Understanding consumer is key to being competitive in companion and food animal markets

Thursday, September 13, 2012

by Kara Ross

Kansas State University's Animal Health Corridor Lecture Series will offer two seminars featuring companion animal and animal welfare experts on Monday, Oct. 22, at the university's Olathe campus, 22201 W. Innovation Drive.

In the first seminar of the day, Bob Fountain, president and CEO of Fountain Agricounsel LLC, will share his knowledge and insights on the U.S. companion animal market and its future direction in "Where is the U.S.A. Companion Animal Market Going?"

"Although pet ownership in the U.S. has declined slightly since the beginning of the economic recession, pets are still an integral part of many people's lives and over half of the households in the U.S. own a pet," Fountain said. "The companion animal market is a high value, lucrative market, and it is important that businesses understand the strategic drivers, issues and challenges influencing the market in order to stay competitive."

Fountain will discuss these topics and identify potential opportunities and issues expected in the future market. The seminar runs from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., with a lunch and networking session following from 12:30-1:30 p.m.

Daniel Thomson and Glynn Tonsor, animal welfare experts from Kansas State University, will present the second seminar, "Producers, Animals and Consumers: Animal Welfare in U.S. Food Animal Production." This seminar focuses on animal welfare in food animal production, and the presenters will discuss industry adjustments because of consumers' perceptions on animal welfare.

"Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned with animal welfare issues in the food industry, and this concern is not expected to diminish anytime soon. They want to be aware of where their food comes from and how it was processed," said Tonsor, an associate professor of agricultural economics. "Industries are aware of these concerns and often make production adjustments in light of them."

Thomson is the Jones professor of production medicine and epidemiology, professor of clinical sciences and director of the university's Beef Cattle Institute.

The second seminar runs from 1:30-5 p.m.

Seminar registration is due by Monday, Oct. 8. Tickets cost $125 to attend the daylong event, but tickets also can be purchased separately by seminar: $100 per person for the companion animal market seminar and $50 per person for animal welfare and industry seminar. Group rates are also available. For more information or to RSVP, visit http://www.ageconomics.k-state.edu/OctoberSeminars or contact Kara Ross at 785-532-3526 or kross@agecon.ksu.edu.

The Animal Health Corridor Lecture Series is an initiative of the Animal Health Supply Chain Program offered through Kansas State University's department of agricultural economics in partnership with K-State Olathe. The lecture series contributes toward the greater mission of the Animal Health Supply Chain Program to enhance the competitiveness of the animal health industry and its supply chain through professional development programs and industry-focused economic and strategy research and analysis.