The pet food industry instilled the idea that only dry extruded pet food had all the nutrients and the rest of pet food sources were not correct. Research has come a long way, and today industries can already produce foods with a high inclusion of protein sources and nutrients. Research has gone further, and even medicated foods have been manufactured with the aim of  alleviate bone wear, heart problems, obesity and urinary problems in our beloved pets.

It turns out that, in recent years, it has been proven that all this is not exactly true. There are foods that dogs and cats can´t really eat due to the toxicological conditions that these type of pet foods can cause to them. 

But in general, it´s possible to balance a diet for dogs and cats using the same foods we eat and even giving a touch of refinement to the formulas. In some of them you can use mushrooms, pumpkins, seeds such as flaxseed and yeast for better digestion. Oils with excellent sources of fatty acids are also used, which help fight diseases and regenerate cells in the body, preventing heart disease, among others. The most used are coconut oil, linseed oil, extra virgin olive oil, as well as the  tastiest and cheapest... lard.

Other ingredients can also be used, such as whole grains, meats, vegetables and legumes, turning the animal's food into an explosion of flavours, nutrients and, of course, providing satiety.

The process of this mixture of ingredients is done as we do it at home. Ingredients are properly mixed and packed, the packages are placed inside an autoclave (equipment that resembles a pressure cooker), which will cook the ingredients for a certain period of time. The cooking time will depend on the formulation and the temperature varies between 100 and 110ºC.

The distribution of these products has been a challenge for the companies committed to this new market niche, since it´s a food with high percentage of moisture. Logistics are required, in addition to packaging that ensures the product has a shelf life and expiration date as long as that of its main dry pet food competitors.

Another point to take into account are the oxidative sources, light and oxygen, which can reach these foods and reduce shelf life.Some companies make the presentation of these products in vacuum transparent plastic containers, but later, they are placed in a cardboard container, to protect them from light.

Companies offering canned products have less risk; however, the investment is greater in this type of packaging. Canned goods are assured the product will have the validity shown on the label, unless the packaging suffers any damage.This market niche is going down an uncertain path, because in less than 2 years there has been an explosion of brands that offer products with different formulations.
They are products with good prices in the market, but since the market is so competitive, few companies will remain on top. The rest of the companies will compete to guarantee their products on the shelves

The best way to work with this product is to enter a market niche that encourages people to feed their pets a natural diet, free of GMOs and colorants.

Examples of this are pet parents who are concerned about the health of those pets that suffer from food allergy problems or need to lose weight, vegan parents who want to incorporate their pets into eating habits or a different lifestyle such as a vegetarian diet. In these cases, products such as milk, eggs, meat meal or even pieces of meat will be excluded from the diet, which will be replaced by vegetable ingredients, enriched with omega 3 and 6 vegetables, supplemented with essential vitamins and amino acids such as Vitamin A, L-Carnitine and L-Taurine in the case of cats.

    The market is very encouraging for the development of new products, technologies and flavours. We need to take advantage of the technologies that are within our reach, to make life easier for parents and thus prolong the life of their pets. Today it´s possible to offer a healthy and nutrient-rich diet to our pets, either in the form of dry or natural food. The important thing is to be updated on the news and opportunities offered by the market.

The lesson we take from all this is that our parents, grandparents or even ourselves, in the past we did well to share our food with our pets. It´s likely we didn´t give them a balanced diet, but we weren´t contributing to their illness, since there was almost always meat, cereals and sometimes some vegetables within the food we offered to them.

by Rafael Resende Silva - R2S Consultoria  

Source: All Pet Food

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