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.
Pet owners want a lot from their pet food brands. They want primary proteins that suit what they believe is best for their animal. They want grains or they don't. They want something customized, but it has to be easy to understand.
Constraints and crises, like those experienced in 2020, help drive innovation and sustainability offers context.