Next Gen PFMA has the wonderful opportunity to represent a wide array of pet food manufacturers, as well as the distributors and retailers who support these manufacturers by carrying their products.
Our manufacturers often use unique methods of marketing to the consumer. Some manufacturers use the traditional method of brokering through a distributor to retail stores who then sell to the end-user. Other manufacturers direct market to the consumer and deliver their product through the mail. Yet other manufacturers represent all levels of our membership categories – not only manufacturing the food, and retailing to the consumer but also providing the direct distribution channel; deliveries may be at a central pick up location or direct to the consumer’s home. We even represent manufacturers who market their product at farmers markets. Therefore, it’s logical that there might be some confusion as to representation and membership levels.
Technically, per Merriam – Webster:
- A manufacturer is one who makes or produces something from raw materials.
- A distributor is someone who markets a product or commodity.
- And finally, a retailer is someone who sells small quantities of a product directly to the end-user.
In practical reality, the manufacturer, if faced with a recall, will have their name associated with the recall. By contrast, in a recall situation, the pet food store and/or the distributor who carries the foods will not be specifically listed to the public recall notice. (That is unless the FDA changes their policies.)
The other way this matters is in potential future class-action lawsuits. Each category of Next Gen PFMA membership must be properly designated so as to receive full representation in a future lawsuit. It may become necessary for our members to sue for the right to manufacture their products; similarly, it may become necessary for retailers and distributors to sue for their right to carry given products. Clarity as we move forward will enable these eventualities.