In 2014, a large, multinational corporation with a pet food line sold primarily through farm and feed channels came to American Nutrition (ANI) for temporary manufacturing support during a widespread salmonella scare. When the opportunity for a long-term engagement arose, ANI threw their hat in the ring but was initially underbid.
It wasn’t long before the corporation began experiencing quality issues with their chosen supplier and offered ANI the opportunity to bid again. This time, they were looking for something very specific: a manufacturer that could provide quality products and help them bring their product line into compliance with changing AAFCO regulations.
“We not only had to replicate and start manufacturing their existing products, but we also had figure out how to bring 42 SKUs and 25 formulations into compliance and make adjustments to their packaging claims,” said Lyndsay Jackson [more].
It was a huge project that touched every department at American Nutrition — R&D, regulatory, procurement, creative, quality assurance and more. ANI would also have to work collaboratively with two other manufacturers and the client company’s design and marketing teams.
The Path to AAFCO 2018 Compliance
First, ANI established a baseline by taking the existing formulas and working through them to fully understand how the various aspects — protein, fat, moisture, ingredient listings, etc. — were meeting current regulations. Only then could they determine how the makeup of the formulas needed to change to meet upcoming AAFCO regulations and develop a full transition plan.
The project was implemented in a phased approach over two years, and ANI met regularly with the other co-manufacturers during that time to coordinate everything from formulation changes to packaging claims. While anything that was outdated — from the nutritional information to the romance copy — had to be updated, it needed to be done efficiently because, as Jackson notes, “every time you touch the packaging, it adds cost.”
Compliance with the AAFCO 2018 regulations was the end goal, but ANI was dedicated to helping the client company minimize the spend as well. That meant ensuring they could sell as much of their current product in the existing bags before switching to the new product in the revised bags.
“The timing was critical. Sometimes there’s a 30- 60- or 90-day window for full compliance once a rule is in effect, but no one really knew how the states were going to handle the transition,” said Jackson. “If we produced non-updated product in January 2017 we wanted to make certain it would be sold off of retail shelves before January 2018.”
Once the new AAFCO-compliant products were up and running, ANI culled through the company’s back stock to ensure inventory, production and sales were marching in lock-step.
The client company met or exceeded all of their compliance goals with the help of American Nutrition. To date, ANI is responsible for manufacturing 70% of their products and has been contracted for another three years.
“It was the most complicated project…and the smoothest running,” said Jackson. “The company was thrilled with our efforts, especially how closely we worked with them in the very beginning to make sure the products would be exactly what their customers wanted to feed to their pets.”