Pet Food Ingredients
on October 24, 2008

Broth: connecting food with feelings

It's the finishing touch that can meet both owner and pet needs.

Mention chicken broth or beef stock, and the mind conjures up comforting thoughts of crisp autumn days, warm woolen jackets, family gatherings and savory aromas wafting from mother's kitchen as meaty bones or giblets stew in the stock pot. This visceral connection is our mental GPS to memories when the senses are flooded to the brim and overflowing with feelings of vitality and belonging.

These feelings are so linked to our primitive nature that they are a part of our literary lexicon as we "take stock" of our blessings, read about "chicken soup for the soul" and sip broth soups to fend away the common cold (Ohry and Tsafrir, 1999). With such a strong emotional connection, it's no wonder that prepared foods commonly feature broth as a prominent ingredient. And it's no surprise that some petfood manufacturers, understanding this connection, are using broth in producing foods for dogs and cats.

No measurable impact

While it has all these wonderful attributes, let's be clear that broth's place in petfood is virtually the same as that for human foods. It's more of an emotional connection for the purchaser than a nutritional or taste driver for the pet.

In petfood, the most common application has been in canned foods in lieu of the "water sufficient for processing" or in specialty gravies and sauces. Despite conventional wisdom, in these formats broth doesn't impart a measurable impact to the overall palatability.

Further, it has only minimal, if any, impact on the aroma of most petfoods…

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