Many of us want to show our pets we love them, or at least like them. We want to strengthen our emotional bond with them. Many of us regard our dogs and cats as family members, almost equivalent to children. One result: We're now more concerned with feeding them the best food we can find. The petfood industry has answered the call. We've gone from basic petfoods to premium to superpremium, and now to ultrapremium petfoods.
Skepticism and anger
Just what are ultrapremium petfoods? The answer depends on who you ask. Ed Mareth of 3D Corporate Solutions shared his views at a recent Petfood Forum, and was greeted with skepticism and some anger. Following are excerpts from his presentation.
Mareth believes that ultrapremium petfoods are petfoods made with 100% ultrapremium ingredients. He defines ultrapremium ingredients as:
One example he used to explain why he thinks ultrapremium products are better is that there is a much lower risk of problems with oxidized fat. Documented problems associated with oxidized fats in animal feed include:
Another example: The risk of mycotoxin poisoning is greater when grains that are not human-grade quality are used.
Embrace ultrapremium standards?
Why should our industry embrace ultrapremium standards? Because, Mareth contends, there are monumental changes coming to the way the food chain is regulated. In particular, the animal food industry. Look at Europe. In addition, there are, for all practical purposes, no "quality standards for today's ingredients," product definitions yes, quality standards no. He also predicts that it is only a matter of time before the world and the media take an interest in what is entering the grocery store, home and cupboard as a result of loose interpretation of product standards in the petfood industry.
He challenged the audience to ask themselves these questions:
Like it or not
Ultrapremium ingredients today are "human quality." You may not like it, but the only way to guarantee safe, consistent and quality ingredients is to buy "human-quality" raw materials.
So there you have it: Excerpts from a presentation that moved Mareth's audience to ask tough questions and make a few angry statements.
Yes, we've gone from basic petfoods to ultrapremium petfoods. Next, we may see "better than human-grade ingredients" and "people are not good enough for this food" petfoods.
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