Soft Kibbles in Pet Food: A step forward in the trend towards humanization
Soft kibbles combine the benefits of wet foods with the ease, availability and practicality of dry foods.
Many pets prefer wet food over dry food because they have textures similar to meat and are easy to eat or chew. On the other hand, they can be more complicated to offer, they are usually less available in the market and are almost always more expensive. Some owners may not like them because they generate some mess during the intake. Soft kibbles combine the benefits of wet foods with the ease, availability and practicality of dry foods.
Soft or semi-moist kibbles refer to dry kibbles with a soft, elastic texture and a higher percentage of moisture compared to traditional dry pet foods. They´re an intermediate between dry and wet pet food or sauce. In the market you can find pet foods with only soft kibbles or in combination with dry foods. Every day there are more and more manufacturers that incorporate this type of innovation in their formulas, since many pets prefer them and we can produce them on the same production line as dry pet food.
For the manufacturing of soft kibbles, it´s necessary to incorporate additives that provide plasticity, moisturizing properties, emulsifying, texturizing and palatant agents. The elaboration process includes variables whose purpose is to achieve high gelatinization and expansion of starches, moisture retention (15-17%) and care for the integrity of the kibble itsef. The success lies in great extend on the managment to keep the soft kibbles stable over time, even if they are mixed with dry food.
The final product achieves higher moisture at a low Aw (0.65) thanks to the inclusion of moisturizing ingredients. These help keep this value low, helping to keep pet food free of microbial growth and with a long shelf life. By achieving a stable increase of moisture within the Kibbles, it´s possible to recover row material, which will be reflected in economic terms at the end of the day.
Palatability and acceptability are markedly increased in dry pet foods that include a percentage of soft kibbles. As we can see in Table 1, the intake ratio is consistently higher in a food with 15% soft kibbles, compared to a food without inclusion. Both textures, soft and crispy, and meat flavors are synergistically combined, generating greater attraction to the food. For this test, the kibbles were produced using the formula proposed by Callizo Aromas and incorporating the Zoasoft additive.
The production of soft kibbles also requires paying special attention to the selection of the ingredients included in the formula, and to the conditioning and extrusion process. These are going to be key to the successfull production of this type of pet food. Drying, mixing and packaging are variables that must also be managed to ensure the product keeps its properties.
With the inclusion of soft kibbles in the mix, it´s possible to overcome a barrier towards humanization, which constitutes a very important innovative marketing tool. Undoubtedly it has become in an instrument of marketing, differentiation, relaunch and positioning of the brand.
Written by Callizo Aromas
Source: All Pet Food