3 vital elements for successful pet food sensory analysis

Pet food sensory analysis can give clues about which products will please both pets and their owners.

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(Cozy Nook | Bigstock.com)
(Cozy Nook | Bigstock.com)

Pet food sensory analysis can give clues about which products will please both pets and their owners. Sensory analysis involves examining all the elements that contribute to the taste, appearance, texture and aroma of pet food, said Greg Aldrich, PhD, Kansas State University pet food program coordinator, during Petfood Innovation Workshop 2017. Successful sensory analysis incorporates three essentials, he said. Learn more about sensory analysis from Aldrich in the video below.

The 2018 edition of Petfood Innovation Workshop will break down the process that a business experiences during new product development with an emphasis on the stages of innovation. This hands-on pet food workshop will take place on April 23, 2018 at Kansas State University in Olathe, Kansas, USA, the day prior to the commencement of Petfood Forum 2018. Get a sneak peek in the schedule posted below.

“There's a huge amount that goes into that,” he said “It's the difference between success and failure

Three elements come into play in pet food sensory analysis, said Aldrich.

  1. Pet owner - The consumer that's buying the food
  2. Pets - The animal that's eating the food
  3. Food – The physical characteristics of the dog and cat food itself

“We've got this Triad, this three-legged stool and they all interact with each other,” he said. “The pet may like it but if the owner doesn't, if it really stinks up the kitchen it's a failure off the bat.”

“On the other hand if the consumer, the pet owner, likes it and the pet doesn't, we've got a failure,” Aldrich said. “So we've got to make sure the food, all the contents in the package and the package itself, meet the requirements and the desires of the animal and that the pet parent likes it as well.”

Last year’s Petfood Innovation Workshop focused on sensory analysis, palatability and consumer’s reactions to both pets and their foods.

Petfood Innovation Workshop schedule

This year, Petfood Innovation Workshop will begin with an update of market trends and data in pet food new product development and an overview of the journey and all the various paths one can take. Then we will take a short trip to Kansas State University-Olathe to work through a series of engaging exercises and hands-on experiences to describe and resolve challenges in the new product process.

Sponsors’ stations will provide guidance on:

  • Selection of ingredients for functionality, claims and nutrition impact.
  • Processing and equipment to convert these ingredients into world-class products, shapes, textures and other beneficial formats.
  • Flavor systems to bring out the best in the pet and acceptance by the pet owner.
  • Preservatives and packaging systems to support in-store presence of products, retention of nutrition and aroma properties and visual appeal.
  • Novel approaches to managing the process with time and cost benchmarks.
  • Communication with customers, services to manage problem solving and methods to support launch and repeat purchase.

The day will be filled with next-generation ideas, experiences and concepts. Participants will have many opportunities to network with sponsors and other pet food professionals. All in all, Petfood Innovation Workshop provides a chance to see inside the trade and experience a fun, stress-free environment learning about the competitive edge of new product development in the pet food industry. 

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