Infographic: 6 ancient grain pet food ingredients

Pet food professionals compared six ancient grains with traditional wheat at ADM’s Petfood R&D Showcase 2017 workshop station.

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Pet food professionals compared six ancient grains with each other and with traditional wheat as potential dog and cat food ingredients at ADM’s Petfood R&D Showcase 2017 workshop station.

Some ancient grains, like sorghum, had similar properties to standard wheat. Others, like chia, differed in ways that would strongly affect pet food formulation. ADM conducted their workshop station on October 12 in Manhattan, Kansas, USA.

Ancient grains, including sorghum, amaranth, quinoa, chickpeas, buckwheat and chia, may help pet food ingredient lists stand out, while mirroring human food trends. However, their use in pet food is still relatively rare. Only seven dry dog foods in the Dog and Cat Ingredient Center contained amaranth, for example.

While these ancient grains may offer health benefits, they can also pose challenges to pet food formulators due to their particular physical properties.

Properties of ancient grains as pet food ingredients

To help Showcase participants understand the properties of the grains, ADM staff prepared cookies from sorghum, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, chia and wheat. Participants could taste those cookies to compare flavors and textures of the grains.

The appearance of the cookies gave some idea how the ingredients might react in a pet food recipe for baked treats or extruded kibble. Chia cookies were wafer-like, for example, due to the high water holding capacity of the grain and the gelatinous mucilage it forms.

ADM measured stacks of the cookies to quantify the cookies’ thickness. A stack of four wheat flower cookies was 3.5 centimeters (cm) tall, buckwheat – 5 cm, amaranth – 5.9, sorghum – 5.7, chickpeas – 8.6 and chia – 2.1 cm.

Showcase participants also mixed measured quantities of water into the flours made from the grains to observe how the potential pet food ingredients absorbed moisture.

Sorghum as a functional dog food ingredient

Sorghum, an ancient grain domesticated in Africa, could provide a functional pet food ingredient from a sustainable resource. Sorghum mill feed, a co-product of sorghum processing, may have unexplained antioxidant properties that could boost the novel ingredient’s value to pet food formulators.

In an experiment, dogs had higher levels of antioxidant ability in their blood after eating diets of kibble made with sorghum mill feed compared to dogs on diets using wheat flour or whole sorghum. Sorghum mill feed also had higher levels of protein and beneficial fiber than unrefined sorghum. Greg Aldrich, PhD, pet food program coordinator at Kansas State University, presented these results during Petfood R&D Workshop 2017.

Petfood Forum 2018

To learn more about novel pet food ingredients, 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.

6 Ancient Grain Pet Food Ingredients Infographic v2


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