NEW CENTURY, KAN. — Lina M. Ramirez, Ph.D., is a foods scientist by trade and a canine proprietor by alternative. At the moment senior applications scientist and venture guide for IFF pet foodstuff staff, Ramirez’s profession falls at the intersection of these two passions. She entered the foods sector with the intention of resolving daily difficulties in health, merchandise advancement and investigate & growth, and proceeds this cost by providing on-development ingredient options for the pet food items marketplace.
“Human quality elements this sort of as probiotics, enzymes, anti-oxidants, flavors etcetera. are critical for Gen Z and Millennial pet homeowners,” she observed.
In the next Q&A, Ramirez highlights these and other key developments, factors out the No. 1 problem she and other ingredient suppliers face today, and shares her tips for other up-and-coming business leaders.
PFP: Notify us about your business or vocation in the pet marketplace.
Ramirez: I am a senior application scientist and undertaking guide for the pet food group at IFF in New Century, Kan.
A biochemist by schooling and originally from Colombia (South The us), I keep a Ph.D. in meals science from Oklahoma Condition College and a master’s degree in foodstuff science and human nourishment from Clemson College. After my doctorate I did 1 calendar year of put up-doctoral in the Animal Science Office at Oklahoma State University. After my write-up-doctoral time, I was wanting for industry work wherever I was in a position to implement my investigation and merchandise development techniques. I required to make an effects on modern society, resolving problems or worries we appear throughout in our everyday life. My role at IFF has supplied me with a lot of chances to use my investigate, analytical and advancement abilities — bringing new goods and new elements to the pet food stuff field and supporting our prospects to realize their goals.
IFF is a world-wide sector leader in substances for food, beverage, scent, wellness and biosciences. We develop and sell enzymes, probiotics, hydrocolloids, proteins, emulsifiers, multi-useful foods, flavors, programs, antioxidants, botanicals and betaine for generation and companion animals. These items assistance to boost uncooked materials effectiveness, phosphorus, and nitrogen, and support in retaining manufacturing animals healthy as generation practices evolve. For companion animals, these products offer dietary benefits, aid in manufacturing and/or hold animals nutritious.
PFP: How did you get your start out in the pet marketplace, and how did that practical experience guide you to in which you are now?
Ramirez: My career begun additional than 10 several years ago. My very first job right after my postdoctoral fellowship was as a research scientist for a organization in Oklahoma. I did challenge scientific studies, shelf-existence research in chicken foods and kibbles, and pet food stuff analyses.
I then moved to Hodges, SC., and labored as a R&D project manager with a world wide enterprise that offers with pet food. My duties integrated qualification of new raw elements, substances, working with shoppers to improve/customize new items (palatants), and conducting palatability experiments to aid customer needs.
6 many years in the past, I joined DuPont’s foods security workforce, exactly where I targeted on fermentates in New Century, Kan. My tasks in the group ranged from experimental structure of jobs to completion in unique foodstuff programs spots these as plant-based mostly yogurt, meat choices, dairy, meat, bakery, culinary and pet food items. In addition, I assisted buyers in North The usa and Latin The us by collaborating in plant trials, answering technological issues, and conducting seminars and presentations. I also coordinated intellectual assets purposes of novel research to detect new product prospects.
At present, I am doing work at IFF in the pet foodstuff team at New Century. Some of my duties incorporate creating, foremost and executing pet food stuff reports in a laboratory location, which includes sourcing necessary components, top the growth of new fermentates for pet food products, reagents and elements. I can implement my expertise in new merchandise advancement making use of our ingredients and flavors, technological support for regulatory authorizations and palatability assessments.
PFP: What has been your greatest obstacle — personalized or experienced — associated to your operate in the pet sector?
Ramirez: Skillfully, just one of the major problems I have professional and am going through is a lack of component provide. This obstacle is affecting all of us — many colleagues in the pet food market are in the very same boat.
PFP: Explain to me about a experienced accomplishment in the pet market that you are proud of.
Ramirez: The merger of DuPont’s Nutrition & Biosciences and IFF brought a lot of possibilities for innovation. Our staff was able to build new developments such as a Peanut Butter and Jelly thought, employing many components from our portfolio this kind of as flavors and inclusions to preserve the flavor, coloration and operation of fruit and veggies enzymes for flavor development, and hydrolyzed soy protein for digestibility to support our prospects to achieve outcomes. Subsequent measures are going to be to aid our dietary supplement lines.
PFP: What is top of thoughts for you and/or your business in the marketplace appropriate now?
Ramirez: Shareables – treats of human-quality dog treats that can be split amongst a pet guardian and their doggy. For many pet owners, their fur toddlers are like their spouse and children members. As a lot more individuals are producing educated decisions when it arrives to food and well being, pet owners are also making much better choices for their pets by deciding upon products that are harmless for them to try to eat.
PFP: If you could decide three developments influencing the industry right now, which are the most critical and why?
Ramirez: The most significant craze suitable now is sustainability. Pet homeowners are progressively a lot more anxious about safeguarding the earth, which translates into elevated possible for more sustainable packaging and ingredients. In addition, pet homeowners and the young generations are ever more intrigued in different proteins, which are attaining focus in the pet food stuff sector.
Pet humanization has been defined as a sensation/expression where pet mom and dad deal with their companion animals like children and are very receptive to human-grade solutions. This development has amplified from the physical solutions, such as daycare and grooming, to significant excellent meals and toys.
Health, wellness, and palatability — pet dad and mom go on to devote in nutritious promises for their pets, which include statements of new, pure, and weight loss plans containing functional elements intended to produce extra than fundamental nourishment. Human quality components this kind of as probiotics, enzymes, anti-oxidants, flavors and so on. are important for Gen Z and Millennial pet proprietors.
PFP: What is some thing about the pet marketplace that people outside of the industry may perhaps not realize?
Ramirez: I feel a good deal of customers may possibly not be aware of the stringent pet food items regulation and the demanded standards for pet food stuff producing. In truth, the polices for pet foods elements and production are a large amount stricter than food stuff for human consumption. Pet foodstuff manufacturing entails a lot of critical components such as meat, meat by-goods, cereals, grain, vitamins, and minerals to be productive.
PFP: What tips would you give to younger people setting up their professions in this field?
Ramirez: Be open up to new ideas and disciplines. Build a supportive and dependable network. Ask concerns, speak up, and do not forget to have enjoyment.
PFP: Just for fun, do you think about yourself a pet individual or a cat individual? Or, if you have pets of your have, notify us a minimal little bit about them.
Ramirez: I am a dog particular person. I have an 11-yr-outdated Wonderful Dane named Savannah, and a 3-year-outdated Bernedoodle named Willow.
PFP: Any last assistance for other women in the pet field?
Ramirez: Be trustworthy, perform challenging, and in no way give up on your targets. Be a wonderful crew member, learn and share information, communicate up and obstacle your self to get improved in your discipline. It is ok to make mistakes — find out from individuals and shift on. It is part of the studying method.
Lina M. Ramirez, Ph.D., is currently a senior apps expert and undertaking direct for the pet foodstuff group at IFF. Prior to becoming a member of IFF, Ramirez served as senior applications scientist for food defense at DuPont Diet & Health. She joined IFF following the merger of IFF and DuPont’s Nutrition & Biosciences division in early 2021. Earlier in her occupation, she held R&D positions with Symrise and IEH Laboratories and Consulting Group. Ramirez acquired master’s diploma foods science and human diet from Clemson University. She went on to receive her Ph.D. in food items science from Oklahoma Condition College.
Carry on looking at about other female leaders showcased in our Women in the Pet Marketplace series.
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