There is a growing trend in cat foods to respect a cat’s carnivorous ancestral roots and to focus on grain-free diets for felines.
To this end, Evanger’s, the only family-owned pet food cannery in the United States, is celebrating its 80th anniversary by re-launching its Signature Series Stews for cats with a new look. New labels feature a cleaner, more modern design with an earthy palette and eye-catching fonts that highlight the grain-free, “Made in America” contents.
“What is unique about our foods is that we use fresh salmon, poultry and meats, whereas most canneries use frozen. Further, we can create a new formula literally overnight,” said Holly Sher, president and owner of Evanger’s Dog and Cat Food Company, headquartered in Wheeling, Ill. “Recently we decided to produce a duck dinner and a rabbit and quail entrée for cats. We were able to find a supplier, source the ingredients, design new labels and produce the new formulations in record time.”
“We use shelf talkers, coupons and advertisements as on-going promotional tools. We offer our pet specialty retailers a monthly coupon to help drive consumers into the store.” The company produces a range of single serving cat food tubs called Against the Grain.
“They are hand-packed,” Sher said. “As well as being grain-free, they are also gluten-free and GMO-free.”
Hill’s Nutrition also has a number of grain-free options for cats in both wet and dry pet food, including their new Ideal Balance Crafted line.
The company launched the line to provide a balanced food option for felines that may be allergic to grains and also to meet consumer demands.
“Preferences often change for both humans and pets,” said Tarang Jain, brand manager at Hill’s Pet Nutrition. “For consumers preferring grain-free diets, Hill’s offers options that meet these preferences while still delivering on the promise of perfectly balanced nutrition”
Along with the grain-free movement comes a trend toward more exotic proteins.
“Yes, we think we’ll see more of this in the future,” Jain said. “Hill’s strives to provide a variety of ingredients that meet both consumer and pet preferences while still providing a perfect balance of over 50 nutrients. That is why we use novel protein sources including trout, tuna, salmon and turkey as key ingredients in our pet foods and treats for cats.”
According to Chanda Leary-Coutu, senior manager marketing communications for WellPet, while traditional proteins like chicken, turkey and salmon remain cat favorites, the company is starting to see a stronger interest from pet owners in feeding their cats more variety to accommodate some felines’ finicky palates and make mealtime more special with proteins like venison, herring and whitefish.
“We believe it’s best for pet owners to have many protein options available to be able to tailor their cat’s meals to taste preferences as well as potential dietary restrictions,” Leary-Coutu said.
Wellpet’s newest line of natural recipes is Wellness TruFood.
“Wellness TruFood is slow-baked in small batches and comprises 70 percent more raw protein ingredients than typical cat food, and provides cats with wholesome nutrition from grain-free fiber, antioxidant-rich superfoods and probiotics.”
Also new from the company is the Wellness CORE air-dried recipes that can be served as a balanced meal or moist topper.
“Instead of corn or other fillers, grain-free recipes like those found in the Wellness TruFood and Wellness CORE lines add beneficial grain-free fiber to a pet’s daily meals in the form of ingredients such as chickpeas, flaxseed and lentils. These ingredients help increase the digestibility of the food, and grain-free recipes also help provide more options to pet owners whose pets may have sensitivities to grains,” Leary-Coutu said.
Leary-Coutu said when it comes to dry food versus wet food options “…dry food is a very popular option for cat owners, many consumers are realizing the importance of keeping their cats hydrated and are offering wet food as well as dry. In addition to providing a healthy source of hydration, wet cat foods are a great option for cats that like recipe variety, as there are many different appetizing tastes and textures available.”
Further, we often work with our retail partners in developing special promotions, like digital and printed coupons, so more cat owners have the opportunity to feed their pet’s balanced nutrition like that found in our recipes.”
Recently, the Glycemic Research Institute certified grain-free feline kibble recipes produced by Spring Naturals as low glycemic and diabetic friendly.
“Receiving approval from this influential organization is especially good news for owners of older and overweight cats,” said Rob Cadenhead, vice president of sales and marketing at Spring Naturals.
“Cat foods with a high glycemic index lead to elevated blood glucose levels. This in turn can increase the risk of epilepsy, hypothyroidism, allergies, yeast infections, cancer and diabetes. Diets formulated with low glycemic ingredients are digested slower than high glycemic foods, allowing all of the nutrients to be properly absorbed. When food is digested slower and the nutrients are properly absorbed, pets will remain fuller longer which helps maintain weight control.”