PET Food Processing - March 2018 - 55
Ensuring pet food delivers the nutrients promised to companion
animals is a complex puzzle for processors.
By Jennifer Semple | firstname.lastname@example.org
A complete and balanced pet food formulation is a tall order. Processors must consider a multitude of factors that
can ultimately make or break a pet food's ability to consistently deliver the desired nutrients. Ingredients, processing method, packaging, storage and animal biology all
must be understood and addressed.
Unlike most food produced for humans, diets for our
pets regardless of the form - dry kibble, wet diets, or
refrigerated chubs - must be "complete and balanced"
as defined by the Association of American Feed Control
Officials (AAFCO) nutrient profiles for canines and felines. "This simply means the diet must contain all of
the required protein, amino acids, fat, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals required by the pet for a healthy life,"
explains Eric K. Altom, Ph.D., technical nutritionist,
Balchem Animal Nutrition and Health, New Hampton,
New York. "When you combine all the ingredients together, some nutrients are stable, while others are very
fragile. Some ingredients and nutrients can enhance the
diet's palatability and other ingredients may negatively
impact product freshness and acceptance by the pet. So,
creating a proper recipe, from a formulation standpoint,
can be extremely challenging."
"There's much more to it than a blend of ingredients,"
says Jeff Alix, global marketing manager pet nutrition,
DSM Nutritional Products. "Vitamins, carotenoids and
other micronutrient ingredients come in many forms
which include various chemical structures, potencies,
formulations, and particles ranging in size, density,
shape and electrostatic charge. Formulation is dictated
by the target species, nutrient stability through processing and shelf life, optimum nutrient dispersion
throughout the finished product, which affects the critical nutrient activity per serving, and sometimes even the
physical attributes of the finished product."
A quality recipe and quality manufacturing are
paramount and require a collaborative relationship
between the pet food company, nutritionists with expertise in animal nutrition, process engineers and
suppliers. "As a nutritionist, I can select the best ingredients and create a wonderful recipe that I know is optimal. However, if the ingredients are not stored properly, if the ingredients are not blended properly and if
the finished diet isn't properly extruded, stabilized and
coated with fat and natural preservatives and packaged
correctly, you will not deliver the expected end-product," Altom explains. "Your team will need a talented
process engineer with the technical knowledge to deliver a premium finished product with limited batch
variation, controlled lot variation and reduced bag-tobag variation."
"Every pet food application is unique, facilities are different and the level of support required varies," says Jim
Mann, Nutrisurance global product manager, Kemin,
In a complete and
balanced diet, each
ingredient plays an
DSM | ©Elena Moiseeva
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www.petfoodprocessing.net | March 2018 | PET FOOD PROCESSING