Our responsibility to the future of pet care

Dr. Elise Malinden discusses changing pet parenting trends and the need for sustainable nutrition, and digital advancements, which reflect the intimate relationship between pets and owners.

Pet food

By Dr. Elise Malinden

Nothing compares to the joy of coming home to a faithful companion. A pet’s love is more than company – it’s done Scientifically proven To reduce stress, improve well-being and get us out for regular walks. This strong bond between people and their pets has led to a marked change in the way people view them.

These pet parents pay more attention to how they care for their furry friends, considering the nutritional and emotional impact of raising them and projecting the decisions they make on their animals as well. Users do. They want to reduce the environmental impact of the food they buy, as well as ensure their pets are happy and healthy.

This increase in the humanization of pet ownership is something we incorporate into every element of the pet parenting experience.

Prioritizing sustainable nutrition

Just like humans, our pets feel and perform at their best when they eat healthily. Pet nutrition is important for many reasons, as it directly affects the current and future health and well-being of our pets. Balanced, reliable and nutritious ingredients empower pet parents by giving them confidence that they are taking the best care of their pets.

Nutrient-rich pet food keeps our pets’ coats healthy, strengthens their immune systems and helps their digestive systems function properly. That’s why it’s so important to determine the perfect formula that goes into each product while ensuring our ingredients are safe, nutritious and scalable.

Our role is to help pet parents make sustainable choices and contribute to the broader responsible food ecosystem. We must also consider the future security of our equipment. The ingredients we’ve used in the past may not always be available in the future, so it’s our responsibility to continue to innovate with ingredients that are safe and nutritious for cats and dogs. will also be present, and this includes alternative proteins. . This goes hand in hand with disrupting the materials we use and considering the economic allocation of our carbon, experimenting with different materials such as insects.

Managing food safety risks

Everyone has the right to safe food – and that includes pets. While humans can eat a variety of foods throughout their lives, pets eat the same food day in and day out, so special care is needed to ensure that all pet foods—from raw materials to to the finished product – should be manufactured with adequate quality. Food Safety Standards (QFS). This is done through a rigorous process of research, technology, and regulation.

Genomics is providing a step change in the way we manage food safety risk through access to faster, more accurate insights based on data. We control hygiene risk by identifying potential sources of microbiological contamination and determining the best response plan for elimination. This, along with the design of our factories and equipment, as well as operational procedures, aims to detect and destroy things like Salmonella and other micro-activities in the supply chain.

Safety also filters to provide clear and accurate information to pet parents. In developed markets, regulations and legal controls are usually in place to ensure the application of relevant standards. Yet in some emerging markets, where standards may not be fully formed, we should support the development of consistent quality, food safety, nutrition and labeling standards for pet food worldwide.

Providing personalized nutrition and care

Changes in attitudes towards pets and their inclusion as part of the family have influenced more thoughtful pet care and pet food purchasing decisions. Dogs and cats have specific nutritional needs, which vary depending on the age, size and behavior of the animal. They also need the pleasure of a great tasting meal with an appealing texture. The best nutrition is useless if not used!

Science highlights the innovation of each product in Mars Pet Nutrition. through Waltham Pet Care Science Institute, we accelerate the development of ingredients based on the changing needs of pets. The first step is to identify that an ingredient is safe and nutritious. We then determine how it performs – looking at palatability and digestibility – in a formulation, whether via wet or dry food. Finally, we need to ensure that we can scale components, deploying the solutions we need, where and when we need them.

The energy density of both the ingredients and the finished product is of critical importance for developing new products. In fact, research has shown that as our pets’ lifestyles have evolved, their energy needs to maintain a healthy body weight are lower than we thought 20 years ago. Because of this research, we are changing our product and feeding guidelines to lower the number of calories recommended for pets to consume per day (15% for adult dogs and 10% for adult cats). 5 percent), while meeting their nutritional needs.

It is our responsibility to educate today’s pet parents about the proper serving size, format and product type to feed their pets to ensure they stay healthy and happy.

Packaging innovation

According to one Survey from McKinsey & Co, 66 percent of consumers now consider sustainability when shopping. It’s with me. Our own research which found that 40 percent of consumers are actively looking for products and services that align with their values ​​and 57 percent are willing to change what they buy to reduce their environmental impact.

Our packaging transformation journey focuses on what’s right for us as pet parents, the pets we love and the planet we all share – and that means rotation. to redesign packaging and reduce the use of virgin plastics across our portfolio.

Simple innovations can make a big difference. For example, Pedigree Schmackos has reduced 23 tonnes of plastic and 60 tonnes of paper in its bags and cases and DREAMIES™ cat treats have reduced the amount of plastic used to make their 60g packs by 10%. Is. In North America we redesigned 75 million of our medium and large dry food bags, resulting in a reduction of 5M pounds of packaging material.

Optimizing our packaging has also led to other benefits such as streamlining our supply chain from 53 packaging types to 19. This change has significantly increased the efficiency and sustainability of our entire process. Additionally, we have seen similar benefits within shipping with less packaging resulting in 73,000 fewer pallets, and significantly fewer trucks to transport.

We are also running a number of progressive waste management partnerships with governments, NGOs, suppliers, packaging manufacturers, and peer companies to demand change. This includes our contributions. Delterra to tackle plastic waste and develop circular economies in the Global South and with the Allan MacArthur Foundation’s (EMF) New Plastics Economy initiative. We are signatories to the EMF Global Commitment, in support of our shared goal to ensure that packaging is never wasted.

Digital transformation

Today’s pet parents operate in a digital world, so we want to meet them with digital innovations that help them connect with their pets more easily.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is helping ease pet owners’ minds with 24-7, clear and accurate information, so they can take the best care of their pets. Specifically, we use AI algorithms to categorize and route pet parent support issues to teams around the world based on contact reason, priority, or required skill set, giving us Enables anticipating problems and needs. For example, our Whiskas chatbot helps pet parents find their nearest vet clinic or connects them to a place where they can easily purchase products, allowing us to address the issues and needs of pet parents. enables to predict in advance. We’ve had over 100k interactions with pet parents in the first half of 2023, with 95% of conversations retained so they can ask questions as and when they want.

We also know that sometimes pet parents have more complex nutrition and health questions that require expert support. This past year, we launched IAMS PETConnect™, a digital teleadvice service that allows pet parents to communicate online with a certified veterinary technician seven days a week. The service fills the “white space” between a Google search and a visit to the vet when pet parents need immediate, trusted help. As a result, we gain valuable insight into the health solutions that pet parents are looking for from their pet food, further enriching our product and service offerings.

A pet parent-centric philosophy underpins everything we do, which is why we rely on the latest science, technology, and data to meet the needs of today’s pet parents – and tomorrow’s pet parents. Consider the requirements.

About the author:

Alice MarsAlice MarsAlice Malandine I am the Global Vice President of Research and Development. Martian Pet Nutrition where she oversees innovation, research and quality processes to help grow the Mars Pet Nutrition brands through pet parent and pet-focused innovations. Ellis has worked at Mars for more than 20 years, with previous roles including VP of Innovation at Mars Pet Nutrition, VP of Global Scientific and Regulatory Affairs at Mars Wrigley and Global Scientific Communications Lead at Royal Canon. Included. As a trained veterinarian, Elise is committed to making a better world for pets.

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