Trends are, in general terms, what mark the path of innovation and growth of companies. In our pet food industry, alternative fruits, vegetables and proteins are becoming increasingly popular.In this article we will tell you about the trends in new ingredients in Pet Food.

As we discussed in a previous article, the type of food that is chosen for a pet increasingly reflects the eating style that its owners practice on a daily basis; This is already an indisputable trend that is increasing constantly.

A spokesperson for the US Highbush Blueberry Council states: 'A few years ago there was very little fruit in pet products. Back then, the idea of fruits and vegetables in pet food for dogs and cats seemed unusual, yet intriguing to many in the industry. "


More fruits in the pet food formula

Fruits as an ingredient are a relatively new category within the content of pet food; have been added to the classic ingredients embodying the concept of health, since the nutrients and fiber of the fruit have been proven to increase the overall nutritional value and, in some cases, improve the taste, texture, color and control of humidity. In addition, these ingredients allow you to take advantage of inherent nutraceutical or phytonutrient qualities, especially fruits rich in antioxidants.

The fruits and components that are being used today are:

  • Pureed strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, since it`s rich in fiber, and both dogs and cats get the benefits of fiber.
  • The apple and its dried version, due to its high fiber value, as well as its water content that helps maintain moisture in moist foods.
  • Citrus fruits and their fiber: At the beginning of 2019, the citrus fiber used in the production of pet food had increased by 437%.

More vegetables among the components of pet food

Currently, vegetables are also being incorporated into pet food recipes, as they offer significant nutritional benefits. This change occurs essentially because there are certain nutrients that animals cannot obtain from ingredients that come from animals. Thus, accompanying the trend of choosing organic and little processed products, the market is replacing the adherence of synthetic vitamins and minerals with those that can be obtained from organic fruits and vegetables and natural supplements. Vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants can also help pets overcome and fight serious diseases, such as cancer.

The vegetables and their components that are being used the most today are:

• Dark green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli or kale, for their high content of calcium, potassium and magnesium.

• Carrot and celery.


Alternative plant proteins

Dogs and cats are considered carnivores, so meat is an essential component of their diet. Still, they don't always have to come from an animal. For some time now, the United States has been working on injecting animal muscle protein genes into microbes such as yeast, to then be fed and fermented. This results in proteins that are nutritionally identical to those from meat.

In parallel, pets that are allergic to conventional ingredients are pushing the development of exotic proteins to continue to appeal to pets' taste buds while improving their health.


What are the downsides of these changes?

Although it is true that, like people, animals need fruits and vegetables in their daily diet to have a balanced and nutritious diet, when it comes to replacing a percentage of meat products with more vegetables and fruits, a problem arises: The sustainability.

The Pet Food Industry is a fundamental part in sustainability and circular economy, mainly due to the use of meat by-products that are considered waste unfit for human consumption. Some manufacturers use animal by-products humans do not consume to produce pet food, since, despite being 'waste' for people, they are basic components full of nutrients.

For example, fat from poultry is commonly used in the pet food industry to add calories and flavor. The human consumption of these animals leaves internal organs, feathers and many other parts without consuming.

That said, we can affirm that yes, fruits and vegetables are essentially necessary in the pet diet, and their increase and incorporation are beneficial for the health and general well-being of domestic animals.

Even so, the great challenge for the industry will be to find a new destination or purpose for human meat food waste, or a way for it to coexist with the increase in plant ingredients in the pet food market.


It should be noted that companies in the industry have a responsibility, in a way, to educate consumers about the changes and improvements they make in their products and food. They can do it through their networks, their packaging, and by providing accurate information to local vendors and retailers, who are pretty close to the end consumer.

On the other hand, while pet owners increasingly prefer plant-based, organic and natural ingredients, the real reason is they really believe it will be in the best interest of their pets. Thus, the question that arises is: will it improve my pet's health? Will it have fewer digestive problems? Will it have more energy? Ultimately, the function of the food formula is what is truly important.

Either way, it's safe to say that plant-based ingredients are much more than just a trend, but rather a beneficial addition to the health and well-being of pets.

Are you already aware of these new additions to the industry?

Tell us, we are interested in knowing your point of view.

Source: All Pet Food


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