2014 has seen the merging, acquisition and selling of some major petfood players; a continued emphasis on humanization of pets; sleeker, simpler and sustainable packaging; and marketing campaigns that have pet parents buzzing on social media and in the pet store aisle.
Who should you trust for third-party laboratory services? What reliable testing products, devices and methods are available for petfood and treat makers looking for in-house capabilities? Here is our list of innovative testing systems and services available to the petfood industry.
Essential Foods expanded their petfood line just this year with the introduction of The Jaguar, the brand’s take on an 80% protein-based combined cat and kitten food. According to Christian Degner-Elsner, company founder and CEO, the cat food has been received very well, primarily by their dog-enthusiast fan base who also have cats in the household.
"When I looked at the category of petfood toppers, I found it to be absurdly lacking in healthfulness, logic and value,"? Clear Conscience Pet founder Anthony Bennie says. "But the concept of adding a healthy gravy to petfood for a reasonable cost had great appeal for me after selling millions of bags of petfoods and still hearing from a certain percentage of pet guardians that their animals were never really enthusiastic about food, or even worse, didn't eat well regularly at all."
From fish meal and fish oil to solar-dried seaweed, these are the novel ingredients caught fresh from the ocean and ready to be formulated into your next functional companion animal petfood or treat product.
“Wet food and foods with functional claims are also a very common, strong trend,” Eduardo Aron of Mogiana Pet explains. “There are also a lot of holistic and natural petfoods. The Brazilian petfood market is certainly still underdeveloped, but it’s already starting to mirror human food trends like in other more developed markets in the world.”
Protein has many functions in a companion animal’s body, but is best known for supplying amino acids to build hair, skin, nails, muscles, tendons, ligaments and cartilage. Protein also plays a primary role in hormone and enzyme production. The protein in petfoods can be supplied by animal sources, plant sources or a combination of the two.
Palatants entice a pet to consume a food, treat or supplement that, while nutritious, may be inconsistent with their native diet. Dry petfoods make more frequent use of palatants, and use palatants at higher inclusion rates than wet foods. Wet foods tend naturally to be more palatable due to processing techniques and higher moisture content. Palatants are often available as dry powders, liquids and gravies.
The key to growth for Chicken Soup for the Soul petfood? Closing the significant gap between the number of people who know and trust the Chicken Soup brand of books and media and the number of those people who know the same company has a superpremium petfood line. “We are reaching out directly to consumers and driving them to their local independent pet specialty stores to find our products,” explains CEO Chris Mitchell.
Petfood Industry's growing Top Petfood Companies Database shows the far-reaching grasp of pet humanization across the globe, as well as what markets remain under-served or untapped. Even markets like Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East are seeing less table scraps and more packaged petfoods in dog and cat’s bowls; while mature markets like Western Europe and the US are continuing to innovate and adapt to a demanding pet parent-influenced marketplace. While mature markets like the US and Western Europe still dominate the wet petfood category, rapid growers Brazil, Mexico and Japan are making significant gains in the dry petfood sector. Companies like Germany-based Vitakraft are streamlining operations, while Spain-based Affinity is expanding their reach to Brazil with mergers.