CHICAGO — Attendees at this year’s Process Expo, held Oct. 23 to 25 in Chicago, will have the opportunity to see pet treats in the making live on the show floor through the Production Line program. The line will highlight the latest pet treat production advancements, including an artificial intelligence (AI) module designed to boost production monitoring and predictive maintenance efficiencies, according to the Food Processing Suppliers Association (FPSA).

“At over $20 billion a year and growing, the pet treat segment offers tremendous opportunity for the industry,” said Patrick McGady, chair of the FPSA Pet Foods Council and president of Handtmann USA. “That is why we build these production lines at Process Expo, as they are the perfect platform to highlight the latest advances in technology to food manufacturers so they can improve their efficiencies and further strengthen the bottom line. In addition, this year’s line will feature an AI component that will put more useful information in the hands of the user, enabling them to have a much better understanding of real time metrics to further maximize production.”

Live pet treat production demonstrations will occur three times per day over the course of the tradeshow, during which a hostess will guide spectators through the process as it happens in front of them. The line will feature beef dog treat manufacturing, packaging and palletizing.

“This line is essentially a year in the making, going back to the Pet Food Council’s first discussions about industry trends and what manufacturers are looking for,” said David Seckman, president and chief executive officer of the FPSA. “These discussions considered a variety of products and applications and ultimately led to a production line of treats that will most clearly demonstrate the impressive capabilities in processing, packaging and material handling. Furthermore, the addition of AI into this project will help our audience visualize how this cutting-edge technology functions in the production process and how it can be applied in their plant.”

Exhibitors who have lent their equipment and expertise to the live pet treat production line include:

  • GEA
  • Handtmann, Inc.
  • Provisur Technologies
  • Parker Freeze Dry
  • Mayfran International
  • Ryson International
  • Matrix Packaging
  • Anritsu
  • JLS Automation
  • MontBlanc AI
  • CRB Group

FPSA member company CRB Group is sponsoring, organizing, installing and providing project management services for the pet treat production line.

“The pet food market is growing on the back of demand for premium pet treats, personalized food products and healthy alternatives, and increasing innovation by pet food manufacturers is positively influencing this,” noted Kristy Meade, vice president of technology shows for Messe Frankfurt, Inc., organizer of Process Expo. “Pet food processors, suppliers and retailers are ramping up efforts to capture this product segment which makes it a crucial feature to the show, enabling the industry to see the latest advancements.”

The live pet treat production line builds off Process Expo’s debut of live pet food production in 2019, when it demonstrated a live kibble pet food production line equipped for raw, minimally processed kibble, bites or treats for freeze-drying or dehydration, to the show floor.

The Production Line program at Process Expo 2023 will feature more than 350 suppliers across the food and beverage industry and over 30 educational sessions. The event will be held at the McCormick Place in Chicago. Registration is open on the FPSA website here.

Read more about pet food and treat industry events.