In 2022 Profeco, the Mexican agency for consumer protection, performed a quality analysis of dry commercial cat foods, evaluating 33 brands.
The report included a review of the local legislation for cat food manufacturing, including three official standards to which producers must comply. Two regulate and specify fundamental elements of animal and pet food, while the other standard regulates packaging.
In addition, Profeco explained the sanitary permit producers must obtain to produce and sell cat food in Mexico. This permission is called “product authorization for animal consumption.” Without such authorization, no one can sell pet food products. The permit seeks to ensure pet food products do not represent a risk to animal health.
Because there are no international regulatory agencies for pet food production, the Profeco report said, the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has become a global guide for Mexican producers to adhere to definitions and guidelines issued by AAFCO. According to the Profeco analysis, all the brands evaluated comply with AAFCO cat food nutritional recommendations.
In addition, a few of the 33 cat food brands analyzed contain a relatively high percentage of fiber that helps eliminate excessive furballs in cats. The range of fiber content in the product samples lies between 1.1% and 9.9%.
Profeco also found a range between 5.3% and 11.8% of ash content in the sampled products. Even though minerals are in ash, a higher ash content may imply lower ingredient quality, the agency said.
Another criticism of Profeco for a few cat food brands was false packaging claims showing chunks of real chicken, fish or beef meat, while the products contain only meat meals. The Profeco report said such images confuse cat owners into thinking they are feeding their pets real meat.
Even though all the products assessed showed adherence to quality standards, Profeco recommended a veterinarian’s opinion before buying a cat food product.
Such a recommendation is of utmost importance, as it brings veterinarians closer to cat owners and the pet food industry. Compared with dogs, veterinary consultation in Mexico for cats is negligible. As more cat owners increase their visits to veterinarians, pet food producers have increased chances to demonstrate the benefits of complete and balanced cat food to the owners.
Iván Franco is the founder of Triplethree International and has collaborated on hundreds of research projects for several consumer goods industries. He was granted the Global Consultant of the Year award by Euromonitor International and authored the book 17 Market Strategies for Growth (in Spanish).
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