Petfood Forum Europe 2024 schedule of events

Meeting location: Nuremberg Messe, NCC Ost, Hall Sydney, Level 1


Registration and check-in


Welcome and opening session: Design thinking in pet snack and food innovation: Crafting connection and delight 
David Molenberghs, co-founder and chief innovation officer, Smoofl

Molenberghs explores the importance of pivoting the pet snack and food industry, where innovation often leans heavily on scientific development, to a design-centric philosophy that elevates the standard pet snack and other products into a crafted experience. He shares the principles and applications of a creative design approach that transcends traditional product development, showcasing how such an approach can produce not just high-quality pet products but also a more profound brand resonance, suggesting a new blueprint for product differentiation in the pet food sector.


Pet probiotics: Understanding pet parents’ beliefs, motivations, purchase journey and needs
Lidiia Alaverdova, DVM, head of global marketing, animal and plant health and nutrition, Chr. Hansen

Alaverdova provides a deep understanding of usage, drivers and current beliefs of pet parents around probiotics and the latest trends in human health. Insights from the latest market research by the company on the U.S. (a more mature market when it comes to probiotics in the pet space), as well as some findings from French and Chinese research, present a solid rationale for why including probiotics as a functional ingredient remains an excellent strategy to cater to the needs of pet parents. The research also explains how to improve communication around probiotics for maximum value.


Postbiotics yeast vs. bacteria for pet food: What is the difference?
Francesca Susca, DVM, Ph.D., global pet product manager, Lallemand Animal Nutrition

Susca illustrates the main differences between yeast and bacteria cells and how those differences, together with the strain specificity and applied production process, affect the functionalities of the derived postbiotic solutions. Having good knowledge and a clear understanding of how postbiotic yeast and bacteria differently interact with the host enable selection of the right postbiotic solution for the right application.


Coffee Break


Can yeast and yeast derivatives help reduce pathogenic pressure in companion animals?
Aleks Szopinska, Ph.D., senior innovation and NPD manager, Livalta/AB Agri

Szopinska shares knowledge about various yeast and their derivatives, and their potential to reduce pathogenic pressure for companion animals. New experimental results reveal more insights about factors involved in a bacteria anti-adhesive/binding phenomenon that may become an important tool for future prophylactics that prevent adherence of pathogenic enterobacteria to mucosal surfaces in the gastrointestinal tract of dogs.


In vitro mineral accessibility in commercial vegetarian and vegan dry dog foods
Mingyang Jeremy Zhu, master’s degree student, Wageningen University and Research

Zhu presents results of a study investigating the mineral bioavailability in commercial plant-based dog foods compared to conventional animal-based dog foods. Plant-based pet foods, rising in popularity due to environmental and animal welfare concerns, often use protein sources that may contain anti-nutrients like phytic acid and polyphenols, which can hinder mineral bioavailability.


Microbial protein: Consumer perceptions, pet acceptance of novel protein
Ally Motta, application specialist, MicroHarvest

Motta provides an overview of the nutritional aspects of microbial protein, then delves into pet food shoppers’ receptivity to this novel ingredient, as well as pet acceptance, or palatability. The introduction of novel ingredients into the market is always challenging, and it is necessary to understand if the market is ready to buy a product made with a novel ingredient but also if the animals will eat it.




How to act on climate change impact on the European pet food supply chain
Zsoka Ardai, climate and sustainable sourcing European lead, Mars

Ardai outlines the forecasted climate impact on the pet food supply chain in Europe, showing crop and meat production likely to decline in the next 10 years, along with the degradation of soil. Regenerative agriculture corresponds to a set of practices that aims to restore soil health by protecting biodiversity, improving crop and farm resilience, increasing water retain capacity and, last but not least, reducing carbon emission and removing carbon from the atmosphere. It is essential to have sector or industry collaboration focusing on an agricultural transformation with the farmer at the heart of it.


The future of the insect protein industry: Lessons learned from mature animal productions
Chloe Champion, pet food business developer, Agronutris

Champion explains the relevance of comparing the insect industry — still a relatively young sector with daily progress being made in insect nutrition and rearing — with the evolution of more mature protein sectors such as pork, broiler and whiteleg shrimp. She compares data and results from those mature sectors, showing how their evolution can help foresee the improvement levers that may benefit the insect protein industry. The levers include the improvement over time of zootechnical criteria like the feed conversion ratio, selection patterns in the mature sectors and the genetic progress it allowed, and biosecurity strategies implemented on farms in the mature sectors.


Coffee break


Breakthrough thermal energy extrusion technology for pet food 
Ed de Souza, extrusion systems process director, Wenger Manufacturing

de Souza presents a breakthrough processing technology that allows for monitoring the energy source for gentle cooking of a pet food recipe by enhancing thermal energy and lowering mechanical shear. The technology involves understanding its precision in controlling the energy sources for properly cooking the various ingredients (dry and slurries) for greater efficiency, quality assurance and superior value-added products, while guaranteeing kill-step temperatures for food safety. de Souza also covers related research on the gut health benefits of thermal extrusion cooking and on digestibility and available energy of raw meats compared to meat meal as they relate to thermal extrusion cooking.


Mild extrusion process yields higher resistant starch that improves gut health of dogs
Isabella Corsato Alvarenga, Ph.D., pet health technical manager, International Flavors and Fragrances

Corsato Alvarenga shares results of a study assessing the effect of thermomechanical energy on resistant starch yield in final pet foods and subsequent effects on the gut health of dogs. The study involved processing the same dog food recipe with high corn inclusion through single-screw extrusion, using three levels of thermomechanical energy controlled by extruder shaft speed and in-barrel moisture. Resistant starches bypass digestion in the small intestine and reach the colon, where they become substrate for saccharolytic bacteria fermentation with subsequent production of beneficial postbiotics.