Why fiber in pet foods is a continuing trend
Fiber is a common ingredient in pet food formulas with multiple usage possibilities.
Fiber sources can be found in nearly all pet foods, and are used for a variety of reasons, according to the industry. “Fiber is not considered an essential nutrient in your dog's diet, but it is present in almost every commercial dog food,” said Doctors Foster and Smith, a US-based direct-to-door pet supply company. “While dogs do not derive any energy from fiber, adding fiber to a diet improves colon health, helps with weight management, and helps with diarrhea, constipation and diabetes mellitus.”
Some of the most common sources of pet food fiber are rice hulls, corn and corn by-products, soybean hulls, beet pulp, bran, peanut hulls and pectin. Vegetable and fruit fibers, cellulose and beet pulp have come into play particularly with the rise of grain-free pet food formulas and the resulting need for alternative fiber sources, according to M-Fiber/Renew Biomass, which produces MFiber, a grain-free alternative fiber source for pet food.
Fiber’s place in pet food trends
Fiber sources can be seen as part of the larger trend of functional ingredients — that is, ingredients added to pet food to serve a specific functional purpose catering to consumer needs (such as a particular health or nutritional benefit). The issue of intestinal health is one such purpose. “The importance of regular intake of dietary fiber is now well recognized in human health,” said the Pet Food Industry Association of Australia (PFIAA), and so has gained traction in pet food. “Dietary fiber provides bulk and helps to regulate stool…