Feed to food
With website strap lines such as ‘made with 100% human-grade organic beef and fresh vegetables’ and ‘restaurant-quality ingredients’, the convergence between human food and pet food continues at pace, whilst at the same time diverging from its agricultural, animal feed roots. Modern pet food producers now have new aspects to consider and incorporate into their recipes.
Significant time and financial commitment is invested in the creation and launch of a new pet food brand. Many hours are spent identifying the market opportunities, formulating new recipes and designing eye-catching packaging, but often little consideration is given to ingredient continuity. Whilst ingredients like ‘fresh grass-fed lamb’ and ‘free-range chicken fillet’ sound wonderful to us, and so entice us to buy the food, we need to ask whether these ingredients are likely to be available in sufficient quantities, at affordable prices, and of suitable quality in the future. With the world’s population set to reach nine billion by the middle of this century, and global meat consumption expected to also double in this time, this will be increasingly challenging.
Above all else, commercial pet foods must be safe. Not just safe for the pet, but also safe for any person that comes into contact with the food. Obvious aspects, such as the microbial content, are often the focus of our controls however, the presence of human allergens, such as nuts and shellfish, should also be considered, and ideally highlighted on packaging. This is particularly the case with snacks and treats, which are often given by hand.
By definition, pet owners are animal lovers. Few market reports exclude the observation that pets are becoming more a part of the family, and so we consider what they eat as carefully as we do for ourselves. With this comes an increasing interest in how the animals used in the production of the food were fed, reared, and slaughtered.
Perhaps surprisingly, the environment has a significant influence on our pet food. Crop prices and nutritional content are affected by seasonal and global weather, but also chemical pollutants and residues can have a considerable impact on price, availability and safety. Pets are particularly sensitive to some of these contaminants, and so their detection should be part of any good HACCP plan. Pet owners are also increasingly aware of the air miles involved in the production of foods, with an attraction to local ingredients with clear provenance.
The latest articles
US officials support AAFCO’s new pet food labeling regulations
The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) encourages all states to adopt the new rules.
Rebranding: Maxi Zoo becomes Fressnapf in French-speaking Switzerland
The idea is to unify the 18 shops that the retailer has in Romandy with the branding seen in the rest of the country.
More than 20% of Nestlé’s sales last year were pet products
The conglomerate’s pet category is the largest contributor to organic growth, while global sales decreased by 1.5%.
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