PET Food Processing - March 2018 - 52


Dogs enjoy many of
the same flavors as humans, including cheese
and peanut butter.
J&J Snack Food Corp.


American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), Champaign,
Illinois, provides guidance to ensure safety for the intended animal.
Also important to note, not all flavor systems will
work in all applications. Important considerations include processing, as well as if the product is dried, refrigerated or wet.
"We provide flavors based on their application," Trent
says. "For example, if an animal treat is baked, it requires
a heat-stable flavor system, similar to any other bakery
"Flavors are formulated to be shelf-stable, but storage conditions play a contributing factor to quality and
safety," she adds. "For example, it is recommended to
keep flavors in a cool and dry place, not in warm environments. Heat can cause flavors to lose potency, while
exposure to excessive moisture can result in microbial
growth. It is always best to store flavors in the recommended storage conditions to preserve shelf life."
For the most part, cats and dogs enjoy many of the
same flavors as humans. This includes meat, poultry,
cheese, seafood, and some fruit and vegetable flavors, according to Trent. Peanut butter is also a favorite with dogs.
Pets may even respond favorably to some herbs and
spices, some of which may exert health and wellness
benefits. Common additions include chamomile, fennel,
ginger and rosemary. Garlic and onion are no-no's.
Watson has created some innovative, flavorful prototypes. "The quintessential meal on the go for hikers and
bikers and active people is a nutrition bar, so we thought
that'd be a good place to start," Watson says. "We developed a bar that was portable, tasty and nutritious, but
also for dogs. It needs to be shelf-stable, so you can keep


them on hand for whenever the need arises."
Some of Watson's product development team believed it
would be appealing if the bar could be shared between dog
and man. "That is the ultimate in convenience after all; just
break it in half and enjoy," Watson says. "We formulated a
blend of nutrients that are essentials for both people and
dogs and would help in recovery after exercise. For the prototype bar, we chose ingredients like oats, blueberries and
peanut butter, so it would appeal to all palates."
For felines, Watson employed its edible films technology to develop flavorful snacks. "Our films are made
by creating a solution, which is cast in a thin layer on
a long, wide, stainless steel belt," Watson explains. "The
water in the solution is evaporated off as the belt passes
through drying chambers."
Watson's mini-meal bon bon-style snack for cats is edible
film formed into a little pouch that encases dry or chewy
cat foods. Each packet holds about a tablespoon of food.
"Now the owner has small, pre-measured pouches,
with the potential to eliminate overfeeding," Watson
says. "Obesity can be an issue for indoor cats; much
of the feline obesity problem is due to portion control.
Many people have a problem in gauging the correct
amount of food in a serving-size, tending to overestimate how large a portion should be, and thus overfeed."
This bon bon concept provides additional benefits, including interactive toss play. The film pouch also has to
be opened by the cat, which satisfies its natural instinct
to tear and shred.
"Flavored film encourages licking, which can help engage the cat for a longer period of time and slow down
those that tend to eat too quickly," Watson adds.
With many entrepreneurs competing in the pet food
space with high-end, artisan products, the big players
have jumped on the culinary pet food bandwagon. Mars
Petcare, Franklin, Tennessee, for example, introduced
the Crave brand in July 2017. The carefully crafted cat
and dog products are high-protein, meat-first, grain-free
recipes, like the diets of their wolf and wildcat ancestors.
They come in favorite flavors such as lamb with venison
and salmon with ocean fish.
St. Louis, Missouri-based Nestle Purina Petcare Co.
now offers Beneful brand Grain Free dry dog food
made with simple, wholesome ingredients, including
real farm-raised chicken as the number-one ingredient
and accents of blueberries, pumpkin and spinach. The
company also offers a line of treats including the Beneful
brand Break-N-Bites with real beef, barley and apples.
Although pet food products come in a variety of flavors, this tends to be more for the owner than the pet.
And, this cannot be discounted, as the product will never make it home for the pet to enjoy if it does not have
the gatekeeper's approval. PFP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PET Food Processing - March 2018