Switch pet food ingredients carefully, despite prices

As the saying goes, there are no free lunches. However, that doesn’t mean a pet food formulator can’t find a means to adjust a recipe according to what is available and affordable.

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(Andrea Gantz)
(Andrea Gantz)

Inflation, war, supply chain snags and other factors continue to increase the prices of pet food ingredients around the world. However, pet food producers must avoid the temptations of ingredient deals that seem too good to be true, Miguel Lopez, pet food consultant and organizer of Foro Mascotas, said during his presentation at the Latin American Pet Food Congress (Congreso de la Industria de Pet Food en America Latina, CIPAL), Sept. 29 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Following one’s instincts and intuitions can be the first and sometimes most effective safeguard, he said. That can be as simple as remembering that if it smells bad, it is bad.

“Safety comes first,” he said. “Only after that can you consider palatability, digestibility and everything else.”

Strategies for adjusting pet food formulations

Lessons of the past, such as the melamine recalls of 2007, show how important it is to remember that if you find something cheap, there’s a reason, he said. As the saying goes, there are no free lunches. However, that doesn’t mean a pet food formulator can’t find a means to adjust a recipe according to what is available and affordable.

“There’s a range with economy and standard pet foods to save money on ingredients, although the prices are rising,” Lopez said. “With prices rising, we could cut fat levels and adjust palatability otherwise, for example.”

With ingredient prices high, it becomes important to make formulations as close to required levels needed as possible and use materials efficiently. When substituting ingredients, pet food makers need to take the responsible path and choose ingredients that safely provide nutrition. Beyond animal health, some lower cost ingredients make lower quality pet food, which ends up costing more. Feathermeal, for example, is inexpensive and provides nutrients, but doesn’t form well into kibble.

Strategies for adjusting pet food formulations can help a company deal with current challenges without sacrificing quality or brand reputation.

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