New Research Shows U.S. Pet Food Manufacturers Feed America’s Pets and Agricultural Economy, Reduce Food Waste

First-of-its-kind research finds that U.S. pet food manufacturers not only provide balanced, safe meals for America’s dogs and cats, but also stimulate the overall agricultural economy through the purchase of ingredients, labor and services from related industries. The Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER), North American Renderers Association (NARA) and Pet Food Institute (PFI) released a new, jointly funded report today detailing the purchasing power of the $30 billion pet food industry and its economic implications for U.S. agriculture and rural communities. The report also includes an in-depth review of the diverse ingredients most commonly included in dog or cat food. The full report is available online at ifeeder.org.

“This is the first time our three organizations – IFEEDER, NARA and PFI – have partnered using our unique expertise to address a knowledge gap on behalf of our members,” said Constance Cullman, IFEEDER president. “We were able to develop a comprehensive study that illustrates just how remarkable our industry is at feeding America’s cats and dogs, stimulating the rural economy and meeting its commitments to sustainability.”  

The research finds that U.S. pet food manufacturers give back to the agricultural economy by using 8.65 million tons of animal- and plant-based ingredients for dog and cat food to provide the complete nutrition that pets need, at a value of $6.9 billion. The data, compiled and presented by the economic research and analysis firm Decision Innovation Solutions (DIS), shows that pet food manufacturers use an estimated 3.8 million tons of animal-based products, such as rendered products or meat and poultry. Pet food manufacturers also use 4 million tons of farm and farm-product processor ingredients, such as grains, soy products and fruits and vegetables, and approximately 200,000 tons of seafood products. Many of these ingredients are left over from making food for people, such as parts of the animal that people do not eat, reducing food and environmental waste while still providing the nutrition pets need.

Pet food manufacturers produced approximately 10 million tons of dog and cat food in the one-year period studied between June 2018 and June 2019. The top five ingredients used in pet food, based on volume, were whole grains, poultry, meat and bone meal, corn gluten meal and soybean meal. Among U.S. Department of Agriculture defined specialty crops – peas, beet pulp and sweet potatoes topped the list of leading ingredients. A review of pet food labels found more than 500 diverse ingredients used in pet food, indicating a variety of choices available for shoppers to meet their pets’ needs.

The research also showed that U.S. pet food manufacturers are buying many of their ingredients from America’s heartland, with the top five states being Missouri, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Ohio. Ingredients purchases reached almost $1 billion in Missouri alone. 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. The exchange of pet food ingredients leads to the purchase of an additional $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.

“Two-thirds of U.S. households have a pet at home, meaning that the pet food industry not only plays an important role in the lives of more than 100 million families, but also for our country’s agricultural community,” said Dana Brooks, president and CEO of PFI. “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.”

The rendered protein ingredients that pet food manufacturers use to make pet food are highly sustainable. Rendering reduces food waste by transforming otherwise unused portions of an animal to create safe and nutritious pet food ingredients. The rendering process also naturally returns billions of gallons of water into the environment as clean water and has a greenhouse gas reduction equivalent of removing millions of cars off the road, all sustainable practices that are reflected in the finished pet food product.

“With pet parents’ growing interest in the sustainability and carbon footprint of their pets’ food, we feel it is important to highlight that the rendered protein ingredients in their pets’ food is not only nutritious but is also helping to reduce food waste,” said Nancy Foster, president and CEO of NARA. “While about half of an animal isn’t eaten by people, that food provides proteins that our pets crave due to the high nutrient content. Rendering takes that material, which would have otherwise been wasted in landfills or going down the drain, and transforms it into the safe and nutritious pet food that dogs and cats need.”

A full version of the report prepared by DIS, as well as an interactive map detailing economic projections at a state level, are available online at ifeeder.org.

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ABOUT INSTITUTE FOR FEED EDUCATION AND RESEARCH
Founded in 2009 by the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), the Institute for Feed Education and Research is a 501 (c)(3) public charity and is a critical link in the ever-evolving food supply chain. Serving as a champion for the animal food industry, IFEEDER supports critical education and research initiatives that ensure consumers have access to a safe, healthy and sustainable food supply. IFEEDER focuses its work in two primary areas: funding critical animal feed and pet food research to support AFIA’s legislative and regulatory positions, and developing appropriate messaging for policymakers, consumer influencers and stakeholders, which highlights the industry’s positive contributions to the availability of safe, wholesome and affordable food and the preservation of our natural resources.

ABOUT PET FOOD INSTITUTE 
Since 1958, the Pet Food Institute has been the voice of the U.S. pet food and treat makers. PFI is the industry’s representative before Congress and state legislatures, as well as state and federal agencies; public education and media relations resource; organizer of seminars and educational programs; and liaison with other organizations. PFI represents the companies that make 98 percent of U.S. dog and cat food and treat products, an industry with more than $30 billion in U.S. retail sales and $1.62 billion in exports in 2019. Visit petfoodinstitute.org to learn more.  

ABOUT NARA
The North American Renderers Association (NARA) represents the interests of the North American rendering industry to regulatory and other governmental agencies, promotes the greater use of animal byproducts, and fosters the opening and expansion of trade between foreign buyers and North American exporters. In addition to its U.S.-based headquarters, the association maintains offices in Mexico and Hong Kong, and has market consultants in strategic locations around the world. NARA publishes a bi-monthly trade magazine, Render. For more information, visit NARA.org.

IFEEDER Supports Research on the Viral Transmission of Animal Diseases Through Feedstuffs

The Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER), the American Feed Industry Association’s public charity, provided funds to a recently completed research project that provides new information to the animal food industry on how viruses can survive and spread through feedstuffs and details for mitigating risks to domestic swine herds. The research, conducted by the Swine Health Information Center, revises the information for feed holding times.

“In light of the recent outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF) across China and parts of Europe, research like this is critically important for the feed industry so manufacturers have the best and latest information, which helps them improve their processes to keep their customers’ swine herds safe,” said Robert Cooper, IFEEDER executive director. “IFEEDER is proud to serve as a partner in this effort with the pork industry and looks forward to filling future research gaps that help the two industries work hand-in-hand to keep ASF and other foreign animal diseases out of this country.”

IFEEDER Celebrates 10 Years of Research, Education Projects

The Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER) is proud to celebrate a decade of service to the animal food industry, conducting many high-priority research and education projects that protect the animal food industry’s license to operate and provide scientific-based information to decisionmakers and consumers so they can make informed policy and purchasing decisions.

“When the American Feed Industry Association incorporated IFEEDER in 2009, the Board saw the need for a charitable organization to be on the frontlines, helping the animal food industry navigate current challenges and develop opportunities to discuss the global feed industry’s sustainability initiatives,” said Lee Hall, IFEEDER’s Board of Trustees chair and vice president of Hallway Feeds. “It’s clear that over its 10 years, IFEEDER has filled voids in scientific research to help the animal food industry comply with changing federal regulations, guard against animal disease outbreaks, surpass sustainability targets and reach out to consumers who have questions about where their food comes from. IFEEDER has laid a great foundation over the past decade and I look forward to what’s to come.”

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IFEEDER Releases 2017-18 Annual Report

The Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER) released its 2017-18 annual report today, providing financial and project highlights for the 501(c)(3) public charity over the past year.

“Reflecting on this past year, IFEEDER has continued to take on exciting new projects that are aligned with both the needs of the industry and the mission of the Institute,” said Paul Phillips, 2017-18 chair of the IFEEDER Board of Trustees. “We have also focused a significant amount of time and energy into enhancing our consumer communications, which ultimately focus on preserving consumer choice and protecting the animal food industry’s image and license to operate.”

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IFEEDER, M4L Invite Donations for Mark Cornwell Scholarship Fund

The Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER), in partnership with the Milling4Life (M4L) charity, has launched a fundraising drive in support of a scholarship that provides financial assistance to students pursuing careers in the food and feed manufacturing sectors. The charities announced today that they aim to raise $75,000 over the next few months, with the goal of offering the scholarship in perpetuity if sufficient funds are raised.

The Mark Cornwell scholarship is named after the late Mark Cornwell, a leading voice for the food and feed industries, who passed away last year. It will provide scholarships to students from around the world taking advanced courses in grain storage, handling or processing, and/or food and feed manufacturing, at a variety of U.S. institutions, including the acclaimed Kansas State University.

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Robert Cooper Joins IFEEDER As Executive Director

The Institute for Feed Education and Research is pleased to announce the addition of Robert Cooper as its executive director, effective June 18. IFEEDER, the American Feed Industry Association’s public charity, focuses on research and education to support the feed industry.

Cooper will provide leadership for IFEEDER in crafting and implementing the overall strategic direction for the institute. He will develop and manage fundraising and donor stewardship programs and maintain relationships with current and future donors. He will also work closely with IFEEDER’s Board of Trustees and other committees to carry out key research and education projects and with the American Feed Industry Association’s communications team to share the institute’s mission and message in various communications to both donors and the public.

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New Research Shows How Animal Food Manufacturing Industry Keeps America’s Livestock Fed, Drives National Economy

Each day across America, more than 6,200 animal food manufacturing facilities are quietly humming along, producing millions of tons of animal food to provide the right nutritional balance to keep the country’s livestock, poultry and pets happy and healthy. Today, the Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER) is proud to share the results of two, first-of-a-kind, yearlong research projects, which quantify the industry’s contribution to the national, state and local economies. It also provides a comprehensive analysis of the ingredients used in the top livestock, poultry and aquaculture diets.

Each day across America, more than 6,200 animal food manufacturing facilities are quietly humming along, producing millions of tons of animal food to provide the right nutritional balance to keep the country’s livestock, poultry and pets happy and healthy. Today, the Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER) is proud to share the results of two, first-of-a-kind, yearlong research projects, which quantify the industry’s contribution to the national, state and local economies. It also provides a comprehensive analysis of the ingredients used in the top livestock, poultry and aquaculture diets.

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IFEEDER Focuses 2016-17 Research, Education Priorities on Improving Public, Policymaker Support of Feed Industry Issues

The Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER) released its first-ever annual report to donors today, reinforcing its continued commitment to executing research and education projects and initiatives that support the animal food industry’s legislative and regulatory priorities, protect its license to operate, and preserve consumer choice.

“The past year for IFEEDER has been about one thing—focus,” said Rob Sheffer, the 2016-17 chairman of the IFEEDER Board of Trustees. “In 2016-17, we spent plenty of time refocusing what types of projects to fund in the future as well as how to better communicate with, or ‘pay particular attention to,’ you, our donors. … Even the logo has a ‘focus’ on research and education, while paying tribute to the importance of the historical green and black to signify the message of sustainability and growth.”

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New Research Project Evaluates Salmonella Risk in Animal Feed Production

The Institute for Feed Education & Research (IFEEDER), along with several partners–including the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), National Pork Board, National Renderers Association, Poultry Protein and Fat Council, U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, and U.S. Soybean Board–has launched a new research project with the University of Arkansas to analyze whether animal feed contains any of the serotypes from the bacteria Salmonella that could pose a health threat to livestock. The yearlong project is aimed at helping the animal feed industry better understand if the bacteria is prevalent at their manufacturing facilities so that it can make more informed decisions on what additional safety measures, if any, should be taken to promote feed safety and protect animal health.

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AFIA, NGFA Foundations Partner with University of Minnesota to Develop Generic Hazard Analysis to Assist FSMA Compliance

The research and education arms of the American Feed Industry Association and National Grain and Feed Association are partnering to finance a major project that will help animal feed, feed ingredient and pet food facilities cost-effectively comply with a core requirement of the Food and Drug Administration’s final rules implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

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