Why the freeze-dried pet food market continues to grow
Freeze-dried pet food is making an industry mark with technology, safety and product development opportunities.
Freeze-dried pet food, a segment of the growing superpremium pet food market, caters to the consumer looking for high-end, customized options for their dog or cat. An increasing trend over the last few years, freeze-dried food has the benefits of technology, nutrition and convenience on its side as it increasingly takes up space on pet store shelves.
The freeze-drying process — industry opportunities
The actual process of freeze-drying pet food is fairly straightforward. “The simplified version of [the process] is to first receive in frozen cuts of meat,” said Justin Stadden, senior business unit manager of The Scoular Company. “The meat is tempered to allow it to be diced or shaped to the desired form, then it’s put into the blast freezer for a deep freeze. After that, it’s rolled into the freeze-drying chambers, where it stays for about 12 hours. Finally, the trays are rolled out and packaged (see Figure 1).”
FIGURE 1: The process for freeze-drying pet food is fairly straightforward, according to the industry, but it does involve several precise steps.
For all its simplicity, the technology, which is steadily gaining ground in the industry, is giving pet food producers some interesting avenues for different products as consumer demands become more complex. “Freeze-dry, as we all know, is only one of the several preservation technologies that have been out in the world of food preservation technology,” said John Milne, strategic leadership with Canature Processing Ltd., which has partnered with Scoular (Scoular is the manufacturing representative…