You’ve heard the adage, dog is man’s best friend. And, needless to say they’ve had quite a lovefest lately, hunkered down waiting out the global pandemic together. (That goes for kiddos and kitties, too!)
Several trends appear to be converging: people are spending more on pet products as expenses such as their commuting costs and vacationing have given way to virtual experiences. People are eating better too as they discover the simple pleasures of healthier, home-cooked meals. And that interest in food quality is impacting decisions about what goes in their furry friends’ mouths too.
As pet owners have more fully embraced their role as pet parents, the days of super-size bags of dry pet food with unpronounceable ingredient lists have practically vanished from the pet aisle and the pet bowl. Fido’s a rightful member of the family and now should eat like one too. That means simpler, fresher, more flavorful pet food. Without iffy filler – and without surprises like foreign objects.
A recent article in Food Engineering magazine notes this is an opportune time for pet food manufacturers to innovate just as people food providers are looking to incorporate more plant-based foods and healthier ingredients. It’s recommended to review production process – from where ingredients enter the process through every subsequent step to meet this heightened need and interest in better food for all of us. For processors truly embracing the trend, fresh concepts and new recipes incorporating a range of protein sources could very well mean new or expanded production lines.
It’s also prudent when striving to satisfy the pet food-savvy consumer to ensure that product quality and safety are high, so that Fido’s next meal has food and only food—free from potentially harmful metallic and nonmetallic foreign objects that could enter the process. As ingredient trends drive up costs, accurate weight control through inline checkweighing is also valuable so you’re not giving away valuable product and the package the consumer purchases contains every last bite.
Fortunately, you can turn to the same food inspection best practices followed when manufacturing food for the rest of the family’s dinner table.
It’s easy to bone up on the differences in technologies that can find foreign objects such as metal, stone, glass and bone in this recently updated and expanded white paper. The choices are easier when it comes to finding the right product inspection solutions for dry kibble-style pet food. Technologies for the growing number of SKUs for moist or frozen pet foods present challenges similar to those for people food as well. In those applications you need to be mindful of “product effect,” a phenomenon that can occur when the food has some conductive or magnetic properties that can fool a metal detector and cause a false rejection. Some of the newest metal detection technologies can help you overcome product effect along with environmental noise from the manufacturing plant.
Safer, better food quality for everyone in the family. Now that’s something to bark and meow about!