June 13, 2019
Registration and check-in
9:30 – 9:40
Opening session: Brand loyalty is dead – what killed It and how to put it back on the pet food shelf
Sandy Robins, pet lifestyle expert and author
The pet food shelf has become a maze, and it’s become difficult to remain loyal to a single brand. Robins outlines how and why the marketplace has gotten so crowded and the primary reasons pet parents brand-hop. She highlights the impact millennials and generation Z have on the pet food aisle and looks at a new, upcoming lifestyle trend that offers pets a rotational diet for better health by alternating proteins, recipes and textures. If brand monogamy as we know it is dead, is brand polygamy the new, next best thing?
10:15 – 10:45
Building a direct-to-consumer business for pet food
Jodi Watson, consultant
In recent years, manufacturers discovered the vast opportunities of building a direct-to-consumer business. Yet some pet food companies are behind and still operating with the mindset that they can only go through retail channels to grow their businesses. By developing a direct-to-consumer business, pet food manufacturers can garner additional margin, consumer intelligence and learning that not only enhances their ability to stay current, but mitigates risks of Amazon and business trend weaknesses existing in the pet food retail industry, particularly in pet specialty. Watson offers a provocative call-to-action for how pet food companies can transform their businesses and grow in a new way.
10:45 – 11:15
11:15 – 11:45
Science from sales and the microbiome: leveraging the direct-to-consumer model to obtain actionable data
Justin Shmalberg, D.V.M., D.A.C.V.N., chief nutrition officer, and Ryan Honaker, Ph.D., director of microbiology, NomNomNow
Shmalberg and Honaker describe how a direct-to-consumer, individualized, fresh pet food diet subscription service permitted cohort refinement and recruitment for scientific studies with unique, inexpensive and robust data sets. Specific data from dog and cat microbiomes were obtained in one such investigation, which illustrates the potential of this novel approach. Preliminary data from the investigation reveal interesting differences in naive dog populations and in those that transitioned to fresh pet food products, providing the foundation for further scientific study in novel areas and for the expansion of internal scientific expertise.
11:45 – 12:15
The impact of natural omega-3 DHA/EPA sources on pet food sustainability
Jeff Alix, global pet nutrition marketing manager, DSM Nutritional Products
With growth in premium pet foods comes an increase in demand for ingredients that are all-natural, deliver functionality and meet social and environmental responsibilities. Among these ingredients are those that provide the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, since they address many of the health needs of humans and pets. The primary source of these nutrients is fish oil. Industrial fishing pulls 16 million tons of fish from the oceans annually, which is leading to overfishing and a loss of biodiversity. Alix discusses the impact on sustainability of the primary alternatives to fish oil.
12:15 – 12:45
Waste production, and reduction, in pet food packaging
Diana C. Tebaldi, quality and HSE project engineer, Mann um Hummel
Flexible packaging options offer pet food manufacturers a more economic and sustainable system than any other, along with many additional benefits, but this packaging is often difficult to recycle. Tebaldi presents results of a project looking at waste in pet food packaging in Europe and specifically in Germany, suggesting alternatives for minimizing the production of this subdivision of waste through examples implemented in other types of packaging in Germany. She also discusses responsible sourcing, such as choosing suppliers with ISO 14001 certification, as another key to pet food manufacturers’ sustainability and environmental commitments.
12:45 – 14:00
14:00 – 14:30
Building your pet food brand and tribe: new insights into social media done well
Wendy Shankin-Cohen, president and CEO, Dr. Harvey’s/Healthy Formulations
Shankin-Cohen shares easy-to-implement marketing strategies for successful social media campaigns for brands, giving usable tools to companies needing to create or improve their presence on social media. Customer loyalty is everything today, so creating a tribe of followers by engaging with current customers is crucial. You will learn how to write effective status entries, use hashtags effectively and strike a balance between promotional and non-promotional content, as well as how to use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, to create a tribe of loyal brand supporters.
14:30 – 15:00
How to successfully handle pets’ aging process
Anne Lepoudère, research and development manager, Vivae-Diana Pet Food
The aging process induces numerous metabolic and physiological changes such as oxidative stress and inflammation, which have various harmful effects on pets including joint health issues, cognitive decline and immune function alterations. Most of the existing solutions to reduce the consequences of pet aging treat the problems once they are established – for example, specific diets targeted to old pets to help decrease pain and maintain mobility. Another approach involves early intervention to limit the development of age-related disorders. Lepoudère presents a study demonstrating how a combination of natural plant-based ingredients can help manage oxidative stress and inflammatory consequences in dogs.
15:00 – 15:30
Fish proteins from blue whiting may promote health benefits in pets
Oddrun Gudbrandsen, Ph.D., leader of dietary protein research group, University of Bergen; Ola Flesland, Ph.D., R&D manager of TripleNine Group; Aslaug Drotningsvik, Ph.D. candidate, University of Bergen
Proteins from different fish species inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) activity in vitro, thus suggesting antihypertensive properties, but evidence concerning in vivo effects of fish proteins on blood pressure is still limited. Blue whiting is primarily used for fish meal production, and little is known about potential health effects that may expand the application of this fish species in products for human consumption. Gudbrandsen’s team investigated the effects of blue whiting proteins on blood pressure in animals (obese rats). After five weeks, the animals had a lower blood pressure compared to controls. Though the results do not support that this was mediated through ACE inhibition, they may be applied to developing health-promoting protein ingredients in pet food.
15:30 – 16:00
16:00 – 16:30
Did EU regulation on pet food labeling achieve its goals?
Paola Cane, Ph.D., senior advisor and CEO, Mia Solution
Ten years ago, European Union (EU) Regulation 767/2009 set out pet food labeling rules. At the time, manufacturers needed to differentiate or capitalize on scientific advantages and consumers needed transparent information. The regulation tried to achieve clarity and transparency, simplify technical requirements and remove unnecessary administrative burden, increase competitiveness, encourage innovation and quality-relevant marketing, enable informed purchase choices. Overall, it affected 123 manufacturers, 5,000 brands and 80 million pet owners in Europe. What has been the impact of this regulation: Has the pet food industry changed labeling practices? Has the intention to inspire innovation, promote transparency and competitiveness been achieved?
16:30 – 17:00
Protected ingredients for better process control in companion animal nutrition
Eric Altom, Ph.D., technical nutritionist, and Robert Mason, senior food applications scientist, Balchem Corp.
Leveraging microencapsulation technologies in pet food production can help increase product stability, enable novel processes and improve processing efficiency. Enhanced nutrient stability through the prevention of premature reactions and degradation with other nutrients and formula components in pet food products helps control dosing and repeatability. In addition, microencapsulation’s benefits can impact total delivered costs for the manufacturer – for example, minimizing losses and helping reduce the formulation overages often required – and make fortified pet food foods more economical for the end consumer. The proper use of microencapsulated ingredients can potentially deliver new pathways to pet food product development.