There are several organizations that operate in the United States to provide advocacy, educational and networking opportunities for pet food manufacturers and other industry players.
As the animal food industry — particularly manufacturers of dog and cat food — continues to be a clear stronghold of support for the overall agricultural economy, it’s crucial that processors, suppliers, brands and product developers are supported with information and education, as well as advocated for at the federal and state regulatory levels.
Fortunately, there are a variety of associations and organizations who represent the best interests of pet food processors, pet owners and pets alike. In our Pet Food Processing 2019 Resource Guide, we asked the major pet food and treat industry associations about their short- and long-term agendas as a resource to manufacturers. Keep reading to learn more about these organizations and how they have and continue to serve pet food producers.
Pet Food Institute (PFI) is an organization that advocates for United States pet food and treat manufacturers in Washington D.C. and across the country on the bases of food safety, pet nutrition and regulatory compliance.
Over the last 10 years, Pet Food Industry's regulatory agenda has been largely centered around the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), a “prevention-focused safety approach” to food production, including stringent requirements for animal food safety. In addition, PFI supports funding for the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) training and education initiatives for state-run agencies and inspectors.
The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) is a key organization representing pet food and animal feed producers on legislation, regulation and international trade. It represents companies at all points of the pet food industry, including ingredient suppliers, manufacturers, equipment manufacturers and even direct-to-consumer businesses.
AFIA hosts educational programs, training sessions and pet food-focused events, including the annual Pet Food Conference at the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE). The conference draws several hundred industry professionals each year.
The organization also has a Pet Food Committee comprised of industry members, which is tasked with identifying and addressing issues that impact all aspects of pet food production. Members of the committee receive updates on relevant issues and provide feedback to AFIA on its policy positions.
The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) represents more than 1,050 companies that collectively operate more than 7,000 facilities and handle over 70% of all grain and oilseed utilized in the United States and export markets. This includes both private and cooperatively owned businesses in grain, feed, processing, exporting and other grain-related sectors.
The organization focuses on enhancing growth and economic performance of United States agriculture as a whole by lobbying regulatory agencies for safe, affordable, sustainable and robust trade to improve the quality and food safety of animal food. Overall, the association advocates for grain, feed and animal food issues, including safety, trade, state and federal policy, biotechnology and transportation. The association is an industry leader for these policy issues and also provides resources on food safety, industry-wide communication and professional development. Each year, NGFA sponsors training events to enhance food safety and compliance, transportation best practices, trade rules and dispute resolution, risk management and quality assurance programs, to name a few.
When discussing pet food ingredients and regulatory deliberations surrounding those ingredients, AAFCO will almost always be mentioned in the conversation. AAFCO’s members differ from other pet food and treat industry organizations because its membership is limited to state and federal regulatory agencies and officials for animal food.
The main goals of the association are to encourage professional development, cooperation and communication among regulatory agencies and personnel, and support the use of technology and research by regulatory agencies. AAFCO offers valuable resources to pet food processors, including an annually updated Official Publication, a collection of definitions for all pet food ingredients approved for use in the US since 1934. In February 2019, the association unveiled an online version called the Online Database of Ingredients (ODI) to provide the most up-to-date information on animal food ingredients to processors and suppliers. AAFCO also provides contact information for each state’s regulatory agency for animal food through an interactive digital map.
Pet Food Alliance (PFA) was started in December 2017 at Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins. Since then, individuals representing various sectors of the pet food and rendering industries have met twice a year to collaborate on some of the challenges and opportunities they see for these industries.
PFA was established on five key pillars: a focus on uniting members of the pet food and rendering industries; engagement with and encouragement of widespread participation from additional industry members; facilitating research guided by industry input to address real-world challenges; establishing multidisciplinary collaborations with academia and industry; and proactively building industry sustainability through all its initiatives.
As a leading trade group in the broader pet industry, the American Pet Product Association (APPA) has more than 1,300 members that include pet product manufacturers, their representatives, importers and livestock suppliers. Since 1988, the association has published the biennial APPA National Pet Owner’s Survey, which is a comprehensive research study of the demographics and buying habits of pet owners providing data on consumer behavior, product and service consumption and lifestyle and media habits.
Annually, APPA presents the Global Pet Expo in partnership with Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA). This premier industry event takes place in Orlando, Florida and draws qualified pet product buyers representing more than 80 countries.
As a mission-based association, the World Pet Association (WPA) focuses its efforts around four key pillars: producing world-class trade and consumer events; providing industry action and leadership; supporting retail with business services and value-added resources; and giving back through community good works.
August 2019 marked the organization's 70th anniversary and a brand refresh for WPA, which included new service offerings and a library of retailer tools to serve as year-round resources. The offerings include data-driven reports, customized information, online education and one-on-one consulting for retailers.
The Food Processing Suppliers Association (FPSA) is a horizontal organization whose more than 400 members provide manufacturing solutions to the global food, beverage, meat and pet food industries. The association’s programs and services assist its members in marketing their products and services, and in improving their business practices whether it be for processing, packaging or food safety.
Pet food is making its mark at FPSA. The association launched its Pet Food Council in 2018 and already it is the largest of the association’s six industry councils, thanks to the growth of the market and the tremendous opportunity that FPSA members see in this segment.
As an international, not-for-profit trade association representing leading bakery and food suppliers, Bakery Equipment Manufacturers and Allieds (BEMA) focuses specifically on furthering the professional, technological, educational, safety and sanitation practices within the bakery and food manufacturing industries. The association represents equipment manufacturers, companies that provide ingredients, packaging materials and vehicles, and service providers including publishers, consultants, installers and financial services.
BEMA is dedicated to furthering the professional success of its members with networking opportunities, events, scholarships and educational opportunities annually. The organization included a pet food panel discussion as part of its programming at the 2019 BEMA Convention in Vail, Colorado.