2 things to know about the future of pet food extrusion

With pet food trends continuing to evolve, here’s what industry experts think is in the future of pet food extrusion.

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Today’s pet food extrusion solution providers must remain innovative, focused, flexible and realistic about current technologies. (D_BANK | iStock.com)
Today’s pet food extrusion solution providers must remain innovative, focused, flexible and realistic about current technologies. (D_BANK | iStock.com)

Between trends and technology, where is pet food extrusion headed? Petfood Industry asked the experts, and here’s what they said:

  1. Human food trends will continue to influence the pet food space, and those dealing in extrusion need to be ready.

“As consumer food trends change and the next superfoods emerge, they will no doubt influence the pet food market,” said Gilles Miller, vice president, sales and international with Clextral. “Other sustainable proteins will likely include insects, cultured meats and even more plant proteins.”

Many of these upcoming food trends will present unique challenges to pet food manufacturers.

“Pet food trends will continue to follow and, in some cases, keep abreast of human food trends,” said Galen Rokey, director, process technology, companion animal division for Wenger Mfg. “One of these trends is ‘back to the basics with simple, healthy and less processed foods.’ It is critical to develop extrusion cooking and drying systems which are gentler in nature and controlled by automated systems with an ‘Industrial Internet of Things’ approach, which demands quick reaction with processing parameters to maintain product quality and consistency.”

  1. Technologies will have to continue to advance, working off what’s currently available and innovating to the fullest extent possible.

Alternative protein sources are one thing those in extrusion have had to innovate on for some time now, and that is expected to continue.

“Additional future trends expected include the increased use of high-moisture texturized protein for pet food,” said Sharon Nowak, business development manager for Coperion K-Tron USA. “In order to achieve the requirements of high percentage vegetable proteins, such as those high-moisture texturized proteins used in wet and canned pet food products, innovations in cooling die technologies are required.”

Trends like “clean label” and “functional ingredients” will also continue to keep technology on its toes.

Regarding cleaner products (with claims such as meat first, natural and “free from”), “extrusion systems must be able to process higher levels of meat and to effectively and efficiently process recipes containing many ingredients that were not included in recipes in the past or cannot/will not be used in the future,” said Rokey. As for functional ingredients (including superfoods, probiotics and supplements, among other things), “many of these ingredients are heat and shear sensitive so the extrusion process must be able employ operating parameters that maintain the functionality of the ingredients.”

For the full companion article, "Flexibility, adaptability key in pet food extrusion,” published in the December 2018 issue of Petfood Industry magazine, see www.PetfoodIndustry.com/articles/7623.

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