HIGHLAND, ILL. — Terri Boeser has held several roles with Trouw Nutrition USA since joining the company in 2007. Equipped with degrees in accounting, she first joined the company as a business analyst. Over the years, the company afforded her the experience and support to explore new passions and curiosities, leading her to become more involved in the nutrition side of the business. Today, as general manager of the company’s companion animal nutrition division, Boeser’s career is driven by a commitment to helping dog and cat food producers as they seek to serve up the best for pets.

“The complexities of maintaining high-quality standards in pet food production underscore the conscientious efforts of the entire industry to provide not just nourishment but optimal nutrition and safety for pets, all while considering the wellbeing of the humans involved in the process,” she said.

In the following Q&A, Boeser details her career shift from accounting to companion animal nutrition and shares valuable advice for other aspiring pet industry leaders.


PFP: Tell us about your business or career in the pet industry.

Boeser: At Trouw Nutrition, we manufacture ingredient premixes and blends for premium pet food companies around the globe, focusing on the unique needs of each customer. Our vision is “advancing nourishment of the world’s pets,” and we live it out by being passionate about customer success and pet nutrition. This shows in our long-term customer relationships and commitment to the industry.  


PFP: How did you get your start in the pet industry, and how did that experience lead you to where you are now?

Boeser: After studying to be a CPA and working in public and government accounting, I joined Trouw Nutrition USA in 2007 as an accountant, beginning a transformative journey. Back then, my understanding of the pet food industry was limited and I expected my lifelong career would be in accounting. Driven by a passion for numbers, my curiosity reached into the dynamics behind the figures, propelling me on a diverse career path within the company. Over the years, I stepped into many interim roles, projects and trainings, feeding an ever-growing fascination with the business and the pet food industry, eventually leading to my current role as global managing director.

I love being a part of such a passionate and ever-changing industry across the world. My phone is full of pictures of new products, processes, and, most of all, the people who share the passion to advance the industry. As we continue to evolve in this dynamic business, I look forward to leveraging the team’s expertise to contribute further to the advancement of the pet food sector.


PFP: What has been your biggest challenge — personal or professional — related to your work in the pet industry?

Boeser: The biggest challenge I face is balancing my passion and commitment to this business with the passions I have in my personal life. There is always something new and exciting to focus on with the business, but in what felt like a snap of the fingers, I now have teenagers. It is a constant balancing act and something that many of us face throughout our careers. Overall, I feel lucky to have such a great family and career and continue to make the most of each moment along the way.


PFP: Tell me about a professional accomplishment in the pet industry that you are proud of.

Boeser: Cutting the ribbon at our Blending Innovation Center™ (BIC) in 2022 was the highlight of my professional journey with Trouw Nutrition. The significance of this achievement was heightened by the fact that it came to life after years of brainstorming and strategizing amidst the challenges posed by a global pandemic. The process of bringing this vision to fruition began with the finalization of plans in March 2020, just as the world braced itself for the unprecedented changes brought about by the pandemic. I distinctly remember the urgency of the moment when we had to cut a meeting short to ensure the safe return of our team members, navigating the unexpected airport shutdowns.

Despite the challenges that followed, our commitment to realizing the BIC remained unwavering. It was akin to experiencing a proud parent moment, witnessing the successful establishment of a groundbreaking facility that would contribute significantly to our company's growth and industry innovation. The shared pride in this achievement fuels my commitment to future endeavors to meet our customers' evolving needs and support our company's continued success.


PFP: What is top of mind for you and/or your business in the industry right now?

Boeser: Serving our customers’ needs is always the primary focus at Trouw Nutrition. From bringing new technology and expertise to our customers to strategic international expansion, customers are top of mind. Recognizing the global demand for high-quality pet nutrition, we actively explore and implement opportunities to broaden our presence in key markets worldwide.

Planning for and implementing growth alongside our customers is particularly challenging in the current economic and inflationary environment, but we are committed to it. Our customers appreciate our candor and openness in exploring new opportunities with them as they evaluate nutrition, market differentiation, and even manufacturing and supply chain strategies.


PFP: If you could pick three trends influencing the industry today, which are the most important and why?

Boeser: As the humanization of pets continues to be a top trend globally, the new opportunities are endless. This megatrend drives numerous other trends in pet food, like human-grade, new forms and processes of manufacturing pet food, the proliferation of supplements, and the customization of pet diets. We see a key part of our role in this growth as a partner for pet food manufacturers and brands in keeping the nourishment of the pet and food safety at the forefront.

Sustainability continues to be an important global trend in the pet food industry. As brands and manufacturers lean into what is most important to their customers, employees and their brand’s future, they are adapting how they operate. Sustainability programs and commitments are also a priority for the businesses directly serving the pet food industry, helping to drive change throughout the supply chain. One of the significant challenges many organizations face is staying focused on the need for change and progressing with change in a way that does not stifle long-term business growth.

As in all industries, artificial intelligence (AI) and digital tools are a trend that will shape the future. From immediate data on a pet’s health to instantaneous insights on manufacturing processes and much more, we are barely scratching the surface of the potential. It will be so interesting to see how the industry continues to embrace these tools.


PFP: What is something about the pet industry that people outside of the industry may not realize?

Boeser: Many people outside the pet industry may not fully grasp the strict standards governing the production of high-quality pet food. The intricacies in ensuring a pet food's safety and nutritional value extend not only to the final product but also to the entire manufacturing process, from sourcing raw materials to packaging and distribution. The complexities of maintaining high-quality standards in pet food production underscore the conscientious efforts of the entire industry to provide not just nourishment but optimal nutrition and safety for pets, all while considering the wellbeing of the humans involved in the process.


PFP: What advice would you give to young people starting their careers in this industry?

Boeser: My advice to young people entering the pet food industry is to not just seek out a job, but a culture and people that will allow you to drive your passion. In such an environment, the joy of working in this industry goes beyond the satisfaction of a successful career; it becomes a shared journey toward a common goal.

Terri Boeser, managing director of companion animal at Trouw Nutrition, with dogsSource: Trouw Nutrition USA

PFP: Just for fun, do you consider yourself a dog person or a cat person? Or, if you have pets of your own, tell us a little bit about them. 

Boeser: Dogs vs cats? Sorry cats, but I find therapy and service dogs incredible, making me more of a dog lover. I vividly remember a Dalmatian visiting our local Children’s Hospital when I was growing up, and it was a highlight of the day for many of the children. There is just something about a dog that can make you feel unconditionally loved.


PFP: Any final advice for other women in the pet industry?

Boeser: My advice to women in the field is to actively engage in mentoring future leaders, irrespective of their backgrounds. Sheryl Sandberg's quote, “In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders,” is an inspiring call to break down gender barriers and foster a more inclusive leadership landscape. Drawing from my personal experience as a mother to both a daughter and a son, I am acutely aware of the significance of cultivating a workplace culture that transcends gender stereotypes. It is crucial to instill in young women and men that leadership is about driving all people to their fullest potential.

Terri Boeser joined Trouw Nutrition in 2007 as a business analyst. As her industry experience, skills and interests evolved, so did her roles with the company. Since 2013, she has served as controller, worked on strategic projects, and now leads the company’s companion animal team as general manager. Boeser earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from Saint Louis University.

Continue reading about other female leaders featured in our Women in the Pet Industry series.