Pet X Talks – Dr. Ken Tudor – The History of Pet Food In America

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interested in the trends in pet food that have occurred and do occur and I don't restrict that to the alternative programs that I'm involved with I'm also very very interested in the trends in the commercial dog food and pet food industry so much so that I delved into the history of commercial pet food and I would like to share that with you all today our journey starts about over 150 years ago in 1860 when a u.s. electrician by the name of James Pratt sought to increase his business opportunities for his lightning rod of production in England while walking the docks of Liverpool he noticed sailors feeding stray dogs hardtack for those of you who don't know hardtack is a biscuit cracker type of thing made from flour water and sometimes solved it was used as rations for military personnel in the Navy and the army isn't used that much today but as if struck by lightning himself James Pratt said Wow why don't I make a hard tack for dogs and he did just that he came out with what he called the patented meet fibrin dog cake the English gentleman loved this product as a supplement to the food for their sporting dogs it was so popular and he did so well he decided that he wanted to expand and come back to the US so in 1870 he thought he where is the crowd for my expensive product and at that time in America the show crowd The Dog Show crowd was beginning to expand so he targeted that market it was the first to take out an ad in the very first American Kennel Club magazine and became again very successful in the u.s. so successful his brand lasted until nineteen sixty when it was bought by General Mills in 1910 another family got into the dog biscuit craze if you will the Bennett's who owned a bakery in New York developed a biscuit that looked just like a dog bone they called it the mall toyed at first then they changed the name to the mall toyed Milk Bone and now it's simply known as The Milk Bone and we all know how popular that round is that franchise was sold in Nabisco in 1931 and just recently sold to Del Monte and milk bone has 21 28 varieties of product available today so up until the 1920s the dog food industry was commercial dog food was defined by Spratt and Bennett's products there were no others it was a pricey product so the market was limited and it had its problems packaging technology at that time limited the shelf life so consumers would go home open the box and would find it was often rancid and spoiled but that changed during the roaring 20s if you'll remember the roaring 20s was a great surge in economic prosperity in the States so people became more open to purchasing dog food rather than feeding from the table the chapel brothers who had great success selling can horse meat in Europe tried to duplicate the same thing in the United States and so they brought their product called kennel rash into the streets of Chicago and met again with great success and tell the public outcry against slaughtering horses for dog food it was so vociferous that they decided not to fight it and switch to a dry formula that did not meet with nearly the success and so that franchise was was purchased by quaker oats which took the kennel ration name and many of you recognize that name to the heights that it later met now kennel ration it's pretty much reduced to memorabilia on eBay in 1925 another gentleman came out with a dry food called gains dog meal his name was Clarence gains and he was a pointer breeder who was used to feeding his pointers from the table he didn't like the expense of doing that and so he came up with this product which is basically a dehydrated food that once reconstituted with water was more of a balanced diet he remarked that his dogs actually looked better on his gains dog meal than from the table scraps and he was one of the first to be concerned about complete nutrition his business was successful and he sold it to General Foods in 1943 following this this idea of balanced nutrition a veterinarian from Connecticut took a one step further Leon Whitney said not only does it have to be complete it has to be scientifically balanced and he came out with ballo ration which again another popular twenties product that was sold to quaker oats what we have in the roaring 20s is is this this economic prosperity and an interest in commercial food and then came the crash of 28 the stock market crash which brought on the Great Depression so 25 percent on employment in the United States people did not their economic wealth had been destroyed did not have the money to spend for food that they had so Fido and Sylvester suffered greatly from the lack of table scraps and there was just a malaise as you all know in the American economy but that didn't mean if the dog food industry didn't flourish because some things were happening because no one was purchasing produce we had all kinds of agricultural materials that were very very inexpensive we also had plants that were idled much of the time well we put together ingredients and we put together people with the ability to produce these products and we have the advent of co packaging which is they still the standard today where one plant can make many many brands so any enterprising entrepreneurs in the 30s could give these co-packers a label or a bag with the label and have dog food produced for them under their name to show you how extensive this was 12 plants in 1930 we're producing 221 proprietary brands of canned food so now we have as we came out of the depression and coat large quantities of commercial pet food a growing need and want for them so that sales by the beginning of the war in 1941 were 50 million nationwide and ninety percent of that was canned food still for the affluent the average shud Sylvester and Fido was still scavenging and eating from the table and the Warriors weren't particularly good for those folks either because several things happen pet food was declared a non-essential use of metals during the metal rationing of the war effort so the canned food industry was completely decimated some other things that were occurring where the men were off to war the women were in the factories and so we didn't have as many family me less scraps for Fido and Sylvester our country became more reliant on processed foods which I'll deal with a little bit more but some things happened after the war that just caused an explosion for commercial dog flu manufacturing that had been geared towards military use was now freed to be used for peacetime purposes and the plant efficiencies that increased productivity meant that we could produce massive amounts of products very cheaply TVs became affordable wash machines became affordable automobiles became more affordable than they ever had been the military innovations of the war also meant that we had other affiliated industries that were taking this technology and creating business opportunities what that meant was explosive job opportunities also that was happening during this time was we needed a population to fill those jobs and we got it over 12.2 million GIS returned from overseas and were granted the GI Bill of Rights this gave them the opportunity to get assistance to go to college and mortgage assistance to buy houses so now we had a large educated workforce with unlimited employment opportunities and increased disposable income so some demographic things happen that would spark the commercial pet food revolution we could now move from the cities to the suburbs with housing affordable automobiles affordable and indeed that was the spread of the American population and our lifestyle changed when we got into the suburbs no longer was the corner mark at the center of our universe now we had supermarkets with massive amounts of meat massive amounts of processed food massive amounts of fresh produce fast food chains quema came into the forefront Ray Kroc and others bought small Mon power restaurants like mr. mrs. McDonald's and you know the rest of the story and so you put all three of these together thus large supermarkets the large fast-food chains and this obsession with processed food Campbell Soup invented Swanson TV dinners we had fish sticks we had all kinds of frozen processed food that came to the forefront again another demand for agricultural goods this increased agricultural demand also met increased agricultural scraps so we now had meat scraps from slaughterhouses we had grain scraps from grain mills we had all these scraps from food processing plants like TV dinner orida potato and hamburger helper and those companies that purchase those earlier dog foods that I mentioned to you took advantage of it and started making dog food but in 1957 a miracle happened as far as commercial food preparation Ralston Purina invented the extruded process for dry food what this meant was we could take all those agricultural scraps we can put them in a pressure cooker and we could bring them to a molten fluid if you will shoot them through a hot pipe called an extruder and pop this fluid into lightweight dry kibble it revolutionized the pet food industry to give you an idea let's look at those figures from nineteen forty five to nineteen sixty pet food sales accounted for 200 million in yearly sales sixty percent was can forty percent was dry pet foods still accounted for a substantial amount of grocery volume two percent as a matter of fact but if we fast forward to 2013 after these many years of the extrusion process last year american pet owners spent 21 and a half billion nine million dollars a year on pet food seventy percent dry thirty percent wet so you can see that the impact that the extruded process had commercial pet food and you can see the changes in America that completely changed this industry but I we always want to take time and I want to take time to reflect on the people that preceded that and gave the opportunity for this to happen so that Fido and Sylvester are no longer eating from the table or scavenging the neighborhood hi we're here with dr. ken tutor after his wonderful talk the history of pet food sitting down to ask a few extra questions about his presentation dr. ken I wanted to ask you how the dietary changes of America impacted the pet food industry as a development that's a great question and I really meant it to talk a little bit more about processed foods and I'd like to take that opportunity now spam which had been invented in the 1930s didn't really take off until the war years when eighty percent of their sales went to the military and twenty percent was here at home and that gave the americans an opportunity to really enjoy the luxury of processed food and the advantages of processed food so that when the men came home and the economy of boom we now had this hankering for processed food and today if you look at you going to any supermarket almost all the center aisles are dedicated toward processed foods the other thing that happened that i only again briefly mentioned was the fast food nation which completely changed our dietary habits we had more disposable income and we could spend that but we didn't want to spend it in the kitchen we wanted more free time and the fast food nation of course changed everything and if you think about it what is it food to pet food in a can or a bag fast food so we took that same concept and moved it to our dogs as opposed to cooking the meals that we were previously well I also thought it was interesting how talked about the war and its impact I wanted to ask you to kind of expand upon that because it really had a tremendous impact in many different areas it did it's you can't overstate the economic prosperity that happened to America after the war and it was that prosperity it was those demographic changes it was the move to the suburbs and all of this was made possible because of the the military effort and the ability now to produce goods so much cheaper make them more affordable make people's lives so much different that it truly impacted the way we live and I think people don't appreciate how the military affects our lives and how inventions with regards to the military and even space exploration we owe tag to NASA and so these things really do have an effect and the culture isn't separate from its innovations they kind of meld together sure sure well also as you talk about the technology aspect of it the advances that we have seen throughout society have and continue to have a tremendous impact on the commercial pet food industry share a little bit more about that yeah well I mean look where we've come from we've come from a milk-bone that would go rancid in a package now we have bags that we can put dog food and it will keep much much longer and preserve some of the nutrients the whole canned food industry has changed as I mentioned the extrusion process which was in 1957 very rudimentary with regards to Walston Purina now gives us the ability to do marvelous things with dry food we can pop them into any shape we want we can make them look like human food we can we can you know just alter them to make them more appealing to the person who really buys the food and that is the human not the pet I want to say thank you to dr. ken tutor for taking the time to share with us the history of pet food and thank all of you for joining us here on pedx talks thank you for joining us for this pedx talk to learn more information about dr. ken tutor visit hearthstone homemade com funding for pedx talks is provided by pet world media group your partner in all things pet media additional funding in considerations for pedx talks is provided by pet world insider taking you inside the world of pets visit pet world insider com for more radio interviews and expert articles and videos dog wise publishing all things dog for all of your dog book needs visit dog wise com life is perfect a gift book a whimsical collection of themed dog 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One thought on “Pet X Talks – Dr. Ken Tudor – The History of Pet Food In America

  1. What does a lightening rod salesman, sailors on a dock and food processing have to do with the history of Pet food?  Watch this Pet X Talk and Find out.

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