Fresh meat pet food consumer demands differ in US and EU

European and US dog and cat food companies may have different notions of what high meat inclusion means.

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image from Petfood Forum TV
image from Petfood Forum TV

A pet food industry executive observed that on both sides of the Atlantic, pet food manufacturers have been turning their attention to raw pet foods, reflecting dog and cat food demand trends. However, European and US raw dog and cat food buyers may have different notions of what high meat inclusion means, said Urs Wuest, director of product management at Buhler, in a video from Pet Food Forum 2017.

“If there are new trends coming into the industry, of course you feel it in the number of inquiries we get on the subject,” he said. “And fresh meat is of course a big issue at the moment. If you look at the pet shops there more and more projects with whole meat in the stores.”

Raw meat pet food definition

With raw pet food, formulators must first keep in mind what consumers and regulators consider meat.

“First of all, everybody's talking about meat or fresh meat.” Wuest said. “According to European regulations meat means skeletal tissue, not just innards, like lung, liver, heart and so on, but you should have real meat in the pet food. That’s number one.”

Yet, not all nations’ legislation meets these meat standards. So, considered globally, not all raw pet food companies follow European rules for true raw meat. Wuest said international differences in pet food consumer trends are influencing what buyers look for on raw pet food labels. For example in Europe, raw dog and cat food buyers look for different marketing claims on labels than in the US.

“The first question is ‘what is high meat?’” Wuest said. “Here in America high meat means 20 to 30 percent inclusion. And if we look in Europe, we have not just high meat but fresh meat which is basically a totally different story. Fresh meat means high moisture. It means food-grade meat. In general, high moisture inclusions are generally not easy to handle in the extrusion process.”

Petfood Forum 2018

To learn more about raw meat pet food, and much more, attend Petfood Forum 2018. Petfood Forum provides an opportunity for pet food professionals from around the world to network, exchange ideas and do business with one another and with the industry's leading pet food manufacturers and suppliers. Petfood Forum 2018 will take place at the Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City, Missouri, USA on April 23 -25, 2018.


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