Pet Food Processing - June 2018 - 17
for animals consuming these secondary products, much of it
would go to landfills," Swanson says. "This would be a burden
in terms of environmental footprint, cost and a few other potential issues."
Every year the North American rendering industry recycles about 60 billion lbs. of discarded animal material from
livestock, poultry and aquaculture farming and processing,
food processing, supermarkets and restaurant industries,
according to the National Renderers Association. From
that material, renderers produce approximately 11 billion
lbs. of fat and oil products and 10 billion lbs. of protein
products. When used for animal feed ingredients, this is
equivalent to corn and soybeans grown on 6.3 million acres
of U.S. cropland.
While today's consumers are trying to get a handle on
where their own food comes from, very few have the time or
energy to understand the nutritional needs and sourcing issues with feeding cats and dogs. Explaining the use and benefits of offal and the rendering process can be challenging.
"The types of processing that occur is probably even less understood," Swanson says. "The primary product and secondary
product discussion topic may be represented in many ways. I
like to relate it to meat-based products that most people are familiar with." She provides the example of meats obtained from
beef cattle and consumed by people. The range starts with filet
mignon, and other premium cuts, and ends with hot dogs and
beef casings and chitterlings. "Each product is unique in its origin, processing type, taste, cost, etc., but all are considered to be
acceptable foods in the U.S.," Swanson explains.
Many products shunned by Americans are nutritious ingredients that are highly palatable and digestible by pets. Pet
food marketers need to better communicate not only the sustainability but also the nutrition piece. "Seeing offal described
as a by-product of human food processing may give some
consumers the impression that organ meat is inferior, or that
it is a low-cost alternative to muscle meat," Durham says. "In
reality, key organs, such as heart, lung and liver, are more
costly than muscle meat. Brands that choose to include these
organs are doing so because it's the right thing for the pet, not
because it increases their bottom line."
Granger-Peet says, "Offal can be very good and received
well if presented honestly. Consumers are getting more savvy.
It's refreshing. It's not so much offal that is their concern in
their pet's food and treats, it is the misrepresentation of offal
as something else on a lot of packaging."
The K-9 Kraving brand is direct and upfront. Products carry names such as Green Tripe Cookies, Dried Beef Trachea
and Dried Duck Feet.
"It's very important that brands do not cast offal and other by-products in a bad light," Meeker concludes. "As more
people tune into the sustainability message and take a global
view of human needs, I'm optimistic that the reputation of
the term by-product can be rehabilitated."
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www.petfoodprocessing.net | June 2018 | PET FOOD PROCESSING 17