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january 2004 / issue 1 visit us online at:

"I Manufacture Specialty Pet Food. What Are My International Export Prospects?"
By Dennis Lynch

U.S. Pet Food Exports Remain Strong
The pet food market segment is strong. Total U.S. pet food exports through July of 2003 is $454.5 million. Analysts expect continued growth, especially with products that are high quality, innovative, easy to handle, and nutritious. Opportunities are opening in industrializing countries in Asia, Latin America and elsewhere as purchasing power increases. In the developed world, an aging population, increased urbanization, and increased single households have all increased interest in pets.

There is competition from both domestic and foreign producers. Multinational investments help local production and save the cost of shipping and transportation. Thus, it's very important for U.S. manufacturers to develop solid export strategies and take advantage of export assistance programs like the Branded Program. For more information, go to and click on services.

Market Highlights
Mexico: Mexico is the third largest market for U.S. exports of dog and cat food and the fifth largest for treats and other pet foods. The U.S. has a 95% share of pet food imports into Mexico most likely due to low transport costs and the elimination of tariffs under NAFTA. Increased local production and difficult/inconsistent sanitary regulations are the only real challenges for U.S. exporters.

Canada: Canada is the number one market for dog and cat food with imports increasing. In 2002, Canada imported $244.6 million in dog and cat food and $8.4 million in other pet foods. This represents approximately half of what is purchased. The U.S. controls 97% of the market, due to the large U.S. multinational that are bringing in their own brands and private labels. In addition to close proximity and elimination of tariffs under NAFTA, U.S. pet food regulations are seen as stricter than those in Canada. Despite vigorous competition, sales prospects exist for smaller firms with unique and innovative pet treats and niche foods like healthy pet food.

South Korea: Pet food exports to Korea reached over $14 million by the end of 2002. This was an increase of over four million from 2001. Korea is currently the number four market for pet food products. The market has increased nearly 600% in the last ten years as dog ownership has increased and is expected to continue to grow.

Belgium: Belgium is the number one European importer of pet foods from the U.S. Growth is expected in specialty areas like foods for aging animals. More growth is expected in pet care products rather than foods. The Belgium pet food market is highly competitive, mature, and sophisticated. This demands product innovation and promotional investment.

Other Countries for Consideration: Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, China, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Italy, the UK, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Argentine, Bahamas, Aruba, Jamaica, and Netherlands Antilles.

Get the pet food export help you need. Call FOOD EXPORT HELPLINETM Today! To take advantage of the Food Export HelplineTM -and to get more information on your top 25 markets-call 1-215-829-9111 and identify yourself as an APPMA Member. It's fast and easy!