“Rendering is sustainable and an essential link in the food and feed chain,” Nancy Foster, president of the National Renderers Assn. (NRA) and Fats & Proteins Research Foundation, said during a presentation at the International Rendering Symposium, which was held in conjunction with the 2018 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, Ga. NRA and U.S. Poultry & Egg Assn. sponsored the program.
Foster reported that NRA represents more than 95% of rendering in the U.S. and Canada, including packer and independent renderers. NRA supports the rendering industry through programs on biosecurity and stewardship, regulatory and lobbying government affairs and international marketing promotion. The rendering industry exceeds $10 billion in annual revenues.
“My dog is not my pet. My dog is family,” Tim Law, corporate quality manager for Darling Ingredients, said in describing how most pet owners feel about their pets. Roughly 85 million families in the U.S. own a pet, and the pet industry is a $69.4 billion per year business.
Law explained that pet parents expect good prices, quality and appearance as well as palatability, performance and packaging appeal for their pet’s food. He said there is a humanizing trend toward pets and gave the top four human food trends that the pet food industry is currently experiencing. He said, “It’s not just the pet anymore; it is the pet parent.”
Dr. B.J. Bench, director of FSQA, Specialty Products for Tyson Foods, presented on “Oxidation & Its Challenges.” Bench observed that many variables contribute to oxidation, rancidification or degradation of products with many sequels, such as the passive view of fatty acid degradation or termination that leads to secondary volatile and non-volatile compounds.
He noted that “trying to understand product degradation is a challenge all on its own. Antioxidants offer a product that provides some stability but are not a perfect solution.”
Bench concluded that detailed research studies on rendered products are needed to truly understand the culprits that are leading to potential issues, along with palatability studies that support a real concern.
Pet Food Conference
Also at IPPE, the American Feed Industry Assn. (AFIA) held its 11th annual Pet Food Conference, bringing in more than 300 industry leaders to discuss everything from modernizing pet food labels to evaluating new pet food ingredients, helping them tackle the latest challenges in the evolving marketplace.
“AFIA’s Pet Food Conference provides a forum for leaders in the industry to discuss and learn about the top pet food trends,” said Leah Wilkinson, AFIA vice president of public policy and education. “We had a full house and some great speakers who sparked lively discussions at this year’s conference.”
This year’s program included seven expert speakers from associations, private entities and universities, who discussed a variety of topics, including: international trade, challenges and opportunities in the ingredient supply, modernization of the American Association of Feed Control Officials pet food labeling regulations, animal health and more.
Jared Koerten from Euromonitor International kicked off the day with his presentation on domestic and global industry trends, discussing emerging markets, the growth of e-commerce in pet care and the effects the humanization of pets is having on the pet food industry.
According to Koerten, sales of pet care products in the U.S.have increased more than 20% in the last five years. In addition, premium pet foods and online pet care stores and subscription services are increasing in popularity due to consumers aiming to save time while purchasing the best quality products for their pets.
Dr. George Collings with Collings Ingredients Solutions talked about the shift in pet food product offerings in the marketplace over the past 50 years, from the introduction of veterinary foods in the 1960s to higher-energy and super-premium foods in the 1970s and '80s, to recent trends for organic, holistic and human-quality food.
Although many consumers regard their pets as part of their families, Collings cautioned the industry to manage those expectations, particularly in marketing efforts, since human food does not always provide a complete and balanced diet for pets, and many ingredients approved for humans are not approved for pets.
In a presentation titled “Nitrogen, Amino Acids and/or Protein,” Dr. Anna Kate Shoveller from the University of Guelph in Ontario, discussed the sustainability of dietary protein, which she said is necessary to ensure “a better quality of life for everyone and the ability of society to be maintained over the long term.” Not only does sustainable protein affect pets, she said, but it also affects the environment and the entire food chain’s profitability. She said it will help to “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”
Animal Agriculture Sustainability Summit
Another educational mainstay program of IPPE is the Animal Agriculture Sustainability Summit.
“The global sustainability challenge for animal protein production is significant,” Perry Goldschein, applied sustainability manager, North America, BASF Nutrition & Health, said at the summit.
During his presentation on “Responding to Livestock Sustainability Trends in North America,” Goldschein reviewed a sustainability trend structure that addressed stakeholder demand versus urgency of issues. He said stakeholder pressure focused on topics such as animal welfare, feed contamination, emissions, water, land use and more. He also provided insights into key trends addressing consumer trust, leadership opportunities and environmental impacts of cost beyond compliance.
Sara Crawford, assistant vice president of social responsibility for the National Pork Board, provided a current look into the pork industry, explaining that the industry is booming and can keep up with increased consumer demand for red meat, especially pork. The industry sees this demand growing internationally.
She also discussed the National Pork Board’s five-year strategic plan that includes three distinct goals: build consumer trust, drive sustainable production and grow consumer demand.
“Consumers do not demand perfection, but they do expect honest intent with action,” Crawford said.
Ashley McDonald, senior director of sustainability for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn., provided information on the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, including its mission, which is to advance, support and communicate continuous improvement in the sustainability of U.S. beef production by educating and engaging the beef value chain through a collaborative, multi-stakeholder effort. One of the round table’s main goals is to bring everyone together to share information and insights. The group’s high priority indicators for measurement include animal health and well-being, efficiency and yield, water and land resources, air and greenhouse gas emissions and employee safety and well-being.
During his presentation on “Advancing Dairy’s Sustainability Framework in a Changing Landscape,” Joe McMahan, sustainability director with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, said stewardship and sustainability are foundational to the U.S. dairy industry. McMahan noted that the dairy industry is committed to reducing greenhouse emissions of a gallon of milk 25% by 2020.
Dr. Marty Matlock, executive director of the University of Arkansas Office for Sustainability, and Greg Thoma, Bates teaching professor of chemical engineering for the University of Arkansas, highlighted the expanded results of a retrospective analysis of U.S. poultry production that used a life-cycle assessment methodology to document changes in environmental key performance indicators in the industry from 1965 to 2010. They also provided information on a broiler production model for estimating the environmental footprint of farms.