The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) wrapped up its 14th annual Pet Food Conference (PFC) on January 26, covering the regulatory and trade outlook for the U.S. pet food sector along with changing consumer trends emerging from the coronavirus pandemic. The virtual conference also included the announcement of two Friend of Pet Food Award winners and culminated with three presentations on graduate-level research currently being conducted in the field.
“Nearly 250 professionals from all facets of the pet food industry participated in the AFIA’s virtual Pet Food Conference, proving the industry’s yearning for quality education events and drive for continuous improvement is ever-present despite our ongoing battle to end the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Louise Calderwood, AFIA’s director of regulatory affairs. “The AFIA Pet Food Committee set a new bar for our annual conference, bringing together an outstanding lineup of speakers who challenged us to think differently about how consumers make decisions on their pets’ nutrition, how we approach future growth opportunities at home and abroad, and excited us to think about what future pet research will reveal.”
The live session on January 26 included discussions on the role of behavioral economics in improving a company’s bottom line; the need for diverse ingredients to meet shared sustainability goals throughout the food and agriculture industry; the Food and Drug Administration’s work to streamline ingredient review approvals and bolster its safety inspection process; and potential opportunities and roadblocks that will influence near-term trade deals. Speakers also discussed how the pet food industry is expected to change after the pandemic and showcased dogs being trained to detect diseases, including COVID-19 and ovarian cancer. Participants also had the opportunity to listen to pre-recorded sessions from the Association of American Feed Control Officials on its mid-year meeting, which took place in mid-January; the latest pet food production data from the Institute for Feed Education and Research; and the changes the Biden administration may bring to the U.S. trade policy from the AFIA.
The 2022 AFIA Pet Food Conference will take place Jan. 25 in Atlanta, Ga.