Fiber Innovations - Time to shine
In past years, there has been a steady stream of new product developments in the pet food and treat market. Increased awareness of the nutritional and technological benefits of ingredients such as fiber allows manufacturers to develop more holistic solutions.
Feeding complete foods rich in natural fiber is undoubtedly good for a pet´s health – a fact that is backed up by an array of scientific studies. As components of pet food and functional ingredients, specific fiber sources are primarily known for their ability to keep a pet´s digestive system healthy and balanced. Clinical studies have shown that supplementing dry and wet cat food with cellulose fiber helps to reduce typical hairball symptoms and to raise fecal hair excretion in cats.
As in humans, pet obesity numbers continue to increase year by year. According to the Association for Pet Obesity (APOP), nearly 60% of cats and 56% of dogs in the US are overweight or obese.
Weight management foods enriched with concentrated cellulose fiber can help to better control weight in cats and dogs without affecting food palatability.
Oral health is another top concern among pet owners. Approximately 70% of cats and 80% of dogs develop some form of oral health problem by the time they are three years old. Clinical studies have proven that dental foods and snacks enhanced with specific cellulose fibers work more effectively to promote oral health in dogs when compared with fiber-free control products.
Consistency, texture, and uniformity of pet food products are key quality attributes that are important to consumers but may be difficult to maintain. Given the variable nature of ingredients and the complexity of the manufacturing process, creating the right consistency can be a challenge for the manufacturer. Well-known binders such as spray-dried plasma (SDP), wheat gluten, or egg white/albumin commonly are used in so-called restructured meat products like chunks and in all 47 meat applications for their high swelling, water retention, and emulsion capabilities.
With a series of long-term pilot scale tests at their Technical Competence Center in Rosenberg (Germany), JRS demonstrated that a favorable cost-benefit is achieved by partially replacing conventional binders with functional cellulose fibers.
Regardless of the type of meat ingredient tested, replacing 2% SDF with 1% cellulose helps optimize the key parameters in a steam tunnel process and improves the textural parameters of the chunk before and after retorting.
Fiber as a tool
Fiber research is also currently underway into capturing product quality features in dry grain-free products with high meat inclusion in order to overcome typical extrusion challenges such as stickiness, reduced throughput, or poor product integrity.
Natural products for the future
As pet food trends follow our tastes and expectations discovering the functionality of simple, natural plant fibers is a key field of innovation.
These special natural fibers can help develop vegan meat alternatives giving the substitute products the right consistency and the desired structure. Moreover, many pet owners are exploring raw feeding with product convenience being a strong argument for consistent purchase. Natural plantfibers can make raw pet food firmer and more comfortable to handle while contributing to good digestion.
Energy Savings Opportunities
Each pet food and treat product format offers opportunities for cost savings and improvement in overall efficiency, especially during a global energy crisis, this fact is the focus of every entrepreneur. Specialized cellulose fibers have proven to make production processes more sustainable. In dry pet food, the drying time in production can be reduced by 50% making way for lower power consumption and relieving the bottleneck in drying, allowing for higher product throughput.
Tailored Fiber Solutions
With enormous demand across the pet industry for innovative products, manufacturers are looking for unique marketable, and functional ingredients.
Specialized plant fibers can be considered the pet food technologist´s toolbox for providing a wide range of functionalities across the whole spectrum of pet food products: dry to wet, frozen to sterilized, and even dietary supplements such as tablets.
As a leader in fiber products, JRS offers a comprehensive range of fiber ingredients that are suitable for all manufacturing processes and formulation options. Fibers that can help create sustainable pet food for better differentiation and improved pet health.
By: Dr. Astrid Bosse. JRS Petfood & Aquafeed
Source: All Pet Food Magazine