Pet owners are increasingly treating their dogs and cats as part of the family. This humanization of pets impacts producers because people are projecting their food expectations and preferences onto their animal companions. And, as with the food they eat and serve to their children, many are insisting on higher standards for their pets. We will present survey data of 300 industry professionals that reflect an understanding of these concerns and preferences and show how the industry is willing and able to meet them.
In terms of regulations, pet food production facilities are required in many ways to be built and operated as if they were manufacturing human food. Survey respondents have shown they are up to the challenge, incorporating many best-in-class hygienic design procedures. We will discuss how this is impacting new facility design, such as investment in segregated work areas, as well as quality protocols, such as uniform policies.
The humanization of pets has also resulted in pet food that reflects owners’ values, including product quality and sustainability. We will discuss how producers define sustainability, their short- and long-term goals for sustainable products, and the impact on capital spending. Additionally, we will discuss how the desire to produce higher-quality products is impacting investment in new technologies.