I’ve never been much of a pet person.

I grew up on a small cattle ranch, and we had a few pets here and there, including one disastrous attempt to make a collie a working dog. There were a couple of beagles, a few rabbits (mostly for 4-H projects), and occasional barn cats. I suppose you could consider the cattle to be pets, but that makes eating them slightly awkward.

I’ve generally stayed away from pets in my adult life. Currently, my family’s pet situation consists of a single fish. It lives in my daughter’s room, yet somehow I’ve assumed responsibility for it. We’re all allergic to both dogs and cats, which gives my wife and me a convenient excuse to ward off requests for a kitten or a puppy, depending on which week it is. 

But even as someone who is not very well-versed in the world of being a pet owner, I’ve noticed the trends happening in the pet food area. The market has been growing like crazy the last few years, both in terms of how much is being sold and what is being sold. As pet owners look for higher-quality food and treats for their furry children, processors have naturally moved to provide those products. The amount people are willing to pay for pet food is somewhat staggering, so it’s a big opportunity for food processors to expand their current pet offerings or make an entry into the market.

As with anything else, opportunities also bring challenges. We’re dedicated to covering the opportunities and challenges that exist across the food manufacturing industry, and this month, we’re debuting the first article of our new pet food coverage. Senior Editor Sharon Spielman took a look at what’s going on with pet food processing and packaging trends, including what’s driving the growth of the market, how processors are adapting, and the safety and quality standards that pet food processors are meeting. 

You can find the story here, and over the course of this year, we’ll have additional stories on pet food manufacturing. The topics include automation in pet food plants, FSMA and hygienic pet food processing, and the modernization of pet food production. As we plan future coverage, we’ll be looking for opportunities to include pet food processing and associated topics whenever possible because the market has a lot of interesting things happening.

The food industry is changing in so many ways, big and small, and the pet food industry is coming to terms with many of those same changes. Our goal is to not only document those changes within the pet food market, but also to provide you with the information you need to stay at the top of your game, even if you’re not in that specific market. 

Good ideas can come from anywhere, and we’re always looking for ways to share them with you. Hopefully our pet food coverage will teach some old dogs some new tricks.