Champion Petfoods Creates Industry’s First Transparency Council
The council will be comprised of unbiased, respected pet food industry experts, as well as everyday pet food consumers.
Champion Petfoods is forming the pet food industry’s first Transparency Council, a four-person committee of outside third-party experts and pet lovers who will be given access to each step of Champion’s product creation process and encouraged to provide candid, periodic reports to the public on what they’ve learned.
By building a council comprised of unbiased, respected pet food industry experts, as well as everyday pet food consumers, Champion is openly backing up its stated vision of being trusted by pet lovers everywhere.
“We are witnessing increased consumer interest in pet food quality standards, ingredient sourcing, nutritional attributes and product safety,” said Julie S. Washington, Champion Petfoods’ CMO. “People no longer accept at face value the assertions and claims made by pet food producers about the integrity of the products they provide. Pet lovers place a greater premium on transparency and want to know more about how foods are made and from where ingredients are sourced, and our Transparency Council provides an avenue to do just that.”
A study in the human food industry conducted by Deloitte and the Food Marketing Institute revealed the legacy purchase drivers of taste, price and convenience have been taken over by escalating interest in transparency, ingredient sourcing, food safety and general health and wellness concerns. Champion believes this development applies equally to pet food.
Transparency Council members will attend on-site immersion experiences at Champion’s kitchens, seeing how products are made, learning from Champion managers about safety standards and procedures, and visiting regional ingredient suppliers. As a part of this educational platform, each member will write articles and social media posts, and participate in media interviews to convey their first-hand experiences.
“Ultimately, we think that well-informed pet lovers are empowered to make better choices for the feeding, health and well being of their companion pets,” said Washington.
The two pet care industry experts that have been appointed to the council are Dr. Shawn Messonnier and Dr. Clayton Greenway.
Dr. Messonnier is a U.S. veterinary physician and author of numerous books, including the Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats. He founded the Paws & Claws Animal Hospital in Plano, Texas in 1991. Dr. Messonnier is a regular contributor to pet media, including Animal Wellness and Whole Dog Journal.
Dr. Greenway hosts the veterinary call-in show Animal House on Newstalk 1010 in Toronto. Dr. Greenway practices at West Hill Animal Clinic in Scarborough, Ontario and is a lead veterinarian and development director for VetStrategy, Inc.
“Champion’s willingness to open the door and allow us to see what they do and how they do it is refreshing,” said Dr. Messonnier. “We look forward to being the public’s eyes and ears on how Champion delivers on its promises.”
To fill the remaining two council positions, Champion is accepting applications from interested pet lovers. Applicants are invited to submit essays on their views of the importance they place on transparency and why they would like to be part of Champion’s Transparency Council. Pet lover application and submission guidelines and deadline information are available at ChampionPetfoods.com/Transparency. The selection of pet lover council members will be made by a team of Champion executives and announced on or about April 8, 2019.
For 20 years, Champion has focused on building a network of direct source relationships with farms, ranches and fisheries near its Canadian NorthStar kitchen in Edmonton, and its DogStar kitchen located in Auburn, Ky.
“We think the Transparency Council program will elevate awareness of our trusted suppliers and the people who provide our ingredients – our goal is to verify the link between sources, fresh ingredients and how that translates into our kibble and freeze-dried ORIJEN and ACANA foods and treats,” said Washington.
According to Champion, the Food Marketing Institute’s 2017 Shopper Trends study states consumers believe transparency means open, honest, clear and visible. The company believes the pet food industry is entering a new era of earning consumer trust, where the source of the ingredient is as important as the ingredient itself.