The pet food industry is evolving as a result of a shift in consumer demands, with pet owners paying more attention than ever to quality and ingredients. They are willing to pay more to ensure their pet’s good health and tend to remain loyal to the pet food brand that delivers a consistently high-quality product over time. If they find foreign material or cross contamination in their bag of kibble, they won’t always complain; they will switch to another brand and are very unlikely to come back. The cost in lost customers of a seemingly minor irregularity can be very high. This means that for pet food manufacturers consistency is crucial: to remain competitive in today’s market, they must ensure their product is clean, safe and exactly what it claims to be – every single time.

Foreign materials and cross contamination are key challenges for pet food manufacturers. Animal by-products used for pet food such as dry meat, bone meal and ground frozen meat are collected from slaughterhouses and can contain a wide variety of foreign materials. Similarly, biscuits residue, which is an ingredient for dry kibble, can contain plastic or cardboard from wrappers and boxes. All these need to be accurately and consistently removed. Cross contamination of product types, or Stock Keeping Units, can occur when dry kibble storage silos are not completely emptied before refilling. TOMRA can help manufacturers address these issues successfully with its optical sorting solutions specifically tailored for the pet food industry.

Lars Povlsen, TOMRA Food´s Sales Manager Pet Food stated: “We love our pets and we have become very demanding when it comes to the quality and product safety of the food we give them. We know that claims and product recalls in this industry are very often related to the presence of foreign objects or cross contamination. By tackling both issues, our optical sorting machines can help pet food manufacturers protect their brand and safeguard their business by giving their customers what they want: the assurance of high quality in a clean, safe product. What’s more, our sorters can handle with ease the high throughputs of the pet food processing industry and can run with total consistency 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This means enhancing quality without creating bottlenecks in the process. With our technology, manufacturers can really raise the bar on pet food quality.”