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Pet food trends

Laura Elam, Product Technologist

Pets are big business: in the UK alone there are some 58 million, with an estimated 46% of households owning a pet.

In this video, Laura Elam discusses emerging pet food trends and the pet food product development support we offer to help clients supply safe, nutritious and palatable products for pets.

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In the UK the pet food industry is currently worth around three billion pounds. It is a highly competitive and diverse market with a wide range of different products aimed at different animals depending on their life stage, activity levels and size.

There are a number of emerging trends currently in pet food. One key trend is the humanisation of pet food products with pet food mirroring human food trends. An example of this is a shift towards healthier and nutritious food products, this is due to rising concern around obesity levels in animals, in particular cats and dogs, and there's also a shift to use more natural ingredients as is shown in the human food market currently. Another pet food trend that we currently see coming through is a shift towards premiumisation and high quality pet food products which is driven by consumers as they are now seeing pets as part of the family and are willing to pay more for their animals. Another emerging trend is a shift in packaging and food formats with the introduction of fresh, chilled and raw food products into the market and also a shift in packaging formats towards more single-serve options.

We get a number of projects around product development and reformulation, and then scaling these up in the pilot plant and manufacturing facilities available. We also get a number of projects from start to finish - so starting with the product development in the test kitchens and, once we have an established product, carrying out micro and chemical analysis and then sending the product to the sensory department for sensory analysis and in-home placement trials. We also get a number of processing inquiries and questions around retorting.

The nutritional requirements of an animal is very different to that of a human being and varies hugely depending on the live stage, activity levels and size of a breed of the animal. It is therefore critical that the formulation and ingredients used in the food product for the pet are correct and provide all the essential nutrients required especially when considering whether to produce a complementary or complete food product for the animal as the nutrients need to be provided to the animal in the correct quantities.

We can offer a wide range of testing to help support on pack claims for the product written in relation to health and nutrition claims and, we can also advise on ingredient suitability. We can also advise on any regulatory issues and help with product development and reformulations to help develop new products that are healthy and nutritious for the animal.