Women in the Pet Industry: Meet Dr. Lina M. Ramirez of IFF

Timothy Hill

NEW CENTURY, KAN. — Lina M. Ramirez, Ph.D., is a food items scientist by trade and a dog proprietor by choice. At the moment senior apps scientist and venture lead for IFF pet food stuff group, Ramirez’s profession falls at the intersection of these two passions. She entered the foodstuff field with the goal of fixing every day difficulties in overall health, products improvement and research & development, and proceeds this charge by offering on-pattern component solutions for the pet food items market.

“Human quality components such as probiotics, enzymes, antioxidants, flavors and many others. are essential for Gen Z and Millennial pet owners,” she famous.

In the adhering to Q&A, Ramirez highlights these and other crucial tendencies, factors out the No. 1 problem she and other ingredient suppliers encounter nowadays, and shares her tips for other up-and-coming industry leaders.


PFP: Tell us about your business or job in the pet industry.

Ramirez: I am a senior application scientist and undertaking lead for the pet food items team at IFF in New Century, Kan.

A biochemist by schooling and originally from Colombia (South The united states), I keep a Ph.D. in meals science from Oklahoma Condition College and a master’s diploma in foods science and human nutrition from Clemson College.  After my doctorate I did 1 calendar year of publish-doctoral in the Animal Science Department at Oklahoma Condition University. Soon after my submit-doctoral time, I was wanting for sector careers in which I was ready to utilize my analysis and products enhancement expertise. I wished to make an impression on modern society, resolving issues or challenges we come throughout in our daily lives. My position at IFF has offered me with quite a few chances to implement my investigate, analytical and progress competencies — bringing new items and new elements to the pet foodstuff marketplace and supporting our buyers to achieve their objectives.

IFF is a world wide field chief in ingredients for food stuff, beverage, scent, wellbeing and biosciences. We create and sell enzymes, probiotics, hydrocolloids, proteins, emulsifiers, multi-functional meals, flavors, systems, antioxidants, botanicals and betaine for output and companion animals. These items aid to maximize raw material efficiency, phosphorus, and nitrogen, and assistance in trying to keep production animals healthier as manufacturing techniques evolve. For companion animals, these solutions supply dietary gains, assist in producing and/or keep animals wholesome.


PFP: How did you get your start off in the pet industry, and how did that knowledge direct you to in which you are now?

Ramirez: My vocation began far more than 10 many years in the past. My 1st work just after my postdoctoral fellowship was as a investigate scientist for a enterprise in Oklahoma. I did obstacle reports, shelf-everyday living studies in hen meals and kibbles, and pet food items analyses.

I then moved to Hodges, SC., and worked as a R&D job supervisor with a global business that specials with pet food items. My tasks involved qualification of new raw resources, ingredients, performing with buyers to optimize/personalize new products (palatants), and conducting palatability experiments to support consumer needs.

Six years back, I joined DuPont’s food stuff protection team, in which I centered on fermentates in New Century, Kan. My tasks in the team ranged from experimental style of tasks to completion in different meals purposes places this sort of as plant-based yogurt, meat choices, dairy, meat, bakery, culinary and pet food stuff. In addition, I assisted shoppers in North The united states and Latin The us by participating in plant trials, answering specialized thoughts, and conducting seminars and displays. I also coordinated intellectual house programs of novel investigate to detect new item opportunities.

Now, I am doing work at IFF in the pet food items group at New Century. Some of my duties include designing, top and executing pet foods scientific tests in a laboratory setting, such as sourcing required elements, primary the improvement of new fermentates for pet food solutions, reagents and elements. I can utilize my techniques in new product advancement working with our components and flavors, specialized assistance for regulatory authorizations and palatability exams.

PFP: What has been your greatest obstacle — particular or experienced — related to your operate in the pet marketplace?

Ramirez: Skillfully, a person of the major issues I have expert and am dealing with is a lack of ingredient supply. This obstacle is impacting all of us — a lot of colleagues in the pet food industry are in the exact boat.

PFP: Tell me about a skilled accomplishment in the pet business that you are proud of.

Ramirez: The merger of DuPont’s Diet & Biosciences and IFF brought a lot of prospects for innovation. Our workforce was capable to build new developments these types of as a Peanut Butter and Jelly principle, utilizing many elements from our portfolio this sort of as flavors and inclusions to manage the taste, shade and features of fruit and vegetables enzymes for taste generation, and hydrolyzed soy protein for digestibility to enable our buyers to realize success. Subsequent measures are heading to be to assist our dietary supplement lines.

PFP: What is top of intellect for you and/or your small business in the sector correct now?

Ramirez: Shareables – snacks of human-quality doggy treats that can be split in between a pet dad or mum and their canine. For several pet proprietors, their fur babies are like their family members members. As a lot more buyers are earning educated decisions when it will come to meals and health and fitness, pet owners are also creating better decisions for their animals by deciding on products that are safe for them to eat.

PFP: If you could choose three traits influencing the market these days, which are the most crucial and why?

Ramirez: The most critical trend appropriate now is sustainability. Pet owners are ever more far more concerned about shielding the planet, which interprets into increased possible for a lot more sustainable packaging and substances. In addition, pet owners and the young generations are more and more intrigued in substitute proteins, which are attaining consideration in the pet food items market.

Pet humanization has been outlined as a feeling/expression in which pet parents treat their companion animals like children and are hugely receptive to human-quality merchandise. This development has greater from the bodily products and services, these types of as daycare and grooming, to large excellent food items and toys.

Health and fitness, wellness, and palatability — pet mothers and fathers keep on to spend in nutritious statements for their animals, together with promises of clean, pure, and diet programs that contains useful components intended to supply a lot more than fundamental nourishment. Human grade components these as probiotics, enzymes, antioxidants, flavors and so on. are crucial for Gen Z and Millennial pet entrepreneurs.

PFP: What is something about the pet business that persons outside of the sector may perhaps not comprehend?

Ramirez: I assume a whole lot of customers might not be mindful of the stringent pet food regulation and the expected benchmarks for pet foodstuff production. In reality, the restrictions for pet food stuff components and manufacturing are a large amount stricter than meals for human intake. Pet meals manufacturing consists of a good deal of crucial components such as meat, meat by-items, cereals, grain, vitamins, and minerals to be effective.

Ramirez's dogs Willow (left) and Savannah (right)Ramirez’s canine Willow (remaining) and Savannah (proper). (Source: Lina M. Ramirez) 

PFP: What tips would you give to youthful folks starting their professions in this business?

Ramirez: Be open up to new principles and disciplines. Build a supportive and dependable network. Question inquiries, talk up, and do not fail to remember to have entertaining.

PFP: Just for fun, do you consider you a pet human being or a cat man or woman? Or, if you have animals of your possess, explain to us a little bit about them. 

Ramirez: I am a pet dog individual. I have an 11-year-outdated Good Dane named Savannah, and a 3-calendar year-outdated Bernedoodle named Willow. 

PFP: Any final guidance for other women of all ages in the pet market?

Ramirez: Be trustworthy, get the job done challenging, and never ever give up on your objectives. Be a wonderful group member, master and share knowledge, discuss up and problem on your own to get greater in your area. It is all right to make mistakes — study from people and shift on. It is section of the learning method.

Lina M. Ramirez, Ph.D., is at this time a senior programs professional and project guide for the pet foodstuff staff at IFF. Prior to signing up for IFF, Ramirez served as senior purposes scientist for foodstuff security at DuPont Diet & Health and fitness. She joined IFF subsequent the merger of IFF and DuPont’s Diet & Biosciences division in early 2021. Previously in her career, she held R&D positions with Symrise and IEH Laboratories and Consulting Group. Ramirez attained master’s degree meals science and human nutrition from Clemson University. She went on to obtain her Ph.D. in food stuff science from Oklahoma Point out University.

Proceed reading through about other feminine leaders highlighted in our Girls in the Pet Business sequence.

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