YANGZHOU, CHINA — The fifth annual China International Companion Animal Food Ingredients Conference (CAFIC) was held last month in Yangzhou. During the event, several representatives from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) spoke on the US pet food industry and its successful relationship with China. 

CAFIC 2024 was hosted by LAMB Consultancy and HDSF Tech. According to LAMB, CAFIC has long been China’s largest event connecting the country’s pet food industry with other industries, including those for ingredients, supplements, equipment and services. 

China’s pet population is rising, according to data shared by LAMB. The total population of dogs and cats as household companions topped 120 million in 2023. Additionally, the country’s production of dry pet food reached 1.46 million tonnes in 2024, and its wet pet food market is estimated to be worth $3 billion. The annual growth of the industry has averaged 10% over the past five years, pushing demand for more ingredients and new technologies from the domestic and international markets, like the United States.

With this in mind, CAFIC 2024 focused on the theme of “How technology and management improve safety, quality and innovation of pet foods,” and featured 28 presentations, panels, and a tour of Keshan Pet Food. 

Among the various presentations, representatives from the USDA and FDA took the stage to speak on the Chinese pet food industry and its relationship with the US pet food industry. 

Ted Shibata, acting director of the USDA ATO in Shanghai, provided an overview of US pet foods and ingredients, trade status with China, and the vital roles that ATOs provide. According to Shibata, China and the United States’ partnership has led to a significant growth in exports of US pet food products to China. 

Ashley van Batavia, DVM, veterinarian for the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) office in Beijing, shared protocols for US pet foods and rendered ingredients that were signed by APHIS and China, as well as the regulations APHIS has been implementing to ensure bio-safety and food safety. According to van Batavia, APHIS’ protocols have helped facilitate trade, allowing the United States to become China’s No. 1 trade partner in pet food and certain ingredients, including poultry meal and plasma proteins. 

Edward Potter, assistant country director at FDA’s China office, spoke on US compliance requirements for foreign pet foods facilities and pet food importers, as well as provided details on the FDA’s regulation of pet food products and ingredients. He also discussed pre-market ingredient approval, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and other requirements for animal food production, like preventive control qualified individuals (PCQI). Potter additionally spoke about the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) used throughout the pet food processing and ingredient industries and requirements for exporting pet foods from China to the United States. 

Other speakers included: 

  • Erik Smidt, agricultural counselor of the Netherlands Kingdom in China
  • Adhinand Indrapim, minister counselor of Royal Thai Embassy in China
  • Monika Kolpaczynska, business development manager of Polish Trade and Investment Office
  • Yulong Yin, Ph.D., China’s nationally renowned nutritionist and a Chinese academician of engineering
  • Mian Riaz, Ph.D., the world-renowned pet food processing expert
  • Prof. Haipeng Yang, China’s nationally renowned feed quality specialist
  • Jianguang Li, Ph.D., technical service director of Josha PetLike
  • Sigve Nordrum, executive vice president of Aker BioMarine
  • Peter Graff, head of business unit of pet foods of J. Rettenmaier Söhne, GMBH+CO.KG (JRS)
  • Kevin Ransbotyn, general manager of Novosana’s China division
  • Phoenix Meng, Ph.D., the senior R&D scientist of ADM Pet Nutrition
  • Yanhong Li, Ph.D., technical and regulatory director of Valio’s China division
  • Siping Zhang, consultant of Adifo
  • Peng Li, Ph.D., Asia regional director of the North American Renderers Association (NARA)

Ingredient suppliers APC, Ab Agri, Cargill Animal Nutrition, CTC, Darling Ingredients, Phileo-Lesaffre, Symrise, Tyson Ingredient Solution, USA Dry Peas and Lentils Council were also in attendance, in addition to Chinese suppliers Josha-PetLike, Alphy Biotech, SunHY, FH Natural, and Legendary Petfood Ingredients & Trade. 

The third annual China International Companion Animal Food Equipment Conference (CAFEC) was held in conjunction with CAFIC 2024. This featured several pet food equipment suppliers including Buhler, Wenger, Kerunde, Zhengchang Pet Food Engineering, Shugao Intelligent, Adifo-BestMix, Navector, Hiwell, LWT, Baojia Intelligent, AGRui, Haaslev and Jinxin. The CAFEC provided the latest developments in processing technologies for extrusion, baking, formulation, meat cutting, processing, rendering, ingredient handling, packaging, automation, monitoring and odor control. 

Together, the CAFIC 2024 and CAFEC 2024 brought together over 800 industry professionals from 156 pet food manufacturers and brand owners. The CAFIC 2025 and CAFEC 2025 are set to be held in China in early June. 

Read more about pet food and treat industry events.