Innovation abounds in the pet-food aisle

The economy might be in the tank, but pet food innovation is not.  Here are 3 new products and one new ingredient that are pushing the innovation envelope in the sector.

Innovations in the pet-food aisle suggest that an ailing economy is not taking too hard a hit on consumers' willingness to buy top foods for their pets.

Here are just a few of the interesting new product and ingredient launches to pass by NewHope360's desk in the past few months:

Market-Wise Nutrition, the parent company of Market-Wise Pet Nutrition, has announced the launch of the first commercially available treat that can be shared by pets and their human companions.

Barktastic brand Fruitmax Natural Fruit Treats contain Ester C, which provides healthy immune support for dogs of all ages, sizes and breeds; and Ocean Nutrition'sMeg-3 brand omega-3, ideal for a dog's skin and coat.

The treats contain 100 percent real fruit with no artificial flavors or colors and no preservatives. They are also free of gluten, wheat, soy, grains, allergens, and cholesterol. There are no added sugars ‒ just the natural occurring sugars from the fruit.

Wellness Natural Pet Food has added two new recipes to its Wellness Super5Mix Small Breed product line. Small Breed Just for Puppy Recipe contains DHA, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, and smaller kibble size. Small Breed Healthy Weight Recipe offers 26 percent reduced fat from the Adult Health recipe, to help dogs that need to lose weight. The recipe include deboned turkey and salmon meal, as well as pea fiber, L-carnitine, glucosamine and chondroitin.

Land O'Lakes Purina Feed of Missouri has launched a version of its original Layena chicken feed designed to enhance the omega-3 content of eggs. With the addition of flaxseed, Layena Plus Omega-3 produces more than 200mg of omega-3s per large egg, and has added vitamins, minerals and trace nutrients free of minerals or trace hormones. It also contains marigold extract for richer yolks, calcium and manganese for strong shells with fewer cracks, and an optimized level of vitamin E for a healthy immune system.

According to the American Pet Products Association, increases in consumer spending on their pets has been on an unthwarted rise for years, going from $45.5 billion in 2009, to $48.35 billion in 2010. Spending in 2011 is expected to hit $50.84 billion. In the US, 62 percent of all households own a pet.


Ingredient innovation

Meanwhile, in the ingredients sector, Glanbia Nutritionals has created a new functional ingredient, OptiSol 9000, which allows for the inclusion of 50 percent or more meat in low-grain, high-protein extruded pet diets.

"Since first introduced in the mid- to late-1970s, meat-based dry extruded pet foods have been limited in how much meat they could include (typically 15-30%) because of processing and quality limitations," the company explained. "In trying to exceed 30% meat, manufacturers were hampered by production equipment unable to handle higher meat levels.  They experienced increased density due to reduced expansion, which made drying more difficult. They also experienced reduced kibble durability, resulting in significant fines."

OptiSol 9000 significantly reduces these difficulties. When used in concert with optimized formulas, equipment and process controls, OptiSol 9000 can allow for 50 percent more meat in extruded recipes with significant benefits over existing technology.

"Products made with OptiSol 9000 and consumed by dogs were preferred 7 to 1 to the leading super premium brand," the company said.

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