Plant-based Technology Enhances Pet Food Palatability

Press release: Kerry

Palatability performance is foundational to the success of any premium pet food. However, A recent survey of U.S. dog and cat owners suggests that palatability alone may not be enough. The survey identifies a growing need for pet food brands to deliver products with aromas that appeal to both pets and people. For nearly half of pet owners, product smell is a factor in their purchase decision. However, only a quarter of pet owners indicate enjoying the smell of their pet’s food and nearly half of pet owners are willing to pay more for a product that offers an aroma that is more appealing to their senses.

“We see an opportunity for pet food brands to innovate around appealing to human senses while maintaining strong palatability performance,” says Ruben Santana, Global R&D Director with Kerry. Data collected over two years now shows that Kerry PurePal, a plant-based natural flavour can improve pet food aroma without compromising palatability performance, Santana adds. 

An aroma people prefer

Data collected at Kerry’s Global Innovation Center in Beloit, WI, demonstrates that PurePal can increase consumers’ overall liking of dry kibble by up to 19% with a 24% increase in aroma liking. This same study also showed that kibble enhanced with PurePal can increase pet owners’ overall product liking by up to 33% versus their existing kibble brand. With consumers increasingly associating the smell of their pet’s food with freshness and ingredient quality, enhancing aroma for consumers may help brands differentiate themselves on-shelf, says Santana.

Palatability performance manufacturers expect

Santana notes that adjusting pet food aroma to appeal to people isn’t a new concept and can come with a trade-off of compromised palatability performance. PurePal utilizes Kerry’s proprietary smoke technology to overcome the palatability challenge with a unique combination of smoke that appeals specifically to dogs.

Numerous palatability trials support that when added to premium dry food formulas, PurePal can deliver intake ratios on par with leading commercial palatability solutions. Santana adds that PurePal can also be a viable solution as a palatant enhancer with data showing improved intake ratios when applied to off-shelf premium dry dog food diets of varying fat and protein levels.

Going beyond palatability

PurePal can help future proof pet food formulas by supporting several trending consumer demands, including plant-based, human-grade, sustainably produced, upcycled materials, and all-natural.

Beyond consumer trends, PurePal can help pet food manufacturers tackle challenges commonly faced with traditional palatability solutions such as an unappealing aroma within manufacturing plants, sediment that can wear down processing equipment, limited shelf-life from hydrolysed meats and potential food safety challenges.

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