U.S. dog and cat food exports increased by leaps and bounds again in 2022 according to the USDA Global Agricultural Trade System, growing 20 percent and increasing to $2.4 billion in value. The double-digit pace happened in spite of challenges that required the industry to adapt quickly and nimbly to changing export demands. Inflation, the U.S. detection of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), and continuing supply chain disruptions made 2022 a difficult year to navigate trade. The Pet Food Institute (PFI) worked to provide unique services to help U.S. pet food makers continue to grow markets and find new opportunities.
PFI’s strategic investment in supporting global standard setting through membership in the Global Alliance of Pet Food Associations (GAPFA) demonstrated its value when HPAI struck in early 2022. GAPFA collaborates with the World Animal Health Organization (WOAH) to provide science-based reference points for global standards regarding pet food. WOAH’s HPAI standards recognize pet food that includes properly heat-treated poultry as a safe commodity for trade in the event of an outbreak. This international standard allowed for the continued safe trade of U.S. pet food, even as HPAI was detected in over 47 states. While most U.S. trading partners followed the WOAH standards, there is still work to be done in ensuring adherence to global trade standards.
PFI, as the cooperator for the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Market Access Program (MAP) for U.S. pet food, receives government funding to help promote U.S. agricultural commodities and products worldwide. PFI currently uses that funding to promote the export of U.S. pet food and treats in 17 countries. The activities include marketing and promotional campaigns, working with local veterinarians to enhance their training in dog and cat nutrition, and working with local rescue groups to promote dog and cat welfare. These activities are executed by in-country representatives under the direction of PFI. The MAP program bolsters the reputation of U.S. pet food and treats as a safe, high-quality option in overseas markets, driving demand.
PFI also created the Market Tracker, a tool that provides U.S. pet food makers relevant trade and market information about most of the countries that PFI is active in with the MAP program. It provides country-specific information for assessing, comparing, and prioritizing international opportunities across important sectors and sub-sectors, such as overviews, trends, forecasts, and market drivers. The Market Tracker is available through the PFI website.
As we move into 2023, PFI will continue to advocate for U.S. pet food makers to expand markets and support science-based regulatory measures to continue an upward trajectory for U.S. pet food exports.