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Recalls spur growth of healthy options

BY Doug Desjardins

It’s been six months since the massive pet food recall in March that was traced back to tainted wheat from China. But the recall is having a lasting impact that’s raised concern among pet owners about what goes into the food and treats they feed their pets.

That concern was reflected in a survey conducted in August by Purina that showed 82 percent of pet owners now try to purchase the healthiest foods they can find for their pets, a percentage on par with the 90 percent who said they try to buy the healthiest products they can find for themselves.

“As people are becoming more knowledgeable about nutrition and what goes into their own food, they’re becoming more selective about what is and is not in their pets’ food,” said Ken Wilhelm, brand director for Purina Pro Plan Selects.

So it’s no surprise pet food suppliers are rolling out new products that contain all-natural ingredients, along with things like antioxidants. Purina expanded its Pro Plan line of healthy foods for dogs and cats this summer as part of its move into the all-natural food category. Purina says its new Pro Plan Selects and Selects Canned Entrees are made with lean protein and natural ingredients, such as fruits and vegetables, wild rice and oatmeal.

In addition to carrying healthy foods from Purina and Iams, Walgreens now sells Sunshine Natural Way Adult Dog Food. Its Lamb Meal & Rice Recipe sells for $5.99 and contains no artificial ingredients or preservatives. It is made up of all-natural lamb meal and farm-harvested rice.

CVS is targeting the pet treat category with its Nutri-Vet line of products for older dogs. Its Nutri-Vet Hip and Joint Wafers contain high-quality ingredients along with glucosamine to help dogs troubled with arthritis and other joint ailments.

Organic foods also are becoming more popular, though high prices—often three-times higher than regular pet foods—make them less attractive. Nevertheless, sales of organic pet foods are expected to generate $800 million in sales this year and increase 20 percent annually over the next few years. Some all-natural and organic foods that contain human-grade products have started appearing in stores that typically don’t carry higher-end food and include pet foods from Newman’s Own, Pet Promise and LifeSpan.

Despite the high prices, organic foods and treats are likely to attract more attention this fall thanks to a second round of recalls in late August that raised another red flag.

Wal-Mart pulled two brands of dog treats made in China from its shelves on fears they contained trace amounts of melanin, the same chemical that was found in 100 brands of pet food recalled in March. And Mars Pet Care recalled two brands of dog food in New York and Pennsylvania that may have been contaminated with a strain of salmonella.

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Kroger appoints Going as Michigan division president

BY Adam Kraemer

CINCINNATI The Kroger Co. announced Wednesday that it has named Rick Going president of the company’s new Michigan division.

Kroger currently operates 138 stores in the state; Going will oversee operations in them, effective immediately.

During his 26-year tenure with Kroger, Going has held a number of district- and division-level leadership positions at the store and has served as vice president of Retail Operations and vice president of Merchandising for Kroger’s Cincinnati/Dayton division.

“Rick brings extensive experience in operations and merchandising to this new role,” said Don McGeorge, Kroger’s president and chief operating officer. “We look forward to his leadership as he works with our associates to build on Kroger’s growth in Michigan by focusing on our customers to create even better shopping experiences for them.”

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NACDS responds to “misleading” New York Times article

BY DSN STAFF

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has fired back at The New York Times after the publication ran an article in its Sept. 18 issue titled, “The ‘Poisonous Cocktail’ of Multiple Drugs.”

The NACDS said the article misrepresented the role of chain pharmacies in the prevention of harmful drug interactions. The article blamed, “places where chain stores have replaced independent pharmacies or when the patient’s drug plan requires that medications be ordered by mail.” The NACDS retaliated by stating that all pharmacists, no matter whether they work in a chain or at an independent pharmacy, counsel patients for drug interactions and rely on medication information for this purpose.

The NACDS said the article misrepresented the role of chain pharmacies in the prevention of harmful drug interactions. The article blamed, “places where chain stores have replaced independent pharmacies or when the patient’s drug plan requires that medications be ordered by mail.” The NACDS retaliated by stating that all pharmacists, no matter whether they work in a chain or at an independent pharmacy, counsel patients for drug interactions and rely on medication information for this purpose.

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