The Pet Health and Nutrition Conference will be a one-day meeting of great interest to Asian feed manufacturers and supply companies wanting to develop their activity in the pet sector. It is set for Wednesday 11 March, the opening day of VIV Asia 2015. The show runs between 11-13 March at the BITEC exhibition complex in Bangkok and the conference will be at the same venue.
Global and regional trends
Split into four segments, the Pet Health and Nutrition Conference opens with a market overview from Euromonitor International’s head of pet care research, Paula Flores. She reports that the global business for providing pets with foods, treats, health products and accessories was valued at 98 billion US dollars in 2014.
Over 10 percent of this related to sales in the Asia-Pacific region. One of the main contributors regionally is the market in dry foods for dogs and cats. In 2014 this reached a value of about 4 billion US dollars, with another 1.3 billion dollars spent on wet diets for these pets.
Humanisation of pets
Her presentation to the conference will explain how purchases for pets are being shaped by trends such as one called humanisation, in which owners treat their dog or cat as a member of the family - almost like children. There is also an increasing tendency to choose premium-quality products. Paula Flores will present a focus on key Asian markets including Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and China, together with an assessment of future prospects in global and regional pet care markets. Projections from Euromonitor International for the period from 2014 to 2019 show the value of pet care product sales in Asia rising by 18 percent.
Ingredients in foods for dogs and cats and their effects on the animal’s health will be discussed in the second segment of the Pet Health and Nutrition Conference at VIV Asia 2015. Industry expert Dr. Anton Beynen is the presenter, at a session backed by All About Feed.
Globally, he explains, ingredient selection for pet foods has become a real issue. One area involves the production of foods that can be described as natural, a term that has become extended to cover a variety of labels beyond the original concept of being free of artificial compounds. At another level the humanisation of pets is bringing a search for functional pet foods, being products that can provide a health benefit beyond basic nutrition.
These major themes of natural and functional affect both dry and moist foods for pets, Dr. Beynen will report. They are significant already in the US and European markets, which the Asian pet foods sector generally follows. Their particular impact on ingredient selection will be examined in the session, including the need to consider both the type and dose of a functional ingredient when relating health claims to research studies.
Natural and functional processing
The third segment of the conference looks at natural and functional in the context of the technologies used to process pet foods. Sponsored by Milling & Grain, the session will hear from Galen Rokey, director of processing technology in the companion animal division of Wenger Manufacturing Company.
In his remarks, Mr. Rokey will put in the natural processing category such techniques as freezing/refrigeration and dehydration along with raw diets and those processed under high pressure. As functional processing techniques he will discuss baking and extrusion, including how extruding the food improves its functionality through the impact on digestibility from the cooking and gelatinization of starch.
This then leads logically to the final segment, which is on pet healthcare. Another of the issues in the Western world now being seen also increasingly in Asia is the problem of obesity in dogs and cats as they reach middle age, notes Dr. Ronald Jan Corbee from Utrecht University’s faculty of veterinary medicine in The Netherlands. As a leading specialist in veterinary and comparative nutrition, Dr. Corbee is to be the lead speaker in the healthcare session of the Pet Health & Nutrition Conference.
Obesity is second only to bacterial gum disease as the most prevalent health problem in dogs and cats internationally, he will explain. Diet-control nutritional products can help to address it. For example, ingredient selection for these products would favour protein and fibre rather than carbohydrates. Processing them could include injecting more air into the dry kibble so that it appeared larger to the pet’s owner while controlling the portion size ingested by the animal.
Dr. Corbee’s presentation will next consider therapeutic diets, in other words those fed to the dog or cat in support of overall disease management, and related dietary interventions that may possibly have a therapeutic benefit. So-called nutraceutical ingredients are on the agenda for discussion in association with feeding, while the next part of the session moves to the non-food area of veterinary pharmaceuticals against such health troubles as osteoarthritis.
Finally, the session considers the general area of diagnosing pet health troubles. Dr. Corbee will say that knowing something about diagnostic methods helps in understanding why certain nutrients and nutritional techniques work in therapy and in tracking the effects of disease, as well as in monitoring a treatment. Some methods of diagnosis such as X-rays and body condition scoring are long-established, but others from human medicine are only now finding a new application for pets – not least, in checking the animal for evidence that it is becoming obese.
Attendance at the Pet Health and Nutrition Conference will be free of charge, but advance registration is required through the VIV Asia 2015 website www.vivasia.nl