Several trends have emerged in the highly competitive market of pet food manufacturing – an industry that has seen rapid growth as specialty retail stores, boutique shops and demands for products beyond food and treats have emerged. Some of the most popular new trends and ideas in the pet food industry are:
- Raw Food Diets
Typically comprised of organ meats, muscle meat, whole or ground bone, raw eggs, dog-safe fresh fruits and vegetables, and a dairy product such as yogurt.
- Fresh Food Diets
Food is made with natural, real ingredients, such as beef, chicken, lamb, peas, spinach, carrots, and blueberries.
- Insect based proteins
As an alternative to other meat sources, insect protein is a complete animal protein with all nine essential amino acids. Insect protein also scores highly for digestibility and has several additional benefits like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
- Plant-based proteins
The use of plant-based proteins offers pet owners the opportunity to have their pet’s lifestyle mimic their own by using environmentally sustainable protein sources like quinoa, duckweed, sunflower seeds, green leaves and microalgae.
Pet Supplements and Meal Toppers
Deserving of its own category – pet health supplements and meal toppers, with claims of benefits that mirror those seen in humans, are growing in popularity. Just as functional nutrition has gained popularity amongst humans, pet nutritional supplements aimed beyond exiting joint and mobility products are taking center stage. Supplements aimed at improving digestive health, immunity, anxiety or stress are in high demand. Innovative products that target hair, skin or nails are also driving up sales volumes.
The pet supplement sector is utilizing branded ingredients that people can recognize from human targeted food and beverage. Novel ingredients like cannabidiol (CBD), hemp oil, krill oil and silver appeal to pet owners because they are familiar. Additionally, packaging products in familiar forms such as nutrition bars and meal toppers are making pet supplements fun.
Pet Food Analysis
Guaranteed analysis is the gold standard of pet food analysis and will provide you with an AAFCO food nutrient profile for your product. The nutrient profile can also be used towards the creation of your AAFCO compliant nutritional adequacy statement. However, there may be additional testing needed for some of the specific trends above.
Pet food contamination can occur during the manufacturing process, storage, or even preparation. RL Food Testing can provide a full range of microbiological testing for pathogens including aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, yeasts and molds, and mycobacteria. Some of the commonly known pathogens that can be present in pet food products include Salmonella, E. coli, and Campylobacter. Specific microbiological testing may be recommended based on the type of pet food product you well.
- Raw pet products– all raw pet food products should undergo microbiological testing. Other pathogens that may contaminate raw products include Toxoplasma gondii (the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis), Cryptosporidium, Echinococcus, Clostridium, Neospora and Sarcocystis.
- Wet pet products- Fresh food diets are often packaged and sold as wet products. In addition to the common biological hazards above, wet foods are at an increased risk for Listeria monocytogenes. Listeria is one of the commonly isolated foodborne pathogens which cause illness.
- Dry pet products– while dry products carry the least risk of contamination, there are still several microbiological concerns including Enterobacteriaceae, Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium perfringens, Clostridium botulinum, Aeromonas, and Campylobacter. Dry products should also be monitored for mycotoxin-producing molds and harmful yeasts.
Does your pet food product or supplement have a health benefit or claim? If so, you will need verification and documentation that your claim is true. We provide quality analytical services for dietary supplements and functional foods. There are several laboratory tests that can help verify the actual contents of your product including ruminant-specific testing.
RL Food Testing offers a complete collection of laboratory testing for pet food analysis that can be tailored to fit your specific product and needs. Call us to discuss your unique needs – (877) 753-6631.
The Future of Pet Products
As “pet parents” take over more of the global market, manufactures can expect trends in pet food products to continue to mimic human food trends.