The Value of Corn in the Pet Food Industry

April 8, 2021

The Value of Corn in the Pet Food Industry

Apr 8, 2021

Key Issues:Animal Agriculture

April 11 is National Pet Day. There are many benefits to including corn in your pet’s diet, but have you ever wondered about the benefits that your cat or dog brings to the corn industry? In November a comprehensive study unpacked the $30 billion U.S. retail pet food industry, thanks to the Institute for Feed Education and Research (IFEEDER), the Pet Food Institute and the North American Renderers Association.


The study found that corn and corn gluten meal are the top two most used plant-based ingredients in pet food products. Corn is the dominant plant-based carbohydrate at 1,283,674 tons, and corn gluten meal is the dominant plant-based protein ingredient at 476,649 tons used on an annual basis. Thanks to Fido and Fluffy, the corn industry moved 1,958,061 tons of product, valued at a total of $438 million.


“Farmers and farm-product processors sell $6.9 billion worth of products to pet food manufacturers every year that are used as ingredients. Sales made by farmers and processors of farm products to pet food manufacturers stimulates further upstream economic activity, leading to the purchase of $5.3 billion of materials and services from farm suppliers providing necessary inputs such as seed, fertilizer, fuel, labor, machinery and repairs to produce high-quality products that are used as pet food ingredients,” cites the report.


Founded in 2009 by the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), IFEEDER supports critical education and research initiatives that assure consumers a safe, healthy and sustainable food supply. The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) partners with IFEEDER and the AFIA on research projects as well as feed and food industry efforts, such as the Association of American Feed Control Officials’ petition on Corn Gluten Meal and the current partnership on the U.S. Roundtable on Sustainable Beef Feed Task Force.


 “This first-of-its-kind research shows that there are nearly 550 diverse ingredients used in U.S. pets’ diets to provide complete and balanced nutrition at price points that fit shoppers’ budgets,” said Robert Cooper, IFEEDER’s executive director. “Collaborations on research like the pet food study allow us to leverage our resources and share information that helps allied organizations, like the National Corn Growers Association, amplify its outreach with decision-makers and consumer influencers, so they are more informed about how important commodities, such as corn, are in producing safe and nutritious food for both humans and their four-legged companions.”


Link to the full Pet Food Production and Ingredient Analysis study here.


Rethinking Corn’s Role in Pet Food here.


View all of NCGA’s pet food resources here.


View a presentation on Rethinking the Role of Corn in the Pet Food Industry here.