Building Industry Relationships

By Tim Juzefowicz, President, World Renderers Organization

Building industry relationships is important for suppliers and manufacturers. Connecting with international and non-governmental organizations, where appropriate, is also essential and should be developed. A partnership generally based on communication, strategy, and formed with people vital to the success of a business or organization is critical.

These affiliations can lead to new business, improved customer or client engagement, and an improved reputation and profile. For its part, the World Renderers Organization (WRO) aims to maintain current relations and promote the rendering industry where possible. At this time, WRO has cooperative relationships with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), Codex Alimentarius, Food and Agriculture Organization, World Trade Organization, International Feed Industry Federation, Global Aquaculture Alliance, and individual country rendering associations.

Recently, a new connection has developed between WRO and the Global Alliance of Pet Food Associations (GAPFA) following an invitation to be a guest speaker at the first GAPFA World Congress held in Cape Town, South Africa, in November of last year. The South African Pet Food Industry hosted the event and did an excellent job with all aspects of the congress.

This author was asked to speak on the topic “World Renderers Organization and working with the OIE.” The occasion was an honor as the WRO presentation followed keynote speaker Dr. Botlhe Modisane, president of the OIE World Assembly of Delegates. Modisane spoke to the audience on some insights into working with OIE.

Founded in November 2014, GAPFA was originally comprised of 13 founding member associations and companies. Its mission is “to support the health and wellbeing of pets and to promote the benefits of living with them, by providing a forum for global industry consensus to address key mutual issues. Its vision is to be recognized as the global voice of the pet food industry.”

GAPFA’s president, Roger Bektash, explained the association’s strategic objectives as trade facilitation and food safety. A key strategy is to gain a memorandum of cooperation (MOC) with OIE. The congress provided an excellent opportunity to present the progress and achievements in these areas. Having WRO speak on its experience with OIE was regarded as a chance for GAPFA to learn from an organization that had already undertaken the task.

Although WRO does not have a great depth of historical knowledge collaborating with OIE, the presentation explained how WRO obtained its MOC in 2013 after working for several years to get the agreement. The procedural steps explained were:

1. An organization needs to be relevant to OIE to secure an MOC (WRO clearly is).

2. To gain an MOC, an organization needs to represent as wide as possible the global interests of the industry and not just developed countries. OIE needs to see a good representation from developing countries (this took WRO several years to achieve).

3. Having an MOC means the organization is effectively involved as an “observer” only. The group can communicate in writing with OIE but cannot speak directly at meetings, only via country members.

4. When the MOC is achieved, the organization needs to engage with one or more country member representatives as any activity with OIE is done via country members.

5. Visit OIE in Paris, France, and engage with key people, such as the director general, which is often not easy.

6. Meeting with the head of OIE’s international trade is particularly useful. Ensure contact details are logged with OIE.

7. Request to speak at the annual OIE World Assembly. A short time slot will be granted. It took three attempts for WRO’s past-president Stephen Woodgate to get a slot. There will only be time to let OIE delegates know that the organization exists and is a resource to be called upon when needed.

8. Keep up with all OIE communications and react as necessary either directly or via member country delegates.

The WRO presentation closed with this author addressing the congress by saying, “The WRO would like to maintain an ongoing relationship between the two organizations. I think we are able to learn from one another and build on our current strengths. I also support joint participation at world events such as the congress, symposia, and conventions.”

The following are some of the key market issues currently being faced and forecast for the regions as presented in the GAPFA regional/country presentations:

• Pet population shows slow decline.
• Pet food market volume growth slow or static.
• Market values increasing due to uptrading to premium products.
• Not all countries follow OIE guidlines when considering disease outbreaks by choosing to adopt a suspension of trade despite scientifically- and internationally-accepted guidelines.

• Pet populations are stable but not growing.
• Modest growth in domestic market is forecasted.
• Growth in premium products, pet specialty.
• Continued trade barriers to shipments because of animal disease outbreaks.
• Artificial trade barriers and regulations that do not recognize heat-treated status of pet food.
• Fluctuating regulatory agenda strains association resources.

• Dog population decline of 21 percent in the last six years that coincided with a drop in breeder population and puppy supply after law revision in 2006.
• Likely future restructuring and reduction in dog numbers with legislation in 2018 on breeder dogs.
• Challenges in creating a social consensus in the country that dogs can help people improve/maintain their health, provide social buffering, and reduce medical costs in the country where there has been very little history of a working-dog concept.
• Project to publish a series of global scientific studies on the health benefits focusing on dog ownership.

• Demographic changes: More single households, fewer traditional families; urbanization; pets as companions taking bigger roles for individuals; fewer larger dogs and more smaller dogs; more cats than dogs, in general; better treatment of pets by owners (i.e., quality food, veterinary care, etc.).
• Within the European Union (EU), similar trends in the market have been observed with high-end premium products rising, low-priced basic products growing moderately, private label items stagnating or growing only slightly, and medium-priced products losing market share.
• EU pet food legislation is proposed by the European Commission but voted on by 28 member states. Control and implementation of EU legislation by all 28 member states leads to 28 different interpretations and potential disconnect in the national or even regional application of EU legislation.
• Threat 1: Critical views by authorities, media, and consumers with the potential of triggering legislation targeting functional claims, more detailed ingredient labeling, use of raw materials of animal origin (i.e., not using certain ingredients), control of internet marketing, and compliance of third-country product imports.
• Threat 2: Requiring sustainability credentials.
• Threat 3: Particulate and chemical contaminates, and physical risk factors (i.e., heavy metals, mycotoxins, PCBs, dioxins, additive upper limits, and additive purity criteria).

• Trend of cats and small-breed dogs are increasing in urban areas.
• Prepared pet food has been better accepted by pet owners for convenience and nutritious factors.

United States
• Major challenges for pet food include the Food Safety Modernization Act that takes effect in September 2016 and includes new current good manufacturing practices, preventive controls, and reporting requirements.
• Increasing consumer interest in pet food (i.e., where it comes from).
• Humanization of pets; they are part of the family.
• New markets for unique, innovative pet food products.

The next GAPFA World Congress will be held in Brazil later this year.

February 2016 RENDER | back