News Hound

Tim Wall, senior reporter for Petfood Industry, explores interactions among culture, media, science and pet food. Wall presents his opinions on how animal behaviors, both human and pet, influence global dog, cat and other pet food markets.
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Insect-based pet foods not risk for zoonotic pandemic

A team of researchers at Ÿnsect has been working to assess potential risks from mealworm farming operations.

Approximately 60% of infections afflicting humans arose in animals, from rabies and the plague to other coronaviruses. Post-pandemic, pet food companies may look for ingredients with reduced zoonotic potential.


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Ancient dog diet Ω fatty acids: the eyes have it, guts too

Eyes and brains likely provided omega-3 fatty acids to dogs’ ancestors, but those organ tissues are not used in many byproduct pet food ingredients.
Eating what unfussy hunters and gathers eschewed, such as rodent eyes, may have provided sources of vital nutrients to dogs during domestication, including omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), along with omega-6 fatty acid alpha linolenic acid (ALA).
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High-protein cat food may reduce bird, wildlife predation

Compared to a control group, cats killed fewer wild animals in the groups that ate high-protein diets and that played with their owners. Those two groups of cats also brought down less prey than before the experiment began.
For those cat owners who let their felines roam the neighborhood, high-protein cat food may be one means to reduce predatory pressure on birds and other small wildlife.
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Coastal wolves, ancient clambakes and paleo dog food

Human food trends arose from people’s intentions to eat as our Paleolithic, or Stone Age, ancestors did, and these trends transferred to pet food.
For dogs, the paleo diet can mean meat and other items encountered around human camps during domestication. Although “discarded loincloth” will never become a dog food variety, other ancient flavors may remain to be revived as dog foods.
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Confusion over GMO corn in US pet food exports to Mexico

A decree ends importation of genetically modified corn to Mexico by 2024. However, exactly what this means for the pet food industry is uncertain. Meanwhile, landraces are losing ground to varieties developed outside corn’s Mexican homeland.
A decree ends genetically modified corn imports to Mexico by 2024. However, exactly what this means for the pet food industry is uncertain. Meanwhile, landraces are losing ground to varieties developed outside corn’s crib in Mexico.
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Pet owners describe selves and pets with same emotions

Pet owners generated lists of 39 emotional terms for dogs, ranging from happy to anxious, and 53 terms for cats’ emotions, including calm, happy, angry and fearful.
Scientists identified ranges of animal emotions and associated behaviors, as described by pet owners. Those same pet owners also noted their own emotions while interacting with their pets.
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Pet food exec sustainability idea differs from consumers

As sustainability claims have become a mainstream marketing message in pet food, the meaning of that message may have diverged among both pet owners and pet food professionals.
The multiplicity of sustainability problems makes containing them in single term difficult. For many pet owners the concept of sustainability may remain hazy, or they may think of the word in different terms pet food executives and marketers.
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Pet food pods could reduce single-serve packaging waste

Superpremium, single-serve packaging may trade sustainability for convenience. Encapsulated pet food in a dissolvable pod could replace single-serve packages and reduce waste.
Brightly printed, sturdy pet food packages may ensure freshness on par with human foods, but multiple layers of material often mean superpremium packaging must make a trade-off with sustainability.
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Circadian rhythm pet foods: untapped human trend?

Unlike most human food trends, the pet food industry doesn’t seem to have absorbed the circadian diet yet.
Pet owners now feed their pets the same foods morning and night, often day after day. Could specific formulations address pets’ daily metabolic changes while forging new ranges of time-specific dog, cat and other pet foods?
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