Neil Thorneycroft


Head of Marketing & NPD


Sapphire Nutrition

Neil Thorneycroft will explain a new, industry-drive pet food rating system on Tuesday, April 30, at 3:25-3:45 pm during “The pet food market and marketing innovations” concurrent sessions. Register here

What is the single, most important concept you hope attendees will learn from your presentation?

Pet Food Rating Systems entail factors beyond the ingredients alone, emphasizing the importance of aligning our actions with our words as pet food manufacturers. Given the emotional nature of this category and its outward perception as both rewarding and profitable, there is an increasing influx of market entrants motivated by less noble intentions. Many pet food rating systems are administered by skeptics who lack firsthand experience within a manufacturing facility. I firmly believe that the system I propose is equitable for all stakeholders, providing a fair and sophisticated approach that the industry should embrace over less comprehensive alternatives.

Please explain the significance of this concept to the pet food industry and your organizaion:

It is my hope that this system will set a higher standard, encouraging companies to demonstrate their commitment to their products through meaningful investments. This could involve improvements in processes, enhancements to quality systems, fortification of scientific credentials, validation of claims, or optimization of product performance.

In embracing this approach, we advocate for a greater level of respect for our customers’ needs, urging companies to adopt a stance that is characterized by honesty, openness, transparency, and genuine commitment.

I aim to share my knowledge and experience to contribute towards creating a better world for our pets. It’s important to recognize that owning a pet is a privilege, not a right.

What are potential next developments in this specific field?

I aspire to see this tool widely acknowledged as a fair method for assessing the suitability of pet foods, embraced by pet food industries globally for its commitment to consistency and transparency.

Presentation Description:

New, industry-driven pet food rating system — Thorneycroft proposes a new, objective pet food rating system that goes beyond an ingredients-only focus and takes into account complete and balanced claims, manufacturing and quality standards, product performance criteria, scientific credentials as well as ingredients. Using a five-star scale for clear and easy communication, the system would equip consumers with the means to make informed decisions that prioritize their pets’ well-being through a comprehensive evaluation.


Neil Thorneycroft has over 35 years of experience in the pet food industry. He is a passionate advocate for putting pets first and has held a variety of roles from manufacturing and quality assurance to research and development, product development, product testing, raw ingredient development and supplier audits. Thorneycroft has also held positions in sales, marketing, brand management, advertising, point of sale, promotions manager, nutrition training, new product development and project management. With extensive experience in the area of pet nutrition, product formats and behavior, he has worked in the USA, Indonesia, New Zealand and Thailand with a wide range of pet food types. Throughout his career, Thorneycroft has developed a number of tools, charts and courses. He has also internally published technical manuals and apps, and has been honored with several awards, including the Australian Packaging Awards, POPIA Awards Retail Display, POPIA Awards Innovation, Mars Global Make the Difference Innovation, POPIA Awards In-store display and Mars Regional Make the Difference Community.