Pet owners are paying more attention than ever to what their pets eat, and as they increasingly focus on the individualized nutritional needs of their animals, traditional proteins such as chicken, beef, pork and lamb are no longer the only options on their radars. 

 
During the latest Petfood Forum and Petfood Innovation Workshop, held in Kansas City, Missouri, USA, novel proteins in pet food were a hot topic. According to David Sprinkle, research director at Packaged Facts, who opened the Petfood Innovation Workshop 2016 with his presentation, “Meat and novel protein trends in pet food,” pet channel sales for pet food meals including novel proteins increased across the board from 2014 to 2015.
 
If there was any doubt that the high-meat pet food trend had gone global, Interzoo 2016 quickly dispelled that uncertainty. Pet food companies from all over the world touted fresh meat, high meat levels, biologically appropriate raw food (BARF) and various other claims to describe this focus, along with its frequent companion, grain free.
 
Novel proteins should have an increasing role in pet food and treats, but using more novel protein ingredients will only be successful if the industry properly educates consumers, according to Mark Mendal, founder of consulting firm Pet Proteins, speaking at Petfood Forum 2016. Mendel said that novel proteins contain on average 50% fewer calories, 80% less fat and the same amount of protein as conventional proteins. Additionally, many pets suffer from food allergies, which Mendal said is typically due to an immune response to exposure to the same type of protein over time. Since pets have not currently been exposed to these novel proteins, like kangaroo or venison, for as long as they generally have for conventional proteins like chicken, diets with novel proteins have a lower risk of allergies, he said. Aside from the benefits to pets, using novel proteins in pet food also has benefits in terms of sustainability. Crickets, for example, produce 100 times less greenhouse gasses and use 2,000 times less water on a per-pound basis when compared to cows, he said.  
Asian carp
 
Cricket
 
Hemp
 
Kangaroo
 
Alligator
 
Ostrich
 
Bison
 
Boar
 
Chia
 
AlgaeAsian carp
 
Cricket
 
Hemp
 
Kangaroo
 
Alligator
 
Ostrich
 
Bison
 
Boar
 
Chia
 
Algae
  1. Asian carp

  2. Cricket

  3. Hemp

  4. Kangaroo

  5. Alligator

  6. Ostrich

  7. Bison

  8. Boar

  9. Chia

  10. Algae


Within the past few decades, pet food manufacturers’ options for providing protein in their products have grown dramatically. Just as people have come to embrace a wider variety of proteins on their plates, so too have pet owners started serving non-traditional meats and plants to their dogs and cats. Once unheard of ingredients, including kangaroo, hemp and insects have all found their way into pets’ dishes.

During the latest Petfood Forum and Petfood Innovation Workshop, held in Kansas City, Missouri, USA, novel proteins in pet food were a hot topic. According to David Sprinkle, research director at Packaged Facts, who opened the Petfood Innovation Workshop 2016 with his presentation, “Meat and novel protein trends in pet food,” pet channel sales for pet food meals including novel proteins increased across the board from 2014 to 2015.

If there was any doubt that the high-meat pet food trend had gone global, Interzoo 2016 quickly dispelled that uncertainty. Pet food companies from all over the world touted fresh meat, high meat levels, biologically appropriate raw food (BARF) and various other claims to describe this focus, along with its frequent companion, grain free.

Novel proteins should have an increasing role in pet food and treats, but using more novel protein ingredients will only be successful if the industry properly educates consumers, according to Mark Mendal, founder of consulting firm Pet Proteins, speaking at Petfood Forum 2016.