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K-State Today

June 29, 2016

'Pet Food Experience' presents opportunities for faculty, students

By Pat Melgares

Kansas State University's growing expertise in the pet food industry is helping to provide numerous opportunities for faculty and students.

The university will host the Petfood Innovation Workshop and K-State Pet Food Experience on Sept. 14-15 to provide a chance to connect a burgeoning research presence with the needs of the pet food industry.

The events are open to students and faculty. For more information, visit k-state.edu/petfood. Registration for the event is now open. More than 200 participated in a similar workshop in fall 2015.

This year's Petfood Innovation Workshop will focus on meat and novel proteins. Participants will have an opportunity for hands-on experience making pet food. The K-State Pet Food Experience will feature educational sessions led by faculty and students, who will showcase their latest pet food research and expertise.

Greg Aldrich, research associate professor of grain science and industry, said the events also can help students connect with faculty and industry professionals to gain knowledge and hands-on experience in nutrition, extrusion, canning, baking, sensory analysis, animal health, economic analysis and food supply chain management.

He said that developing pet food is value-added agriculture and taking agricultural commodities or the co-products from the meat and grain milling industries and turning those into healthy, nutritious pet food products.

Globally, pet owners spend more than $60 billion on their furry friends. Of that, about $23 billion goes toward pet food, and estimates for Kansas indicate that pet food contributes as much as $7 billion to the state's economy.