Petfood Forum presents Ask the Pet Food Pro

A series of chats with experts for anyone who wants to learn more about pet food

Chat with pet food prosGet answers to your burning questions on some of the most important topics and issues for the pet food industry and, possibly, your business.

Petfood Forum presents Ask the Pet Food Pro, a series of chats offering access to leading pet food experts who answer your direct questions, discuss the key elements within a given situation or topic, and provide insights into addressing it.

Join this free, informal Zoom chat to learn what you need to know to move forward and succeed!

Upcoming chats:

We are currently scheduling more sessions for 2024. Please check back for updates.




Ask the Pet Food Pro on-demand session recordings:

Insect protein in pet food: Latest innovations and trendsInsect protein in pet food and pet treats keeps rising in terms of research, usage, and innovation as more production comes online, regulations catch up and new products proliferate. Join Aaron Hobbs, executive director of the North American Coalition for Insect Agriculture, and Mark Finke, Ph.D., president of consultancy Mark Finke LLC, for expert insights and updates on the latest nutritional benefits, market and production status, and regulatory actions. Bring your questions about all things pet food and bugs! This live Ask the Pet Food Pro Zoom chat is sponsored by EnviroFlight. Watch the recording.


Promoting health while preventing food waste in pet food – During this one-hour zoom discussion, join Christie Cheng, Business Development Manager for Food Protection & Preservation, and John Menton, Business Development Director for Proactive Health, for a session designed with the modern pet parent in mind. In recent years, pet parents have wanted food, treats, and supplements that promote the health and longevity of their pets, but with a demand for a longer shelf life and reduced food waste. This session of Ask the Pet Food Pro is sponsored by Kerry and presented by Petfood Industry. Watch the recording.


Industry 4.0 in pet food production lines – The Internet of Things has enabled pet food manufacturers to connect machines to the cloud and collect and analyze production data from nearly every aspect of a line. But how can that data be used in real-world applications to deliver better business outcomes? Industry 4.0 technologies can help optimize your pet food process for greater yields, better energy use, and reduced waste. Join Jerôme Oesch, Business Development Manager Digital, Value Nutrition, for Buhler Inc. and learn how to connect your machines in a sensible way, create insights on your pet food production, and reap the substantial benefits of actionable advice based on real data. This Ask the Pet Food Pro chat is sponsored by Buhler and presented by Petfood Industry. Watch the recording.


Ins & outs of sustainable ingredients for pet food, treats – In a world where pet food companies want to be more green and environmentally friendly, the path to sustainability can seem daunting. Utilizing an ingredient supplier with a plan and the capabilities for sustainable ingredients can go a long way in achieving those goals. Please join Brian Nash, vice president of corporate sustainability for Ingredion, to discuss how you can reach your objectives to be more environmentally friendly with sustainable strategies for ingredients. This Ask the Pet Food Pro chat is sponsored by Ingredion and presented by Petfood Industry. Watch the recording.


Tips to maintain food safety in an aging pet food processing plant – While sanitation standards have changed, your pet food processing facility may not have. So how can you modernize your food safety culture in a facility built with yesterday’s needs? Ecolab’s Andy Dean, a 35-year food and beverage industry veteran and Technical Support Coordinator will share his insights on how to incorporate sanitary design into a facility of any age. He will cover where to look, how to identify an issue, what to do when you find issues, and how to better foster a proactive food safety culture. This Ask the Pet Food Pro chat is sponsored by Ecolab and presented by Petfood Industry. Watch the recording.


Using science and market research to guide your probiotic choices – What do millennial pet owners in the U.S. think, feel and do about probiotics for their pets? Dr. Lidiia Alaverdova, Head of Global Marketing APHN and Sr. Global Pet Portfolio Manager, and Dr. Marcial Guevara, Global Product Technical Manager – Pets from Chr. Hansen will share the insights of the qualitative and quantitative market research with pet owners that might help you optimize your packaging and better support your customers along the purchase journey. In addition, Dr. Guevara will also share their thoughts on an evidence-based approach to understanding why not all probiotics are the same, the science behind selecting a good probiotic, and critical aspects to consider when selecting a probiotic for your product. This Ask the Pet Food Pro chat is sponsored by Chr. Hansen and presented by Petfood Industry. Watch the recording. 


Benefits of using natural colors in pet food and treats – Pet owners often seek natural ingredients in the pet foods they buy yet may not understand the reasons and benefits for adding natural colors. Color has a significant impact on product perception and pet parents often base their first-time purchases on what they see with their eyes. To meet pet parent expectations of clean-label pet foods, many manufacturers are seeking natural colors in formulations to differentiate from other pet food products on crowded store shelves. In this Ask the Pet Food Pro chat, Ashlee Martin, senior applications scientist for pet food at Oterra, will address the technical side of using natural colors in kibble, semi-moist treats, baked treats, and wet dog and cat food. In addition, she will answer regulatory questions related to colors in pet food. This Ask the Pet Food Pro chat is sponsored by Oterra and presented by Petfood Industry. Watch the recording.


Will hemp and CBD ever be viable, legal pet food ingredients? – Hemp and CBD are everywhere, including in pet treats and other pet products, legally or not. What is the future for these popular yet controversial substances? In this Ask the Pet Food Pro chat, Emily Lyons, an attorney with Husch Blackwell, will cover the differences between hemp and CBD, the latest regulatory updates on both related to pet food, and enforcement (or lack thereof) of regulations for both. She’ll also expand on what pet food and treat brands need to consider when using either ingredient, including labeling do’s and don’ts. This Ask the Pet Food Pro chat is presented by Petfood Industry. Watch the recording.


Why precision in pet food extrusion is key – Pet food manufacturers today are looking for equipment and technology that allow them to produce a specific product with precision control for features such as cooking level, color, shape, and size. At the same time, they want to save on raw materials and energy. During this Ask the Pet Food Pro discussion with Enzhi Michael Cheng, Ph.D., global business development manager, pet food and aqua feed, for Buhler, you’ll learn how precision can be achieved for the entire production line, how to innovate using a single screw extrusion system and how to minimize raw material and energy waste. Sponsored by Buhler. Watch the recording.


Upcycling low-value proteins into sustainable pet treats — Demand for pet treats has continued to increase, while at the same time, protein availability is at an all-time low, leading to supply chain issues and rising costs. In this Ask the Pet Food Pro chat, Charles Starkey, Ph.D., professor in the Poultry Science Department of Auburn University, will answer your questions and explain his research on new food technologies, such as hydrocolloids, that can help upcycle low-value proteins and other meat co-products into functional proteins that improve sensory properties and add stability to restructured pet treats. Dr. Starkey will also describe how this upcycling program improves sustainability for both the pet food and protein conversion industries while serving to introduce students to opportunities in the pet food industry. Sponsored by Balchem Corp. Watch the recording.


Improve your pet food packaging productivity with automation — Automation technology is critical for helping your company improve productivity for packaging and processing at your facilities, and understanding that has become a challenge for most operations managers. Max Davis, general manager with Waldner NA, will provide answers and insights to help bridge the gap between what your product development team wants to do with the packaging components and how the operations group will accomplish it. He will take questions on handling processes that produce a variety of packaging finished products, how to balance the processed packaging needs for eCommerce vs. brick and mortar, and factory automation challenges when your facility is producing multi-format materials. Sponsored by Waldner North America. Watch the recording


Food additives to enhance pet food safety — Greg Aldrich, Ph.D., nutritionist, research professor, and coordinator of the pet food production research program at Kansas State University, shares study highlights and answers questions about employing food additives in the quest for pet food safety. Sponsored by Balchem. Due to a technical error, no recording will be available for this Zoom chat; we apologize. To access some of the research on food safety additives for pet food referred to by Dr. Greg Aldrich during the chat, please try searching the Journal of Animal Science (, Journal of Food Protection ( and Plos One ( Use his name or specific ingredient names as search terms, or a phrase such as “food safety additives for pet food.


The benefits of digital pet food packaging — What is digital packaging, and how does it differ from more traditional types of pet food packaging? Learn the main elements and advantages of digital packaging, and get all your questions answered by experts Paula Kuhnert, product specialist and Sadie Leu, marketing manager, of Roastar. They will explain features such as sustainability, flexibility and turnaround times. Sponsored by Roastar. Watch the recording


Optimize your pet food ingredient supply chain challenges Drew Turner, regional sales manager for Coperion’s Food Industry Market, discusses the measures pet food producers are making to their feeding and conveying practices when switching out ingredients due to supply chain or cost issues. Sponsored by Coperion. Watch the recording


Coloring pet food and treats: Understanding technical, regulatory aspects — Ashlee Martin, senior pet food application scientist for Oterra, discusses the use of colorants in pet food and treats, and how to help you get the best results when using colors in your product. In addition, she will address questions related to the regulatory landscape when using colorants. Sponsored by Oterra. Watch the recording


Using clean label ingredients in pet food and treats — Ellis Liu, Ph.D., technical manager-pet food for Ingredion Inc., explains what clean label pet food ingredients are and how to utilize them in complete diet and treat applications, as well as with different processes. With his many years of experience in both human food and pet food, this expert will answer all your questions about incorporating these ingredients into your brand’s pet foods and treats. Sponsored by Ingredion Inc. Watch the recording


Pet food mycotoxins: How to test and prepare for 2022 — Mycotoxins are a common issue for pet food manufacturers and ingredient suppliers, requiring constant monitoring and vigilance to prevent contamination of pet foods. Do you have a testing strategy, and do you know how to watch and prepare for possible contamination in the coming months? Christy Swoboda, technical services director with Romer Labs, discussed projected mycotoxin prevalence in 2022, tips for monitoring and testing, and other best practices to follow. She was joined by Randall Ford, chief scientific officer with Red Collar Pet Foods. Watch the recording


Pet food recalls: Best practices and lessons learned — Michele Sayles, Ph.D., executive director of food safety and technology for Diamond Pet Food, provides her expertise on how to prevent recalls — including for contaminants like mycotoxins—and how to handle them if they occur. Watch the recording


Pet food transparency: What could be the next DCM-like issue? — Ryan Yamka, Ph.D., founder of Luna Science and Nutrition and longtime pet food nutritionist, developer and formulator, discusses and answers questions about ways the industry can step up and avoid being caught unprepared for situations like the FDA investigation into canine dilated cardiomyopathy and grain-free pet food. Watch the recording


Novel proteins: What the latest research says about nutritional benefits for pets — Kelly Swanson, Ph.D., professor researching comparative nutrition and nutrigenomics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, provides answers and insights into what recent studies show about novel proteins and their effects on pet health and well-being. Sponsored by OvaInnovations. Watch the recording


Sustainability and pet food packaging — Scott Whiteside, Ph.D., professor with the Food, Nutrition and Packaging Sciences Department at Clemson University, explains why consumer demands for sustainability often conflict with those for premium packaging, and answers your questions about how to make your pet food packaging more sustainable. Sponsored by Peel Plastics. Watch the recording


Pet food production line Total Cost of Ownership: Planning, pitfalls – Do you understand—or know how to determine—the Total Cost of Ownership of setting up and operating a pet food production line? Are you taking all factors into consideration that can impact your operation in the short and long term? Julian Stauffer, chief executive officer for Waldner North America, provides an essential overview of the key factors for executing on the implementation and operation of a pet food production line as efficiently and cost effectively as possible. Sponsored by Waldner North America. Watch the recording


Want access to more pet food experts?

Make plans to attend Petfood Forum on April 29-May 1, 2024, to learn from additional pet food industry experts. The must-attend conference will present the latest insights and research on pet food market trends, ingredients, nutrition, sustainability, safety and technology.