PET Food Processing - March 2018 - 14

TRENDS

they regard as family members. This has resulted in the
increased popularity of natural pet foods. "Raw diets, as
well as freeze-dried and air-dried alternatives to raw, are
leading the growth in the natural category, having more
than doubled in sales since 2013," Horn says. "This trend
is expected to continue as pet parents look for foods that
mirror their pets' whole-prey ancestral diets. Ziwi AirDried provides the nutritional benefits of a raw diet, but
is shelf-stable, convenient, and safe to handle."

Pets are the priority

By using low-glycemic
ingredients like chickpeas, sweet potatoes
and lentils, Nulo's formulas help reduce the
risk of weight-related
issues for pets.
Nulo Pet Food

14

adapt or expand their product offerings to match human
pet-feeding preferences. Royal Canin reports that pet
owners are continuing to provide treats for their pets as
a means of showing their love. When it comes to cats,
they see similar feeding trends as they do with dogs with
the exception that cat owners are providing more mixed
feedings of both dry and canned foods. But the overall desire to provide a beneficial treat is universal with
both cat and dog owners. In support of that desire, Royal
Canin developed a veterinary-exclusive line of treats for
dogs and cats that have therapeutic needs. This allows
pets to have treats in conjunction with their veterinaryrecommended diets that may prevent them from consuming standard treats.
Other brands are addressing health issues as well.
Redbarn Pet Products, Long Beach, California, offers
a low-temperature-cooked, meat-rich, grain-free food
roll that they suggest for dogs with stomach sensitivity
or skin allergies. High-protein formulas from Nulo Pet
Food, Austin, Texas, feature grain-free, low-glycemic
carb sources and a patented probiotic that supports digestive and immune health. "As carnivores, acceptance
of our high-meat formulas by dogs and cats is naturally
very high," says Michael Landa, founder and CEO, Nulo
Pet Food. "By minimizing the level of carbs and using
only low-glycemic ingredients like chickpeas, sweet potatoes and lentils, Nulo's diets help to reduce the risk
of obesity and other weight-related issues. This results
in healthier pets, more confident pet owners, and an
approach to nutrition that can translate across multiple food formats, packaging types, and distribution
channels."
People are focusing more on whole, natural foods for
themselves - so they want the same for their pets, whom

PET FOOD PROCESSING | March 2018 | www.petfoodprocessing.net

Eckert explains Royal Canin's approach. "We stay true to
who we are as a company, grounded in science, research
and innovation because we focus first on the pet. While
we see different consumer trends in the marketplace, the
nutritional needs of the dog and cat is our true north.
As we constantly innovate to meet pet health challenges
and changing needs in the marketplace for packaging
size, palatability options and delivery mechanisms, the
nutrition that goes into each bag and can is rooted in our
50 years of innovation and research. We will not create
any diet, regardless of current trends, that does not place
the pets' nutritional needs first."
The most effective diet, of course, will not work if a
dog or cat will not eat it. "Royal Canin takes pride in seeing the observable outcome in the pet's health as a result
of eating one of our formulas," Eckert adds. "If there is
a need for the pet, whether a therapeutic need or a very
unique difference for that dog or cat based on something
like breed, size or life stage, we want the owner to see
results in the pet's health, coat, skin and energy."
For Nulo, a Labrador retriever named Max plays a
key role. Landa explains. "I ask myself is this something
that I would feed to my dog, Max? More than simply eating their food, pets should love the experience of meal
time. What we put into their bowl once or twice a day
- every single day of their lives - has a major impact on
their quality of life, and their happiness. Providing a solution is our priority. A product must be able to make
the owner's and pet's lives better in some way. Whether
it's offering a resealable closure to make storage more
convenient, or putting an end to finicky behavior, both
pets and their owners embrace an effective product that
solves a problem."
Barbotin sums up Diana Pet Food's priority: "Pets always have the last word."

How pets buy in
Redbarn Pet Products, Long Beach, California, works
with partners to conduct two kinds of testing to determine if a formula is a winner with pets. "We run digestibility and palatability testing to first, see how our food
compares to other brands and second, to determine how


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