Two regional US distributors, Pet Food Experts and Rio Grande Service Center, now work with Inaba Foods, a Japan-based cat treat manufacturer, to bring Ciao grilled fillets and Ciao churu purées to US pet treat consumers.

Ciao is a brand of premium-wet dinners and treats. Inaba Foods, headquartered in Tokyo Japan, launched the Ciao brand in the U.S. earlier this year. In addition to availability in the southwest, independent retailers in the mid-and-northwest and northeastern parts of the country will now be able to order Inaba Ciao cat treats.

Ciao grilled fillets and churu purées include green tea extract to offer antioxidant benefits. Antioxidants are functional ingredients that can also help pet food formulations.

Antioxidant trends in pet food

Antioxidants serve vital functions in pet food formulation. They can enhance health benefits in formulas in the forms of various vitamins, and they provide stability and extended shelf life to the finished pet food product. How antioxidants accomplish these functions is well established; however, current trends in the pet food industry have shifted and re-molded what pet food formulators are looking for when they ask suppliers for antioxidants.

Market grows for functional ingredients

As pet food becomes increasingly specialized, with manufacturers catering to consumers’ desires to meet the individual needs of their pets, functional ingredients are becoming more of a trend than ever.

High omega-3 pet food formulas, for example, are purchased by 14 percent of dog owners and 10 percent of cat owners in the US, according to a March 2016 Packaged Facts report, Pet food in the US. Roughly 11 percent of dog owners and 8 percent of cat owners purchase foods with high antioxidant claims, while 7 percent of dog owners and 6 percent of cat owners look for foods with probiotics/prebiotics.