 am – 8:00 am


8:00 am – 8:50 am

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

8:50 am – 9:30 am

General session: Emerging trends in a changing pet food industry landscape
Maria Lange, VP of strategic verticals pet and cannabis, Nielsen

9:30 am – 5:30 pm

Exhibit hall open
Exhibit Hall D-E

9:30 am – 12:00 pm

Paws for a break (visiting pet charities)
Lobby 2300

9:30 am – 1:30 pm

Exhibit hall activities: coffee break, Student Program, Pet Food Tech Talks, lunch
Exhibit Hall D-E

1:30 pm – 2:35 pm

Concurrent technical sessions (see list below)

2:35 pm – 3:05 pm

Coffee break
Exhibit Hall D-E

3:05 pm – 4:10 pm

Concurrent technical sessions (see lists below)

4:15 pm – 5:30 pm

Networking reception
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 update – Andrew Vickerson, chief technology officer, Enterra

Nutrition for the Labrador Retriever: amino acid and energy requirements – Craig 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 practice – Paola Cane, Ph.D., CEO, Mia Solution

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

Rendering industry’s research and initiatives to supply high-quality pet food ingredients – David 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 culture – David 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 decisions – Pete Ensch, CEO, WEM Automation

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

Key success factors for a winning clean label pet food strategy – Chloé Champion, marketing & communication director, Diana Pet Food

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

Path to pet food personalization: direct-to-consumer scientific experience – Justin 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 food – James Peterson, Ph.D., technical consultant, Pet Food Solutions

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

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

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

Wednesday - April 29, 2020

7:00 am – 3:00 pm

Registration desk open
Lobby 2300

7:00 am – 8:00 am


8:00 am – 3:00 pm

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

8:00 am – 8:45 am

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

8:45 am – 9:30 am

General session/panel: Dissecting DCM: industry’s next steps in understanding the canine dilated cardiomyopathy situation

9:30 am – 12:30 pm

Exhibit hall activities: coffee break, Student Program, Pet Food Tech Talks, lunch
Exhibit Hall D-E

12:30pm – 2:00 pm

Roundtable sessions

CBD craze: update on usage, legality, research in pet food

  • 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 – speaker TBD.

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 & 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 McClain, director of sustainability, 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 Co. Endowed Professor in Human Nutrition, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Pet food, retailer and e-commerce execs: the new world of selling pet food
Join executives from top pet food companies and leading pet retailers to learn how to navigate today’s disruptive, continually morphing world of distributing and selling pet food. Pet owners have more choices than ever for finding and purchasing their pet food, from burgeoning e-commerce options to “click and mortar” to customization to traditional neighborhood pet shops, superstores and grocery/mass market outlets. Distributor consolidation is also playing a role. With this explosion of market changes and options, how can pet food brands figure out the best channels and retailing strategies for their products?

Panel members include:

  • Chris Hamilton, president and CEO of Red Collar Pet Foods
  • Nathan Marafioti, group director ecommerce for Nestle Purina North America
  • Jacinthe Moreau, president of World Pet Association
  • Brock Weatherup, executive chief strategic innovation and digital experience officer with Petco
  • Moderator Ed Yuhas, managing partner with Kincannon & Reed Executive Search

Grand Ballroom A, Kansas City Convention Center

3:00 pm – 12:00 am

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

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

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

Petfood Essentials Agenda - Monday, April 27

Petfood Essentials agenda details coming soon.