Feed Bites

Farm to Bowl: IFEEDER Shares Findings from New Pet Food Report

Written by: Rob Cooper   |   March 11, 2020

Pets, IFEEDER, Our role in ag

Stella Cooper

My black, shorthaired miniature dachshund, Stella, is a member of my family. Like any other family member, I want the very best for her – from exercise to great toys to treats and food. I was very excited when the Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER), along with the Pet Food Institute (PFI) and North American Renderers Association (NARA), embarked on a study to look at what ingredients are used in pet food and the pet food industry’s impact on the U.S. agricultural economy.

I had no idea the amount of pet food choices there are available for the top dog in my family! It has been an incredible experience learning about the diversity of ingredients used in pet food and how this industry is both sustainable and an economic driver to rural America.

Today, IFEEDER, NARA and PFI released a new report, “Pet Food Production and Ingredient Analysis,” to help the pet food industry better understand and communicate its economic value to U.S. agriculture. It is also the first time the pet food industry has comprehensively looked at the ingredients used in pet food.

We’ve always known that U.S. pet food manufacturers are critical for keeping America’s dogs and cats fed nutritious and safe meals. Whether it’s dry kibble, moist and wet food, or treats, the pet food industry has developed products to fit a range of diets and budgets. This research will help the American Feed Industry Association communicate with decision makers, industry leaders and consumer influencers in a way that helps them better understand the connection and value between production agriculture and pet food manufacturers. It will also help them learn more about how they can use this information in working with their constituents. Some of the key findings revealed in the study include:

  • Total U.S. pet food sales accounted for over $30 billion;
  • U.S. pet food manufacturers are delivering back to the agricultural economy by using 8.65 million tons of animal- and plant-based ingredients valued at $6.9 billion for dog and cat food;  
  • Pet food manufacturers use a wide-range of over 500 ingredients – from major commodity crops to specialty fruits and vegetables to meat, poultry and seafood to rendered products to provide complete nutrition for dogs and cats;
  • These ingredient purchases boost incomes for farmers and farm processors and stimulate additional economic activity through the purchase of farming inputs and supplies; and
  • Pet food manufacturers often use leftover ingredients made from the production of human food, such as bakery or brewery items or parts of the animal that people don’t eat, providing the nutrition our pets need while supporting sustainability and doing their part to reduce agriculture’s environmental impact.  

I know this research has increased my appreciation for both America’s farmers and pet food manufacturers. I also know that I have a wide variety of options when it comes to feeding my dog, Stella.  At the end of the day, whether it’s farm to fork or farm to bowl, I know that agriculture and the pet food industry does an incredible job of keeping my family fed with nutritious food choices.

Check out the full report, news release, handout, infographics and state-by-state information on IFEEDER’s website.

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