Rescue Bank Invited to Speak at Pet Food Forum 2012
Pet Food Forum is the premier technical and business conference for pet food manufacturers and their suppliers. Held annually in the Chicago area, this year’s conference in early April featured a keynote speech by Betsy Banks Saul, co-founder of Petfinder.com, and an invited presentation by Rescue Bank’s Elizabeth Asher and John Kane. During her excellent keynote speech, Betsy was kind enough to call out Rescue Bank and encouraged manufacturers to consider our network.
Rescue Bank’s session was the first time that a national pet food bank network had an opportunity to speak to industry leaders about the benefits of partnering with rescues in their donation programs. The presentation started by describing the food bank concept and how it applies to delivering donated pet products to rescues, shelters, feral feeders, social service agencies, and disaster response efforts.
Attendees acknowledged some of the problems that manufacturers have managing their donations such as verifying groups, tracking donations and lot numbers, or maintaining uniform policies across all of their facilities.
The discussion covered some of the benefits that industry could get from working with the Rescue Bank network. These included:
Tools for improving relationships –Volunteers and staff at animal welfare groups are a key source of information for adopting families, providing recommendations for food and other pet products and services. Manufacturers want better access to, and stronger relationships with, these volunteers and staff.
Information channels – There are three audiences that manufacturers want to engage- the animal welfare community (i.e., rescues, shelters, etc.), pet owners, and the regulators. A food bank network collects information from, and can help deliver messages to, all three audiences. Industry recognizes that better information exchange creates stronger relationships.
Product delivery system – The most visible part of a food bank network is the logistics operation – picking up donations and trucking them to our distribution affiliates. Since the network pays the freight, manufacturers save hundreds of thousands of dollars that they previously spent on freight and, in some cases, landfill disposal.
Several manufacturers met with us after the presentation and we’re contacting them to discuss their interest in the Rescue Bank network.