Functional ingredient solutions for pet food formulations

Evolving pet food ingredient standards require evolved solutions among functional ingredient suppliers looking to help formulators succeed.

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Functional ingredient suppliers are providing more complex solutions to meet evolving formulation needs. | Courtesy Trigea
Functional ingredient suppliers are providing more complex solutions to meet evolving formulation needs. | Courtesy Trigea

There’s a lot to keep track of these days when it comes to pet food ingredients, particularly when it comes to fulfilling pet owners’ demands regarding what’s in their animals’ food. Here are a few ways functional ingredient suppliers are working to provide pet food manufacturers with what they need to meet those demands.

New, higher ingredient standards require stricter analysis

When new pet food ingredient regulations come into play, ingredient suppliers must be able to prove to their customers that the products they sell make the grade. For example, in November 2019, the Official Journal of the European Union published a new regulation from the European Food Safety Authority regarding the use of cassia gum (a stabilizer in retorted pet food products) as a feed additive in dog and cat foods. According to the updated guidelines, only purified semi-refined cassia gum that meets the specifications of cassia gum as a food additive does not have an adverse effect on animal health. Previously, feed-grade non-purified cassia gum was allowed.

“This was challenging for the industry, because many recipes had either to be reformulated or the new cassia quality had to be tested in many applications,” said Dr. Markus Veen, owner of Germany-based Focus Ingredients. What’s more, said Veen, standards are only expected to increase as pet food safety continues to gain attention from pet owners. So, Focus used its lab capabilities to create solutions by developing an analytical method for the determination of total anthraquinone content.

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Focus Ingredients relies on its research capabilities to ensure its ingredients remain compliant with the latest standards. | Courtesy Focus Ingredients

“We are able to fulfill the new specification for purified cassia gum and are able to improve the safety of pet food products,” said Veen. “With our accredited testing and application laboratory, we are able to help processors identify the right qualities and formulations and improve the cost in use for stabilizing systems.”

Sustainability desires lead to multifaceted ingredients

Renewability is one of the ways ingredient suppliers are rising to the occasion when it comes to answering questions about where their products fit in the evolving sustainability landscape. Trigea, the brand created from Crespel & Deiters Petfood & Feed’s pet food division, focuses on their strengths to meet sustainability challenges.

“Trigea's Trigovit products are based on the renewable, non-GMO raw material wheat,” said Heike Sander, head of marketing and communications for C&D. “They provide high-quality amino acids, unsaturated fats and fibers, highly digestible proteins, minerals, vitamins, and carbohydrates to ensure healthy feed as well as the vitality of pets. In addition to nutritional benefits, they are also functional in terms of production. The wheat-based ingredients enhance the texture, stability and nutritional profile of an end product. They help with swelling, solidifying, thickening and gelling, as well as binding.”

Norway-based Biomega, which has sustainability as one of its business cornerstones, also works within its strengths as a provider of salmon-based ingredients.

“Sustainability has the power to drive innovation, quality and efficiency in the industry,” said Marianne Warnaer, director of global sales at Biomega. “For many companies working towards sustainability goals in pet food manufacturing, they are using advancements in technology to help them work towards a more sustainable future. This requires major investment in supply chain processes. It means being able to source sustainable products from the outset and creating a manufacturing process that uses energy efficiently, with any excess reused in the local economy. In addition, manufacturers must collaborate with retailers to ensure the packaging can be recycled, reused or composted over time. The sustainability trend doesn’t just have staying power; it’s a way of life that we all must collectively adopt.”

Read the companion article, "Functional ingredients step in as pet owners demand more,” published in the October 2020 issue of Petfood Industry magazine.

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