Necessary Changes for Transparency
What should have been done is ask companies to make several changes leading in the direction of real, instead of perceived transparency:
- Tell consumers who formulated your food. What are their qualifications and experience?
- Release both 3rd party digestibility data and 3rd analytical data for all formulas they offer.
- Rethink before using the word proprietary with retailers and consumers – it’s certainly not an impressive or appreciated tactic and raises more questions than answers.
- Focus on education and science: help consumers on how to understand these reports. Since data can be intimidating, don’t use it as a way to hide from answering the hard questions. And don’t use the fact that they’re complicated keep you from making them publicly available.
- Admit that we have significant knowledge gaps that need to be addressed and examine how your company could contribute to bridging those gaps.
- Does that mean contributing funds to new and/or ongoing research?
- Does that mean designing and conducting new research?
- Or both?
- Honesty still goes a long way, especially when it comes to our pets – nobody has all the answers!
Prioritizing the Health and Wellbeing of our Pets
At the end of the day, everyone needs a break from marketing. Retailers and consumers need to demand better. Demand that companies take time to examine, and re-examine the data, talk to the consumers and retailers in order to learn where education opportunities are – rather than marketing opportunities. Ignorance of these problems will only breed more of the same. It’s time to break the cycle.