Dog and cat food palatants can now be created from plants, opening new formulation options and a buffer against potential problems with animal protein sanitary issues, said Aurelie de Ratuld, Ph.D., cat platform research manager for Diana Pet Food in a video (below) from Petfood Forum 2018. Non-meat palatants also provide tools for formulating pet foods using novel proteins.

"Palatants historically have been produced with byproducts from the livestock industry and are very efficient,” she said. “With the growing populations of humans and also their pets, then we have to think about finding other sources to produce the palatants from. Plants, algae or insects may be particularly relevant in order to have enough resources to produce palatants.

Diana Pet Foods can now deliver non-meat palatants at superpremium level, she said. While they have plant-based palatants available worldwide, the company’s researchers have investigated other proteins like insects and algae, but the sourcing is not always completely ready today. However, they have developed the proof of concept.

Creation of non-meat palatants for pet food

"Surprisingly we were able to produce non-meat based palatants for cats,” she said.

To create plant-based palatants that appealed to obligatorily carnivorous cats, Diana Pet Foods’ chemists used certain compounds from plants that could serve as precursors for molecules that stimulate cats’ senses of smell and taste. With this olfactory alchemy, chemists transform the raw materials into palatants that can be suitable for cats.

A key point is that the process is a key element of this equation, not only the raw materials, but how we transform them, she said. It’s also important to remember that what is suitable for dogs may not be for cats and vice versa.

Other benefits of non-meat palatants in pet food

The modern pet food industry involves global markets and international regulations. Due to potential sanitary issues, the pet food industry might face hurdles to importing some meat based palatants, she said. A plant-based palatants might have fewer issues with cross-border commerce rules and protective measures.

Even when there are no concerns over meat products’ safety, pet food marketers may wish to state that only certain animals are used to make a specific pet food, or that no animals are used in the case of vegetarian products.

“More and more they have different claims around exotic proteins, so if we want to produce exactly the same palatants from ostrich or gator or whatever new meat origin, then it will be more and more complex. With non-meat based palatants you don't have to copy and paste the same claim and then it will give some more flexibility to the pet food industry.”

Petfood Forum videos offer pet food experts’ insights

Pet food experts shared their latest research, data and insights on pet nutrition, the pet food market, ingredients, safety, processing and consumer behavior during Petfood Forum 2018. Exclusive videos of select sessions are available for purchase and download.

The videos cover sessions on reaching connected pet food consumers, with Larine Urbina, vice president of communications, U.S. & Canada, for Tetra Pak; how high pressure processing supports clean label trends in raw pet foods, with Mark A. Duffy, CEO of Universal Pure, and Aaron Grimm, COO of Nature’s Variety; effect of carbohydrates on health and glycemic index in dogs, with Alexandra Rankovic, BScH, MSc candidate, at Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph; and the evolution and future of the grain-free ingredients market; with Isaac Matthews, director, pet food ingredients division, for Lansing Trade Group.

The videos can be purchased individually or as a package of four at www.PetfoodIndustry.com/Petfood-Forum-2018-videos. After purchasing a video, you will receive a confirmation email receipt with a link for future access to the video; be sure to save that email.