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Finding Needs

Discussion in 'Ideas, Needs, Concept Feedback' started by NursingTn, Feb 18, 2019.

  1. NursingTn
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    NursingTn New Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Hi,

    Inspired by Andy Black's thread What if you already know enough? thread, I decided I will find needs in a market that I know NOTHING about and give the information freely to others. For background: I am a nurse and personal trainer, so all my knowledge is in the health care field.

    1. Purpose for this thread: To give others a framework for finding needs.

    2. Why?: Like Andy said, I can either continue being a consumer or start being a producer. It is easier for me to be an entrepreneur - a fulfiller of needs, a giver of values - if I continue down the path of giving rather than taking. Although I am working on getting a small business take off, I want to use some of my spare time to contribute back to this community. I hope this thread gives other souls ideas on how to start their business foundation. At the end of this research, I will post lessons I gained from undertaking this journey and the needs I have identified from conducting this study.

    3. Let us begin. I used Alphabetical Listing of Industries | OpenSecrets to help me brainstorm different services and products from almost every conceivable industry in good ol’ USA. I decided on agriculture because I know little about this industry other than basic nutrition for healthy eating.

    -----------------------------------------------------------
    Introduction:

    Agriculture is the science of preparing plant and animal products for people to consume and use (1). Companies that belong in this sector are varied, including but not limited to, veterinarians, manufacturers of pet food, florists, and agricultural chemical companies (2). Considering the vastness of this industry, the writer flipped a coin in succession to determine the sub-field of agriculture to study, and the result is pet food manufacturers.

    Current Specific Knowledge on Topic:

    There are many pet food manufacturers. Some of these manufacturers include Mars Petcare Inc., Nestle Purina PetCare, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, and Blue Buffalo (3). In the United States, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulate the pet food industry (4). The FDA provides an informational on the standards of pet food that is “complete and balanced”, or intended to be a pet’s only source of nutrition; specifically, a pet food that can be considered complete and balanced must first meet the nutrient profiles set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and then secondly pass the organization’s feeding trial procedures (5). According to the Cummins Veterinary Medical Center, a good diet (pet food) for a cat or dog should preferably have, on their food labels, a statement that says the food have undergone animal feeding trials designated by the AAFCO rather than only formulated to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for any given life stage (6). Dogs and cats in different life stages – puppies and kittens, young and middle-age, seniors, and pregnant/lactating females – all have different nutritional needs (7). A survey of cat and dog food on Amazon.com reveals at least 11,000 results (products); for the purpose of this study, the writer picked dog food items that met the following criteria: editorial recommendations, top rated brands, Amazon’s Choice, and/or best sellers. Using this knowledge, the writer is interested in determining if the top dog food items meet Cummins Veterinary Medical Center’s recommendation, i.e. food labels should have statements that the food have undergone animal feeding trials rather than formulated to meet nutrient profiles.

    Results:

    The following six dog foods on Amazon.com have been determined to meet the aforementioned criteria:
    1. Purina Pro Plan SAVOR Shredded Blend With Probiotics Adult Dry Dog Food
    2. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Dog Food - Sweet Potato & Venison Formula
    3. Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food Original Turkey & Chicken
    4. Taste of The Wild Grain Free High Protein Real Meat Recipe High Prairie Premium Dry Dog Food
    5. CANIDAE All Life Stages Dog Dry Food
    6. Cesar Gourmet Wet Dog Food Variety Packs – 24 Trays
    Purina’s Pro Plan SAVOR Shredded Blend With Probiotics Adult Dry Dog Food has the statement: “Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that Pro Plan Savor Shredded Blend Adult Beef & Rice Formula provides complete and balanced nutrition for maintenance of adult dogs” (8).

    Natural Balance Limited Ingredients Diets Dry Dog Food – Sweet Potato & Venison Formula has the statement: “Formulated to provide high-quality nutrition for all breeds” (9).

    Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food Original Turkey & Chicken has the statement: “[…] formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for maintenance” (10).

    Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real Meat Recipe High Prairie Premium Dry Dog Food has the statement: “[…] formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for maintenance” (11).

    CANIDAE All Life Stages Dog Dry Food has the statement: “[…] vet formulated for dogs of all ages, breeds, and sizes” (12).

    Cesar Gourmet Wet Dog Food Variety Packs have four food flavors, thus, the grilled chicken flavor is chosen because it was simply first in the list of available food flavors. Per Cesar’s website, the statement for this particular flavor product is: “[…] formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles for maintenance” (13).

    Discussion:

    Considering the results, only one out of the top six dog food items sold on Amazon appeared to have undergo animal feeding tests as recommended by Cummins Veterinary Medical Center. The Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Team remarks that pet food that is formulated has not been tested in real world testing and therefore it can be difficult to determine if the pet food actually delivers the nutritional value a pet needs; comparatively, pet food that has undergone trials can help verify that nutrients and their amounts described on the label “are actually in the food and will contribute to the health of the animal” (14). Consequently, in theory, it does matter for a pet food to have undergone feeding trials to determine it is healthy for pet consumption. However, it seems many apparent pet owners are pleased with the top six dog foods available on Amazon.com despite only 1 of 6 having undergone feeding trials. Research problems that may prove useful to look further into for future research studies:
    1. What is the health status of the dogs fed on the current top six dog foods before and after starting on the diet?
    2. Do food trials rival the thousands of personal anecdotes (Amazon reviews) in terms of pet food safety and delivering on the products’ claims, e.g. meets the dog’s complete nutrition? Conversely, do personal anecdotes of these pet foods sufficient enough to replace food trials?
    3. Of what percentages of the nutrition of each dog food is actually being digested and used by a dog in a particular context, e.g. under-active, above-active, underweight, overweight, pregnant, seniors, etc.?
    4. What ingredients in pet foods actually contribute to health, e.g. do probiotics in Purina’s Pro Plan SAVOR contribute to a pet’s health significantly at all?, does chicken vs beef vs lamb vs everything else make a difference in pet’s health other than mere taste?
    Top Three Limitations of Study:

    One limitation is this study surveyed six dog food out of 11,000 pet food products. Sampling can be an issue; perhaps these six products do not represent the majority of pet food products, let alone pet foods for other species, e.g. cats, birds, and so on. Another limitation of this study is the quality of some of the sources used for information gathering, e.g. is the information from one veterinarian team representative of current medical information on pet food? One final limitation of this study is that the focus of this paper is strictly on the quality of pet food in terms of meeting AAFCO’s standards; could the standards of this agency be considered the de facto gold standard for quality pet nutrition, similarly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in promoting human health? More research needs to be done by the writer to make a personal determination of this question.

    References:

    (1) https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/agriculture/

    (2) Agricultural Services & Products | OpenSecrets

    (3) http://www.ift.org/food-technology/...-leading-pet-food-manufacturers-globally.aspx

    (4) Information for Pet Owners

    (5) “Complete and Balanced” Pet Food

    (6) Frequently Asked Questions about General Pet Nutrition

    (7) Pet Life Nutrition Stages | Texas Pet Nutrition

    (8) Shredded Beef & Rice Dry Dog Food SAVOR | Purina® Pro Plan®

    (9) https://www.naturalbalanceinc.com/dog-formulas/dry/limited-ingredient-diets/sweet-potato-and-venison

    (10) CORE Original

    (11) High Prairie Canine Recipe with Roasted Bison & Roasted Venison - Taste of the Wild Pet Food

    (12) CANIDAE® All Life Stages Dog Dry Food Chicken, Turkey, Lamb & Fish Meals Formula

    (13) https://www.cesar.com/products/classics/grilled-chicken-flavor-in-meaty-juices#

    (14) https://www.lonetreevet.com/blog/pet-food-labels/

    -----------------------------------------------------------

    Needs I have identified:

    I applaud anyone that has taken their time to read through this mini-research I conducted on pet food. From my research, I have identified the following needs in the pet food market:

    1. There are websites/organizations that discredit information provided by AAFCO, e.g. AAFCO is in cahoots with pet food manufacturers, thus there is a conflict of interest and doubt that commercial pet food is actually healthy for pet consumption. Additionally, there is no single “best” web site that provide information on pet food without some degree of bias. Then there is fragmented information over numerous websites that a consumer must transverse to determine what makes a pet food “good” to help consumers decide how to feed their pets. Entrepreneur: Create a well-researched informative website on pet food from expert advice on the kind of pet food to give to pets, pet foods to avoid, agencies to talk to promote pet food quality, and so on.
    2. Please see the four research problems I identified above in the writing. Whether or not these are profitable ventures to tackle, they are information that consumers deserve to know to make informed purchases. Entrepreneur: Create a research organization dedicated to improve quality of pet food. There are top competitors in the market, such as Purina and Blue Buffalo, that are or may be conducting research on advancing pet nutrition. However, I believe an organization outside of these companies can improve the credibility of information simply because of potential conflict of interest among pet food manufacturers and the pet food they advertise to consumers. For example, an external organization can research the health of dogs on a diet of Purina’s Pro Plan SAVOR and determine if the thousands of positive reviews are based on legitimate grounds.
    These are only two potential solutions for the two needs that I have identified with my experience conducting this research study. Other solutions can include, but not limited to, creating an e-book that helps consumers learn techniques to identify excellent pet food for a pet, creating a pet food line of products that have undergo feeding trials, and so on.

    Lessons I have learned:

    1. Become an expert at one thing. I kid you not, if you look up pet food on google.com, there is a humongous load of information about everything under the sun, e.g. caring for pets, wet vs dry dog food, commercial vs homemade food, AAFCO is trustworthy vs untrustworthy, thousands of pet food products from hundreds of pet food manufacturers, etc. I simply cannot become an expert at any of this and potentially become a worthy competitor in the pet food market. However, I became an expert at one thing and have created a niche for myself, if I so choose to continue pursuing: Let me help you determine if your pet food meets the standard of an agency the FDA recommends for pet food manufacturers.
    2. Information overload is real. As previously mentioned, there is a vast load of information available on pet food when you google the search term. Go for niches. Pick ANY leads you have and go with it. If a pet food search term leads to a particular pet food, learn as much as you can about it and use the information to continue learning about whatever topic that hits you, e.g. is this pet food healthy compared to others, what the heck is crude analysis of contents for a pet food, is this site trustworthy, oh my gosh how do I know if I can survive off of dog food in an apocalypse. Keep following a lead to its culmination; if nothing yields a need that the market demands fulfillment, then use the many other leads that you have to continue researching. I promise you, NEEDS are everywhere. You only have to be willing to endure the headaches of researching information to identify the needs, especially if you new to an industry.
    3. At the end of the day, only action matters. I had fear of failure that this article will be crap and fear of rejection from others on the forum that my case study means absolutely nothing to them. I was stuck in doubts about my own ability, if I actually knew enough to even find a need to meet. Then I realized something from this attempt. Action conquers all the mental BS that goes on inside my head. After finishing up this writing, I realized that “HOLY, I did it. I created something that might benefit a soul out there.”. Taking action is hard, but the end-result is so worth it. It does not matter if this article gets rejected, is crappy, and so on. All that matters is to become a natural action-taker; the market, this world… only rewards those who take deliberate, calculated actions.
    Anyway, I hope someone finds this thread useful. This has been a helpful self-development project for me in my journey to become a full fledged entrepreneur. Even if nothing comes out of this posting on the forum, I have at least a tangible proof outside of academia of my research, analytical, and writing skills that I can use as my own personal portfolio when hustling. Action is the king in entrepreneurship.

    Best,

    NursingTn
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2019
  2. rwhyan
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    rwhyan Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I thought of a need while reading this: create a pet food brand that has been tested and has undergone trials; provide people accurate nutritional value information and how it'll affect the health of their pet.

     
  3. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Thanks for the shoutout. I read the intro, and skimmed the rest.

    I’m curious....
    • What would happen if you used the knowledge, skills and experience you *already* have to go help people?
    • I presume your nursing and personal training knowledge, skills and experience could help folks? Where could you find people who want that help?

    Who can you help *today*, without doing any more research or learning?
     
    NursingTn likes this.
  4. NursingTn
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    NursingTn New Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Your post inspired me to email at least six organizations to see if I can volunteer my skill-set in some capacity. I did care for my patients today, which is an amazing privilege for me.
     
    Andy Black likes this.
  5. NursingTn
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    NursingTn New Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Yes. I spoke with a couple of people, and people really want to give their pets the best food possible. Their two main complaints? Difficulty finding a reliable pet food brand that has the ingredients THEY believe is best for their dogs and cost of the food, e.g. expensive alternative pet food that does not have rice since pet is sensitive to rice. Potential need: Pet owners want some say in what goes inside of their pet food. Perhaps a company that allows the average pet owner to have the option to pick the ingredients that go inside of their pet food at a reasonable cost. Custom pet food packages?
     

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