(Originally featured in Canadian Packaging, December 2004.)
Pet-food manufacturer turns to robust labeling technology to enhance product ID and get ready for a RFID future.
While the word pet-food almost immediately brings to mind a picture of loveable dogs and cute cats, it wasn’t always thus. Back in 1893, an enterprising young man named William Danforth set out to make it in the business world in the city of St. Louis, Mo., with these words of encouragement and advice from his father: “Get into a business that fills a need for lots of people; something they need year-round and in both good and bad times.”

That was the era when a horse-and-buggy was your chief form of transportation, and it just wouldn’t work very well if your horses–whose main dietary staples consisted of oats and corn–weren’t properly fed and cared for.

For the less-better-off, the problem was twofold: oats were usually just too costly, and when corn went bad, as it often did, it caused a lethal form of colic that regularly killed thousands of horses each year.

In a stroke of entrepreneurial inspiration, Danforth became the driving force behind the newly-formed Robinson-Danforth Commission Company, which started out by selling 175-pound, hand-sewn sacks of a horse-feed mixture that was billed: “Cheaper than oats and safer than corn.”

Over the course of following decades, unwavering dedication to producing a healthful, quality product allowed the company to go from strength-tostrength–blossoming into the global pet-food giant Ralston Purina.

Written by Dan Pelton, Features Editor of Canadian Packaging Magazine.

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