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New ingredient data shows pet food’s value to US economy

The U.S. pet food industry uses 8.65 tons of animal- and plant-based ingredients for dog and cat food annually, contributing US$6.9 billion to the country’s agricultural economy. That’s according to a new report, “Pet Food Production and Ingredient Analysis,” jointly funded and released by the Institute for Feed Education and ResearchNorth American Renderers Association and Pet Food Institute (PFI).

I imagine many people will join me in considering this very welcome and long-needed information. At Petfood Industry, we often receive questions from pet food professionals about the usage of various pet food ingredients – data that has always been difficult to find. (With the exception of commodity ingredients, if you have the knowledge and time to dig through pages and pages of data from the US Department of Agriculture.) So I congratulate these organizations on undertaking this research and sharing it freely with the industry.

Top pet food ingredients by volume, value

The research and analysis of pet food ingredient usage was conducted by Decision Innovation Solutions, an economic research and analysis firm. Besides its own research, it used a base of pet food sales data purchased from Nielsen, resulting in an overall picture of the market at US$30 billion and 9.8 million metric tons in retail sales in 2018. Not surprisingly, dry dog food was the largest category in both value and volume sales that year, at US$11.2 billion and 5.6 million metric tons, respectively.

Highlights of the ingredient research include:

  • Pet food made in the U.S. uses 542 standardized ingredients (taken from retail product labels), with 164 of those ingredients used in both dog and cat food.
  • Aggregated into overall categories by ingredient type, farm and mill-based products had the highest usage, at just over 4 million tons and representing a value of US$1.4 billion. (This category is quite broad, comprising grains and oilseeds, processed grain and oilseed products, dairy products, egg products, forages, fruits, herbs, nuts, root crops, sweeteners, tree oils and vegetables.)
  • While animal protein products appeared the most frequently on pet food labels, with nearly 6,000 listings (more than 2,000 over the next category, fruits and vegetables), when analyzed by specific source for volume, meat and poultry products ranked second at 2.1 million tons. But because of their higher cost, their value was highest at US$3.2 billion.
  • Next were rendered protein meals at 1.5 million metric tons and US$563 million, followed by animal and poultry fats at 289,037 tons and US$153 million.
  • Fish products ranked fourth overall, at 198,671 metric tons and US$893 million. Other categories included broth ingredients, water and minerals. (Note: The study did not include other additives such as vitamins, preservatives, colors or flavors; the organizations said that while those additives are important to pet foods, their volume is very low.)
  • Breaking down the ingredient sources further by weight, whole grains ranked first at 1.87 million metric tons, followed by chicken (854,988 tons), meat and bone meal (635,652 tons), corn gluten meal (476,599 tons) and soybean meal (437,251 tons).
  • By value, beef ranked first at US$1.22 billion, followed by lamb (US$691 million), chicken (US$650 million), salmon (US$430 million) and chicken broth (US$353 million).
  • The top five states contributing ingredients for pet food are Missouri, Kansas, Pennsylvania and Ohio, USA, with Missouri alone contributing nearly US$1 billion worth.

Pet food’s contribution to U.S. economy

While many people and pet food businesses will find this ingredient data very interesting and useful, there is more meaning behind the research, and one of the motivating factors for why the three organizations funded it: further proving the worth of pet food to the U.S. economy. According to the report, 519 pet food manufacturing facilities are located in 42 of the 50 U.S. states. This contributes to what the sponsoring organizations called “upstream” volume and sales.

“The purchase of these products from farmers and farmer-product processors stimulates additional upstream economic activity to other related agricultural industries via the multiplier effect,” read a press release on the report. “The exchange of pet food ingredients leads to the purchase of an additional US$5.3 billion of important materials and services for farmers and farm processors, such as crop inputs, machinery and labor. In addition, those suppliers buy an additional $4.1 billion in services, equipment and labor to meet related needs.”

Dana Brooks, president and CEO of PFI, stated it this way: “This data is an important step in helping to quantify the economic value this industry brings to our economy and all of U.S. agriculture. As pet lovers, we’ve known the value that pets bring to our lives, but can now further confirm the significance of the entire pet food industry.”

During a webinar about the report, Brooks also pointed out the sustainability role of pet food ingredients liked dried distillers grains from the brewing and liquor industries, rendered protein meal and other animal proteins like organ meats. They use leftover or unwanted ingredients from the human food industry (also known as by-products) that would otherwise go to waste.

Originally published at dogfoodindustry.com

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2 tips boost pet food industry remote work productivity

Supermarkets look like zombie movie sets. Arenas and stadiums stand empty. Airports idle. Worldwide people have prepared their homes to ride out the COVID-19 pandemic that has taken thousands of lives. Many pet food industry professionals find themselves suddenly working from home to avoid coronavirus contagion. Although ingredient and equipment factories, testing labs and kennels need people, many jobs can be done from the disinfected comfort of home. Finding personal productivity hotspots and learning to use tech effectively can help pet food industry professionals adapt to remote work.

3 tips for achieving work-from-home life balance

The current pandemic is necessitating huge disruptions in the way we work — here’s how you can make things easier.

Even without a pandemic, many of my colleagues and I work from our computers most days. The parent company of Petfood Industry, WATT Global Media is a Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE), a human resource management strategy developed by the founders of CultureRx. Basically, the ROWE strategy means we are evaluated on our productivity, not the amount of time we stare at a glowing rectangle. We don’t have to work any specific daily schedule, as long as our work is done well and we help others when needed. A ROWE encourages employees to use time efficiently and discourages procrastination, since wasted time during work just means less personal time afterwards. A ROWE gives freedom, but requires responsibility. Along with that, it creates technology challenges. Learn from our experiences with these tips.

  1. Find ideal productivity times and places

Contrary to what cynical intuition may say, most people seem to be more productive while working outside of an office and free of direct, physical supervision. Instead of slacking, I found myself working more hours, since there was never a clear end to the workday. So, I determined hours when I would work with pre-determined stops at certain points. My personal work schedule deviates widely from the nine to five, allowing me to follow my natural productivity rhythms. Throughout the day, I found that some tasks flowed more easily than others did at specific times of the day. Try to find your own work times that suit your natural patterns. Similarly, the spare bedroom might not be your ideal work environment. Various spaces may prove conducive to concentration, while others make mindless tasks fly. Migrating throughout the day helps me keep on pace and reduces monotony. Once you establish those productive times and places, use them to develop routines to structure your days. Family and housemate’s schedules play into this as well. When you need to make phone calls, host meetings or focus on a project, aim for a tranquil time around the homestead.

In a sudden shift to remote work, the days have suddenly lost their familiar rhythms. During that transition period especially, prioritizing tasks avoids blowing precious time on trifles while a major project curdles on the back burner. Keep crucial, but long-term, objectives in mind when planning your calendar.

  1. Use tech to organize and communicate

When starting remote work, your calendar suddenly seems an amorphous suggestion as you transition from office habits to forging your own patterns. Conquering your company’s organizational planner, perhaps a shared Outlook calendar, also helps keep your most productive times safe from meetings. I schedule blocks of time on my company calendar during prime productivity times so meetings won’t be scheduled during that time, or at least I’ll be less likely to be invited to them. Meetings can proliferate when working from home as dispersed co-workers try to keep tabs on a flock of cats. While remote work depends on frequent communication, large group meetings aren’t always the answer, especially when depending on every person’s internet link and computer to behave while using GoToMeeting or similar programs. Instant messaging systems, like Skype, e-mail, text messages and calls can facilitate keeping individuals up to date on details, while keeping several avenues of communication open if a battery dies. No matter what digital platform you hold a meeting on or otherwise use to communicate, be sure you understand how to use it well before you need it. Becoming a power user of digital communication media definitely helps out in remote work. Learning to find tutorial videos can compensate for a natural lack of cyber savvy.

Communication tech, including social media, should help you organize your day and boost productivity, but it can become a pestering parrot squawking, or tweeting, in our ears. Turning off email, social media and other notifications silences that bird and lets you focus. To avoid a missed emergency, establish with your team the best means to contact you in a crisis. Use that method, such as an unplanned phone call, only when it is serious and someone seems otherwise incommunicado.

Originally published at petfoodindustry.com