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What is AAFCO?
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is made up of animal control officials from each state and territories, federal agencies (like the FDA) and government representatives. Local, state and federal feed regulatory officials have work to develop uniform laws, regulations and policies. AAFCO is not a government agency, but AAFCO recommendations have become the foundation for most state laws and regulations for all animal feeds. AAFCO members meet to amend the AAFCO Model Pet Food Regulations to address new information and issues related to pet foods and nutrition.

WHAT IS AN AAFCO STATEMENT?

The "nutrition claim" or "AAFCO statement of nutritional adequacy or purpose" is a statement that indicates the food is complete and balanced for a particular life stage, such as growth, or if the food does not meet the complete and balanced requirements than it is intended for intermittent or supplemental feeding only. Under AAFCO regulations, this statement must be substantiated by the state and the pet food manufacturer.

  

Complete and Balanced Formulation: 

Formulation: If a pet food has been formulated to contain every nutrient the pet needs as specified in the AAFCO Dog Food (or Cat Food) Nutrient Profiles, which are based on the nutritional recommendations of the National Research Council (NRC) for dogs and cats. While the AAFCO Nutrient Profiles list the "minimum" levels (and some maximum levels), pet food manufacturers can formulate and market their products for a specific life stage, provided the nutritional profile of the pet food still meets the levels specified in the appropriate AAFCO Nutrient Profile.


WHAT DOES "ALL LIFE STAGES" MEAN?

A pet food with an "All Life Stages" claim can be used if the feed meets all of the nutrient requirements of both Growth & Reproduction and Adult Maintenance as listed in the AAFCO Nutrient Profiles. 

"Hi-Standard Ultimate Chicken Meal & Rice Formula Dog Food is forumlated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food nutrient profiles for all life stages."

 

For more information about AAFCO visit their site at http://www.aafco.org or check out some of the great online resources like http://www.petmd.com.

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Local Entrepreneur

Local Entrepreneur Scooping Up Sizable Portion of Dog Food Market

American dog owners spend nearly $40 monthly for dog food, and for more than twenty-five years Pinckneyville, Illinois entrepreneur Wade Graskewicz has been scooping up a sizable portion of the dog food market, both domestically and abroad. 

On his rise in the $23 billion pet food industry, he kept true to his original premise of offering customers a high-quality dog food for an affordable price. Along the way, it was Graskewicz’s competitive spirit and tenacity that kept his brand as a serious contender in the marketplace.

Although Hi-Standard’s home base is still Pinckneyville, the company manufactures its product in Utah, Tennessee, Ohio and Kansas. To ease the burden of shipping costs, Graskewicz has warehouses in Illinois, Utah, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Tennessee.

Because the price of shipping has a direct impact on the product’s sale price, the majority of pet food is still sold closest to the plants where it is manufactured. Another way to broaden their offerings in the industry was to buy out the competition.

So, in 2011, Graskewicz purchased both Joy Pet Food and Best Feeds brands. That acquisition expanded their portfolio by 22 new products as well as providing openings into other international markets.

The collective brands distribute to 90 percent of the United States, two provinces in Canada, Japan, Ghana, Pakistan and Trinidad among others. Today the brand carries more than 60 different size bags available in 25 different products.

Being somewhat reflective, Graskewicz is amazed by his own success story – although not surprised by it. Similar to the high-energy hunting dogs showcased on his Hi-Standard packaging, Graskewicz also exudes that same high-energy, highly-competitive nature.

“I have to credit my success to being so competitive and having such a supportive family,” Graskewicz said. “In the early years, my mother (Ruby Graskewicz) stepped in and helped out by answering phones and doing billing for me. Otherwise, I was pretty much a one-man show.”

In the beginning of trying to get the word out about his dog food, Graskewicz would load up his Dodge dually truck with 60 to 80 bags of dog food and tarp it. He would hit the road by 4 a.m., make his deliveries and push to get back to open the store by 8:30 a.m.

His early morning trips would take him to places such as Poplar Bluff, Missouri or Evansville, Indiana. After a long day at the store, he start the whole process over again. Graskewicz said that getting any business off the ground requires a good work ethic.

“Another element to the business’ success has been my wife and son,” Graskewicz said. “My son Skyler was born in 1988 when we started the retail store, so he pretty much grew up in the business.”

As Hi-Standard Suppliers company president, Skyler Graskewicz knows the industry inside and out. He still works alongside his father, but his primary focus is in shipping and exporting to international markets.   

“My wife Lisa has also been a very big part of my success,” Graskewicz said. “She is an interior designer and very talented in her own right. She owns Interiors Designed by Lisa and I have to credit her with helping me stay focused and do what I had to do.”

Today, at 52 years old, Graskewicz is still as excited about moving his company forward as he was when he first started his company. He is busy laying out a multi-year plan for his company’s future. However, he keeps the details of that plan close to the vest.  

“I found a niche in this business and found I could make a go of it, however for those just starting out in anything, remember you have to crawl before you walk, and walk before you run,” he said. “My advice for anyone is to take everything slow and be ready for an incredible amount of time and hard work.” 

Equipped with a strong company that has an international reach, Graskewicz feels he can still make another major stride in the next few years that will propel his business even further into the international marketplace. 

“With the launch of our Grain Free and Ultimate products in early this year, along with a full line of treats for both Joy and Hi-Standard, we expect tremendous growth for 2016,” Graskewicz said. “Just like the pets we create our products for, we will continue to be high performers in our field.”

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