PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 15

PLANT PROFILE

By Jennifer Semple | jsemple@sosland.com

A

After 87 years, Muenster Milling, Muenster, Texas, is still
adapting to new market opportunities. The company
that began in 1932 has produced dry extruded pet foods
since 1989 and now processes freeze-dried pet foods and
treats. Fourth-generation owners and brothers Mitch
Felderhoff, president, and Chad Felderhoff, director of
operations, purchased the business from their father in
2013 and last fall added a new, 17,000-sq.-ft. freeze-dry
processing facility. Pet Food Processing visited Muenster
in May and toured the company's operations.
The addition of freeze-dried products fits with the
owners' pet nutrition philosophy as well as their focus
on growth. For the freeze-dried diets, Muenster is targeting as close to zero carbohydrates as possible, especially for the cat formulas. "We have our overall philosophy of what we think pets should eat and then we
work with a Ph.D. nutritionist," Mitch says. This philosophy took hold eight years ago when Mitch's family
cat quickly doubled its body weight while on a dry food
diet. After switching to an all-meat product, the cat lost
10 lbs. in 45 days and was a much healthier animal after
that, Mitch reports. That experience, plus the company's
proximity to ample meat suppliers in and around the
Dallas/Fort Worth area and the brothers' goals of building upon the legacy they inherited, prompted the decision to add freeze-drying capabilities.
Following in his great-grandfather's, his grandfather's
and his father's footsteps, Mitch joined the family business in 2007 focusing on sales, marketing and new business development; Chad joined him in 2013 after working for ConAgra Foods out of college and travelling the
country righting distressed facilities. Chad's primary focus is the day to day operations of the business.
The Muenster brands of natural pet foods include
Ancient Grains, Grain Free and Perfect Balance dry
dog foods and freeze-dried dog treats along with freezedried meal toppers and complete-and-balanced freezedried pet foods for both dogs and cats. The company

also produces the Milestone brand of horse food and
chicken food and co-manufactures private label brands
of both dry food and freeze-dried food and treats for
primarily regional customers in and around Texas.

Meat suppliers blend
and form products
to Muenster's specifications then blast
freeze the batches
before they are ready
Ahead of its time
Muenster first launched a freeze-dried pet food line in to be freeze-dried.
2012 with unexpected results. "We were a little bit too Photography by Michael J. Madsen
early to the market and it just wasn't well-received,"
Mitch explains. "The East Coast and West Coast were
ready for freeze-dried, but Texas wasn't so we shelved
that idea. When Chad and I purchased the company,
we agreed that one of our goals is to produce lower-carb
diets. We can only lower the carbohydrates so far in an
extruded food so we feel strongly that by incorporating
freeze-drying into our product lines we can make a better product for the animals."
According to Mitch, kibble has come about as far as it
can go. There is only so much fat - a maximum of around
20% - that can be added to a kibble and there is only so
much protein that a kibble formula can contain before
calcium becomes an issue. In freeze-dried diets that include low ash meats and high-fat products, the fats and
proteins can be increased without the calcium levels being
too high. "It really achieves what we want to do from a
diet standpoint," Mitch says, "and we feel like the markets
we serve are ready." The company designs the formulas
and works with a nutritionist with a doctoral degree to
make sure each diet accomplishes what it is designed to
do, is good for the animal and meets all of the regulations.

More of an art form

Led by Chad, the company spent a year learning enough
about freeze drying and the available suppliers to feel
confident in the decision to build a new facility and
purchase a customized system. The final decision came
down to flexibility. Although Mitch and Chad prefer not
to share the name of the supplier they selected, they say

www.petfoodprocessing.net | September 2019 | PET FOOD PROCESSING

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PET Food Processing - September 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PET Food Processing - September 2019

PET Food Processing - September 2019
CONTENTS
OFF THE LEASH - JOINT EFFORT
TRENDS - COMPLIANCE retooling
PLANT PROFILE - FREEZING IN TEXAS
FOOD SAFETY - Navigating FSMA inspections
REGULATORY - it's time
FEATURE EVENT - COLD KIBBLE
INGREDIENTS - BOOSTING the appeal
FORMULATION - THE PULSE ON PULSES
UNDERSTANDING DILATED CARDIOMYOPATHY
EQUIPMENT - CUTTING them down to size
EQUIPMENT - NO STRINGS ATTACHED
OPERATIONS - improved EFFICIENCIES
PACKAGING - ADEPT AT ADAPTING
BEST IN SHOW
PATENTS TO PONDER
EVENTS
SIT, STAY, READ
AD INDEX
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - PET Food Processing - September 2019
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - PET Food Processing - September 2019
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 2
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 3
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 4
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - CONTENTS
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - OFF THE LEASH - JOINT EFFORT
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 7
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 8
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - TRENDS - COMPLIANCE retooling
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 10
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 11
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 12
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 13
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - PLANT PROFILE - FREEZING IN TEXAS
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 15
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 16
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 17
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 18
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 19
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 20
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 21
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 22
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - FOOD SAFETY - Navigating FSMA inspections
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 24
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 25
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 26
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 27
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 28
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - REGULATORY - it's time
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 30
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 31
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - FEATURE EVENT - COLD KIBBLE
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 33
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - INGREDIENTS - BOOSTING the appeal
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 35
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 36
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 37
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 38
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 39
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 40
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - FORMULATION - THE PULSE ON PULSES
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 42
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 43
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - UNDERSTANDING DILATED CARDIOMYOPATHY
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 45
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 46
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - EQUIPMENT - CUTTING them down to size
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 48
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 49
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 50
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 51
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 52
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - EQUIPMENT - NO STRINGS ATTACHED
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 54
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 55
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 56
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - OPERATIONS - improved EFFICIENCIES
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 58
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 59
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 60
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - PACKAGING - ADEPT AT ADAPTING
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 62
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 63
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 64
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 65
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 66
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 67
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - BEST IN SHOW
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 69
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 70
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - PATENTS TO PONDER
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - EVENTS
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - SIT, STAY, READ
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - AD INDEX
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 75
PET Food Processing - September 2019 - 76
http://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2020_10_01
http://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2020_09_01
http://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2020_06_01
http://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2020_03_01
http://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2019_12_01
http://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2019_10_01
http://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2019_09_01
http://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2019_06_01
http://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2019_03_01
http://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2018_12_01
http://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2018_09_01
http://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2018_06_01
http://digital.petfoodprocessing.net/sosland/pfp/2018_03_01
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