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October 26 2023 - Blog
Five months ago, I had the pleasure of joining IQI Trusted Petfood Ingredients as the new sales leader in North America. I’m thrilled to have joined the IQI team during an exciting period within the company and the pet food industry. Over the past few months, I have spoken to many of our valued customers on conference calls and travelled to personally meet several of them, as well as all of our IQI colleagues in Europe and the US. These interactions have validated my ambitions to grow our presence in the US and expand our collaboration with pet food producers to deliver value in the pet food industry.
Having worked in the pet food industry for nearly my entire career, IQI was not a foreign company to me. In fact, Chad Helberg, IQI’s Global Purchasing Director, was a colleague of mine at a previous company nearly twenty years ago. Having the opportunity to hear his feedback directly about IQI’s strong presence in the pet food industry was key to my decision to join the company. IQI truly has a solid team with industry expertise that understands all aspects of the value chain, focusing on innovation, procurement, quality, supply chain, and sustainability. That truly is a unique skillset and an experienced team with which to align.
A strong aspect of IQI is that we are a solutions provider to our customers. We bring an innovative mindset backed by strict quality assurance, nutritional and marketplace expertise, and strong focus on supply chain optimization. When I attended SuperZoo this year, it was great to see how well our customers responded to what Julie Ninneman and Paul Verderber, IQI’s National Sales Managers, were explaining to them regarding the industry resources that IQI has to offer. I really enjoyed meeting with our customers and suppliers to discuss market trends, portfolio needs, and supply capabilities together, and identify products that we can introduce on the market.
Co-creation with our suppliers and our customers, as our CEO Mark Oostendorp discussed in one of his previous blogs, is a key area in which I look forward to expanding our focus in the coming years. By combining our internal resources and expertise, together with our supply chain partnerships, we have the opportunity to support our customers in differentiating their sales portfolio in the market by creating a diversity of products that meet consumer expectations. This could be a nutritionally beneficial ingredient that supports the pet food producer by making marketing claims on the packaging. Or it could be a novel ingredient that enables pet food producers to achieve sustainability targets.
Among the many different trends and developments in the pet food industry, we are also seeing an increasing focus on sustainability. While this trend initially had a higher consumer focus in Europe, we see this evolution growing in North America with consumers and product claims. Many pet food producers are including corporate sustainability improvement measures and targets as operational objectives. Including IQI’s novel ingredients, such as Algae DHA to complement or replace fish oil, Black Soldier Fly or Fermented Soy, in pet food formulas helps to achieve these targets.
Another area I look forward to developing is utilizing my global industry experience to collaborate with the IQI team to see how we can further develop our strategy and grow our footprint . We have been very successful in Europe with high omega-3 fish oil. I am looking forward to expand that success to North America. Today, we offer lamb meal from New Zealand and Australia across Europe and North America, as well as various other novel proteins from Europe. If we can replicate these partnerships as a model for other ingredients across different regions, our potential for growth is enormous. Recently, IQI started offering a sweet potato product from Thailand. This supply partnership in combination with our operational footprint is another great example of how IQI has all the steps in the value chain in place to grow and expand our business.
A crucial element in realizing our sales ambitions for North America is the optimization of our supply chain capabilities, allowing us to capitalize on our industry synergies and deliver value to the customer. One important element is our new processing and warehouse location in Stockton, CA. Just after I joined IQI, we took the exciting step to move from our location in Tracy, CA to this new facility, which offers expanded capabilities. With this move, we continue to offer the same quality assured cleaning and screening capabilities, but we also have additional storage space, allowing us to offer a larger volume of differentiated products. Additionally, our staff will enjoy the improved office space and amenities, which further promotes our capabilities to efficiently serve the North American market.
I look forward to continuing this journey with IQI in the North American market. This is focused on increasing the connectivity with our customer base, continuing to offer exciting products and nutritional solutions, and promoting collective growth in meeting industry trends and developments. If you are interested in talking to me about these or other related topics, please get in touch.