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Pet Food Presents Opportunity for U.S. Sorghum in China

Grain was recognized for its nutritional benefits and easy processing use in pet food

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U.S. sorghum received high praise during the Changcheng Industry (CIPS) Pet Show this month in China, as the grain was recognized for its nutritional benefits and easy processing use in pet food.

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) arranged for Greg Aldrich, pet food program coordinator at Kansas State University, to virtually attend the 2020 CIPS Pet Food Ingredients Conference on Nov. 13, both to discuss the uses of sorghum and other grains as ingredients and build up interest in this potential market.

Aldrich shared how U.S. sorghum and other grains are used in the United States and basic supply and demand factors for those commodities. Sorghum is a high-quality ingredient winning increasing demand for feed formulations for pet food, primarily dog and cat food. The grain boasts several nutritional benefits for pets, including a low glycemic index, rich antioxidants and minerals and a measurable amount of dietary fiber and quality proteins. Beyond nutrition, sorghum processes well into pet food applications.

“While sorghum is usually referred to as a feed ingredient for livestock, the grain also makes an ideal ingredient for companion animals,” said Bryan Lohmar, USGC director in China. “USGC is expanding sorghum promotion work into this new area of demand to continue capitalizing on growing areas of Chinese demand that provide value-added opportunities for U.S. exports.”

While U.S. grains and co-products, including sorghum, corn and distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS), are primarily used in animal feed in China, the country is also home to a rapidly-growing pet food industry that currently produces more than 1.5 million metric tons annually.

Attending the CIPS 2020 show helped USGC better understand the pet food market in China, promote the application of U.S. sorghum and other coarse grains in pet food, and develop interest among Chinese pet food manufacturers.

“USGC has worked in China for more than 35 years, mostly in the feed and livestock industry,” Lohmar said. “China’s pet food industry represents new potential opportunities to expand U.S. coarse grain and co-product exports into these higher-valued markets.”

USGC will continue to pursue opportunities like the CIPS Pet Food Ingredients Conference to identify customers and develop markets in China’s growing pet food industry.

Learn more about sorghum use in pet food.

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