NEW CENTURY, KAN. — Lina M. Ramirez, Ph.D., is a food items scientist by trade and a pet operator by selection. Presently senior purposes scientist and venture direct for IFF pet foods group, Ramirez’s vocation falls at the intersection of these two passions. She entered the food business with the intention of solving each day issues in health, item development and investigation & growth, and proceeds this charge by offering on-trend component methods for the pet meals industry.
“Human quality ingredients these types of as probiotics, enzymes, antioxidants, flavors and so on. are critical for Gen Z and Millennial pet house owners,” she observed.
In the subsequent Q&A, Ramirez highlights these and other vital traits, details out the No. 1 challenge she and other component suppliers deal with today, and shares her advice for other up-and-coming industry leaders.
PFP: Notify us about your business or vocation in the pet market.
Ramirez: I am a senior application scientist and venture guide for the pet food items group at IFF in New Century, Kan.
A biochemist by coaching and originally from Colombia (South The united states), I keep a Ph.D. in food science from Oklahoma Condition University and a master’s degree in food stuff science and human diet from Clemson University. After my doctorate I did 1 year of article-doctoral in the Animal Science Section at Oklahoma State College. After my publish-doctoral time, I was searching for market careers where by I was ready to utilize my investigation and products improvement capabilities. I preferred to make an effects on culture, solving concerns or problems we occur across in our day by day life. My part at IFF has offered me with quite a few options to use my study, analytical and advancement competencies — bringing new products and solutions and new components to the pet foods business and supporting our customers to reach their goals.
IFF is a world wide sector leader in substances for food stuff, beverage, scent, well being and biosciences. We produce and promote enzymes, probiotics, hydrocolloids, proteins, emulsifiers, multi-purposeful meals, flavors, methods, anti-oxidants, botanicals and betaine for production and companion animals. These merchandise assistance to maximize uncooked product performance, phosphorus, and nitrogen, and help in maintaining production animals healthy as creation methods evolve. For companion animals, these merchandise supply dietary gains, help in producing and/or keep animals wholesome.
PFP: How did you get your begin in the pet sector, and how did that encounter direct you to where by you are now?
Ramirez: My job started off additional than 10 yrs ago. My to start with career immediately after my postdoctoral fellowship was as a investigate scientist for a business in Oklahoma. I did obstacle studies, shelf-lifetime scientific tests in chicken foods and kibbles, and pet food stuff analyses.
I then moved to Hodges, SC., and labored as a R&D venture supervisor with a world company that specials with pet foodstuff. My duties bundled qualification of new raw materials, elements, functioning with consumers to optimize/personalize new solutions (palatants), and conducting palatability research to help shopper calls for.
6 decades in the past, I joined DuPont’s food stuff defense group, wherever I targeted on fermentates in New Century, Kan. My duties in the group ranged from experimental style and design of initiatives to completion in unique foodstuff purposes locations these as plant-based mostly yogurt, meat solutions, dairy, meat, bakery, culinary and pet meals. In addition, I assisted buyers in North America and Latin The us by taking part in plant trials, answering technological concerns, and conducting seminars and displays. I also coordinated mental home applications of novel research to detect new product prospects.
At present, I am working at IFF in the pet foods group at New Century. Some of my responsibilities include creating, major and executing pet foods research in a laboratory placing, which include sourcing required ingredients, foremost the growth of new fermentates for pet food products and solutions, reagents and components. I can utilize my capabilities in new product or service development applying our elements and flavors, technological guidance for regulatory authorizations and palatability exams.
PFP: What has been your largest problem — individual or experienced — linked to your operate in the pet field?
Ramirez: Skillfully, a person of the most important troubles I have expert and am experiencing is a scarcity of ingredient provide. This obstacle is influencing all of us — numerous colleagues in the pet foodstuff field are in the exact boat.
PFP: Tell me about a skilled accomplishment in the pet business that you are very pleased of.
Ramirez: The merger of DuPont’s Nourishment & Biosciences and IFF introduced a lot of prospects for innovation. Our staff was able to produce new developments these as a Peanut Butter and Jelly idea, using many components from our portfolio this kind of as flavors and inclusions to keep the style, coloration and operation of fruit and vegetables enzymes for flavor creation, and hydrolyzed soy protein for digestibility to assist our buyers to accomplish results. Following ways are going to be to assist our complement traces.
PFP: What is best of intellect for you and/or your enterprise in the market right now?
Ramirez: Shareables – snacks of human-quality dog treats that can be split concerning a pet parent and their pet dog. For a lot of pet homeowners, their fur infants are like their loved ones members. As far more customers are producing knowledgeable decisions when it comes to foods and wellbeing, pet homeowners are also earning better choices for their pets by picking products that are risk-free for them to try to eat.
PFP: If you could decide on three developments influencing the industry these days, which are the most important and why?
Ramirez: The most important craze correct now is sustainability. Pet house owners are progressively far more involved about protecting the earth, which translates into elevated probable for a lot more sustainable packaging and elements. In addition, pet homeowners and the more youthful generations are progressively intrigued in substitute proteins, which are getting interest in the pet foods marketplace.
Pet humanization has been described as a sensation/expression exactly where pet mom and dad take care of their companion animals like small children and are really receptive to human-quality products and solutions. This development has greater from the physical services, such as daycare and grooming, to large top quality food and toys.
Wellness, wellness, and palatability — pet mother and father proceed to devote in healthful statements for their pets, including promises of contemporary, all-natural, and eating plans made up of functional factors supposed to produce additional than essential nourishment. Human quality ingredients this sort of as probiotics, enzymes, anti-oxidants, flavors and so forth. are vital for Gen Z and Millennial pet proprietors.
PFP: What is some thing about the pet industry that people outside of the industry may possibly not notice?
Ramirez: I assume a great deal of people may perhaps not be mindful of the stringent pet foods regulation and the expected specifications for pet food items manufacturing. In point, the restrictions for pet foodstuff substances and producing are a great deal stricter than foods for human consumption. Pet food items producing involves a good deal of important components this sort of as meat, meat by-merchandise, cereals, grain, vitamins, and minerals to be successful.
PFP: What information would you give to younger people setting up their occupations in this business?
Ramirez: Be open up to new principles and disciplines. Build a supportive and dependable network. Ask thoughts, communicate up, and do not forget to have entertaining.
PFP: Just for enjoyment, do you take into consideration yourself a dog particular person or a cat person? Or, if you have pets of your individual, inform us a minimal little bit about them.
Ramirez: I am a canine person. I have an 11-yr-aged Terrific Dane named Savannah, and a 3-calendar year-outdated Bernedoodle named Willow.
PFP: Any ultimate information for other women of all ages in the pet marketplace?
Ramirez: Be straightforward, operate difficult, and under no circumstances give up on your goals. Be a wonderful team member, understand and share know-how, communicate up and obstacle by yourself to get better in your subject. It is ok to make problems — understand from individuals and transfer on. It is element of the learning course of action.
Lina M. Ramirez, Ph.D., is at present a senior programs specialist and job direct for the pet food items staff at IFF. Prior to signing up for IFF, Ramirez served as senior purposes scientist for food items safety at DuPont Nutrition & Overall health. She joined IFF adhering to the merger of IFF and DuPont’s Nutrition & Biosciences division in early 2021. Before in her profession, she held R&D positions with Symrise and IEH Laboratories and Consulting Team. Ramirez attained master’s degree foods science and human diet from Clemson College. She went on to get her Ph.D. in foodstuff science from Oklahoma State College.
Proceed looking through about other feminine leaders featured in our Gals in the Pet Market series.