PET Food Processing - March 2018 - 12
"Pet owners want to buy the pet food
which not only fits the exact nutritional
need of their pet but also caters to their
personal ethics, beliefs and values."
Laurent Barbotin, Diana Pet Food
more to provide them with, what they view as, the proper nutrition to keep them healthy."
Beliefs drive purchases
Ziwi USA includes
green tripe in its
air-dried, high-meatcontent formulas to
ensure palatability and
acceptance by pets.
Pet food formulas need to meet the Association of
American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutritional
requirements for a complete and balanced diet. After
that, pet food processors look for differentiation to
align with the consumer beliefs, like natural, targetednutrients or non-grain. After aligning with the consumer's beliefs, it must feed well. Williams points out that
as food formulations adjust to meet the buyers' beliefs,
palatants must be developed to have a synergy that appeals to the pet. Palatants enhance the taste of dog and
cat foods, treats and supplements and help ensure pets
consume the food and in turn receive the nutrients they
need from the products.
"Outside of meeting the basic nutrition and palatability that will bring and keep the pet at the bowl, it comes
down to the buyers' beliefs behind the decision," Williams
says. "There are some pet parents who look for ancestral
diets that are high in protein or meat, others look for culinary diets with fruits, vegetables or ancient grains, while
still others want to focus on diets based on science for targeted health benefits." Each buyer's belief will create different approaches to meeting the basic objectives of nutritionally-sound and palatably-pleasing food for the pet.
One size fits all is gone. Other food categories
have taught consumers to expect products "made for
me." Explains Laurent Barbotin, general manager
North America, Diana Pet Food, Hodges, South
Carolina, "Pet owners want to buy the pet food which
not only fits the exact nutritional need of their pet but
also caters to their personal ethics, beliefs and values.
E-commerce only increases this. A pet owner can now
shop online for the brands he feels are right for him and his
pet." Demand for convenience, traceability, sustainability
and clean labels are all having an impact on the plethora
of options available.
Pet parents are becoming increasingly aware that
the right diet can help their pets live longer,
happier lives and they are embracing the
diet they believe will accomplish that.
PET FOOD PROCESSING | March 2018 | www.petfoodprocessing.net
A belief that ingredients must be biologically appropriate
drives demand for species-appropriate ingredients that
mimic the natural, wild-prey diet of their pet's ancestors. "The whole-prey diet trend is especially important
for cats, which are obligate carnivores, and must eat meat
to survive," says Mary Helen Horn, president, Ziwi USA,
Overland Park, Kansas. "As cat owners become more
aware of the importance of meat in their pet's diet, they
are moving away from grain- and plant-based foods and
towards those containing high levels of meat."
Consumers are also paying a lot more attention to
where and how their own foods are sourced, and that
trend is carrying over to pet foods. Characteristics such as
free-range, grass-fed, hormone-free, GMO-free and antibiotic-free are becoming more important to pet owners.
As superfoods continue to be popular in human foods,
pet foods and treats with real fruits and vegetables like
natural blueberries are attracting pet owners' attention.
They're scrutinizing what is in their pet's food, and are
willing to pay more for clean, premium sourcing.
Processors answer with new products
Brand managers continually evaluate what's important to humans and