Fish has played a starring role in the evolution of the human diet. Pet owners are now increasingly able to give this healthy food to their pets too.
Farming for the future
According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the world’s population will grow to nine billion by 2050. At the same time, there will be increased demand for marine proteins and oils. In that scenario, sustainable salmon farming will play a key role in feeding the world while preventing overfishing. This will be the base for significant growth in aquaculture expected in the coming years.
In times of humanisation, it is not surprising that pet owners prefer quality sustainable ingredients for their pets, making fish and other marine ingredients perfectly suited to this role.
Salmon is a great source of high quality protein, omega-3 fatty acids, essential minerals and vitamins. It is also highly digestible and palatable. Unsurprisingly, it is an ingredient in many premium and super-premium pet food formulations. From a sustainable perspective, farmed salmon is an efficient converter of feed that leaves a relatively low carbon footprint.
Until recently, only a few brands were based on marine raw materials. Currently, there is an increasing interest in marine ingredients for pet food and this trend is expected to continue, given the wider availability on the global market. Fish and marine rest raw material (MRRM) are very versatile for use in pet food: from complete dry and wet recipes to functional supplements and treats.
Fish protein is included in diets as fishmeal concentrates, hydrolysed protein or simply fresh fish. Fish protein hydrolysate results from the breakdown of fish proteins into smaller peptides after enzymatic treatment or under acidic medium conditions. The output is a range of novel protein sources which are highly digestible, have low allergenic effect and give excellent palatability.
Fish, krill and algae are also valuable ingredients in formulations for dogs and cats, as a source of high quality oils and as nutraceuticals. Marine oils supply high levels of the essential omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, with well documented effects on pet health and well-being. Fish is also a rich source of essential nutrients such as vitamins A, D, E, and B complex, plus iron, phosphorus, selenium and iodine.
Besides the sustainable aspect, the use of rest raw materials from fisheries and fish farming is a great opportunity for value creation and improving raw material flow. With different processing techniques and a focus on food safety, MRRMs such as fish skin, carcasses, liver and roe can be turned into high quality pet food ingredients.
Dogs and cats love fish. It is a highly palatable ingredient with nutritional value and health benefits. Fish is good for pets and good for the environment.
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