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Exciting Innovations Push Dry Pet Food Market Forward


October 8, 2018

Restaurants continually change their menus, adding new dishes or revising popular favorites to keep customer loyalty and attract new patrons.

Pet food manufacturers mimic this trend by changing recipes and adding more specialized formulas to their brands to keep pet owners happy with their choices as well as attracting new customers seeking ideal life stage recipes and looking to solve issues such as sensitive tummies and obesity.

“Many cats experience common health ailments like digestive sensitivity  and prevalence of hairballs or require a weight management formula,” said Jilliann Smith, director of communications for Merrick Pet Care. “Consequently, we are expanding our popular Purrfect Bistro line with our new Complete Care lineup of cat food to provide pet parents with health-focused benefits like stomach sensitivity, hairball control and weight control to address these specific health concerns in a natural way.”

According to Kevin Wise, director of research and development for Merrick Pet Care, the company developed the new weight management recipe by evaluating their main Purrfect Bistro line of recipes featuring chicken, duck and salmon as the first ingredient proteins.

“For this new recipe, we reduced the fat content by 10 percent and changed the feeding instructions to reduce the calories by 20 percent when compared to the other Purrfect Bistro recipes,” he said.

The recipes for sensitive stomachs and weight management are already on shelves. The hairball formula, which contains three natural fibers to control this issue, is now set to debut in early 2019.

Wellness has also expanded its line of balanced dry recipes for cats to include a new recipe specifically for indoor cats called Wellness Complete Health Grain Free Indoor Healthy Weight. This chicken and turkey meal recipe contains fiber and L-Carnitine to assist in weight control as well as glucosamine and chondroitin to help maintain healthy hips and joints in cats that may be carrying extra weight.

“This new recipe is 420 kcal per cup and has approximately eight percent less kcal per cup than our Complete Health Chicken recipe,” explained Chanda Leary-Coutu, senior brand manager for the company. “For cats with sensitivities to poultry, we’ve introduced Wellness CORE Indoor Ocean, a salmon and her ring meal recipe that supports lean muscle mass. Its popularity is a testament to how important variety has become to today’s pet parent as they seek out recipes suited for their pet’s unique needs. While some cats are sensitive to poultry, others simply prefer the taste of other protein sources. And this Wellness CORE Indoor Ocean recipe caters to both of those groups of cats.”

The new Wellness CORE RawRev for cats pays homage to a feline’s ancestral raw meat diet and is a great alternative to a completely raw diet as it consists of a nutritionally-balanced, high-protein, grain-free kibble combined with 100 percent pure, freeze-dried raw turkey. These raw pieces offer a tasty boost of additional protein, providing enzymes and minerals in their most natural state. Both the CORE RawRev Original and Indoor recipes contain bites of freeze-dried turkey.

The Tiki Cat Born Carnivore product line is a dry food that’s baked.

“Baking, just like you would bake in an oven at home, allows us to deliver an end product that we believe is significantly better for the pet,” explained Ellen Cox, brand manager for Tiki Pets. “We are able to preserve the high quality of the ingredients, include more fresh meat and produce and make a product that is more palatable with its toasted flavor.

“Our most popular recipe is our Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Chicken Luau, which has over 42 percent protein from fresh meat but a close second is the Fish Luau,” Cox added. “And we recently just launched a Born Carnivore for Kittens and a Born Carnivore Light that we are excited to deliver to the market place.”

Tiki Cat Born Carnivore for Kittens is high in protein from real chicken combined with highly digestible egg and nutrient-packed chicken liver for palatability. This grain-free chicken and egg luau flavor includes Omega-6 and Omega-3 essential fatty acids from salmon oil and flaxseeds, as well as pumpkin to help support healthy digestion. There’s also DHA and folic acid in the formula for healthy brain and eye development.

With regard to kittens, Castor & Pollux has expanded its ORGANIX line with the introduction of new USDA Certified Organic kitten recipes. The dry recipe, ORGANIX Grain Free Organic Kitten Recipe features organic, free-range chicken as the first ingredient, accompanied by organic sweet potatoes and organic peas and a blend of powerful superfoods, such as organic flaxseed, organic cranberries and organic coconut oil for added nutrition. Additionally, the new recipes for kittens are formulated with DHA for healthy development.

According to Lorin Grow, owner of Furry Face in Redlands, California, it’s very difficult to introduce new products to cat owners or to even get them to switch brands, primarily because they are wary of upsetting their cats.

“No owner is owned as much as a cat owner,” she explained. “It’s very important to be mindful that cats only have around 500 taste buds compared to dogs that have around 17,000. For cats, texture and taste are of the utmost importance in terms of their likes and dislikes.

“Cats rely heavily on their sense of smell and on “mouth-feel”—the ease with which they are able to pick up the food and the way it feels in their mouths,” Grow added. “So, switching products takes time and patience. But I always encourage my customers to try if they can improve their cat’s nutrition with a different recipe.”

Inspired by Nature

The Four Star Nutritionals line from Fromm Family Foods features recipes such as Chicken au Frommage and Hasen Duckenpfeffer, a German-inspired duck and rabbit recipe and other human-menu motivated names.

“The idea behind the line and the names is the opportunity to continually challenge our creativity and provide a unique platform for us to create new recipes that are uniquely named and supported with one-of-a-kind art and ad campaigns,” explained Bryan Nieman, brand director and fifth generation member of this family-owned company. “Inspiration comes from so many places, but each and every recipe starts with high quality meats or fish complemented by fresh fruits and vegetables. From there, we enjoy the creative process of establishing a theme and creative name, like Chicken au Frommage, our latest Four-Star Nutritionals dry cat recipe.”

Fromm Family Foods prides itself on a very informative and educational website to help consumers avoid pet obesity issues.

“Feeding the correct amount of food is of the utmost importance as overfeeding can lead to unhealthy weight gain as well as overworking a pet’s digestive system,” Nieman said. “Underfeeding can lead to a variety of other health concerns.”

The WholePrey recipes of ORIJEN, manufactured by Champion Petfoods, feature multiple main ingredients, such as the ORIJEN Six Fish recipe containing Pacific pilchards, hake, mackerel, flounder, rockfish and sole.

“We take into consideration the variation in a cat’s natural diet—a bird today, a fish the next,” explained Julie Washington, the company’s chief marketing officer. “That’s why a rich variety of fresh meats and fish are a key principle in Champion’s Biologically Appropriate approach to making pet food. And, because they don’t eat just one type of fish or meat, we also include a bigger variety of meats in WholePrey ratios—muscle, organ meats, bones and cartilage—to supply nutrients naturally.

“Additionally, for sustainability reasons, we try to keep variation in our supply chain so we’re being respectful of managing this important natural resource,” she added.

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