Future-proof pet food needs added value
A statement by Heike Sander, Head of Marketing & Communications at Trigea, manufacturer of functional wheat-based pet food ingredients
An unusual year is behind us and one which has had farreaching effects not only on the social system, but also all branches of industry. As a result, the pet food market is facing a change in consumer demand too. Heike Sander gives an outlook on the trends and developments that will shape 2021.
#1: Natural products with a transparent ingredients list
“When consumers look at ingredients lists, they want them to convey that a product – whether it’s for their own consumption or that of their pet – is both healthy and natural,” says Sander. In her opinion, the coming year will bring a further increase in the humanisation of pets: many owners see their four-legged friends as members of the family and, therefore, consciously choose pet food that supports their health and wellbeing. Thus, transparency and comprehensibility of ingredients are becoming increasingly significant in the animal feed sector. “On the ingredients list, wheat is a key word that is understood by everyone and associated with tradition and nature. Trigea’s Trigovit® products act as stabilisers, emulsifiers, binders or texturisers, and wheat is always listed on the ingredients list. Many of our functional ingredients also allow for a clean label claim – a real plus for manufacturers wanting premium market positioning.”
#2: Sustainable, plant-based solutions
The sustainability aspect is becoming increasingly important for animal feed: consumers want to know where the raw materials come from and under what conditions, both human and environmental, they were produced. “This is about more than just meeting consumer demands. Future-proof business requires innovative and sustainable action.“ As a brand of the Crespel & Deiters Group, Trigea only processes wheat that has been produced in the EU under strict manufacturing standards, is genetically unmodified and of the highest quality. In addition, long-term contracts give farmers security and help strengthen rural areas. The trend in human nutrition towards a reduction in meat consumption for ecological and ethical reasons is also influencing the pet world. Those who temporarily or completely abstain from animal products often search out meat-alternatives for their pets too. Accordingly, the demand for textured wheat proteins is growing: They can serve as a plant based protein source in hybrid products with reduced meat content and imitate the typical structure of meat. The higher proportion of plant-based ingredients helps to improve the environmental balance while being well accepted by carnivorous animals such as dogs and cats.
#3 Increase in e-commerce
More and more pet food is bought on the internet. According to a recent study, this sales channel now accounts for 14 per cent of all purchases. Heike Sander: “The share of online purchases has further increased due to corona regulations. Since people often buy in bulk when shopping online, it is all the more important that products have a long shelf life and remain visually appealing, and neither soften nor dry out.” The multifunctional wheat-based feed components of the Trigovit® range optimise not only the nutritional value, but also the stability and texture of wet and dry feeds, as well as snack applications. The modified starches serve as binding and thickening agents, for example, they add flexibility to chewing bones for dogs. With the customised starch-based premixes, a high binding and thickening capacity is achieved, and the extruded pregelatinised wheat flours have excellent binding properties.
Producers face the ongoing challenge of reconciling customer wishes with their process requirements. “Our conclusion at Trigea after the exceptional year of 2020: Consumers are demanding even more natural products with added value that are not only sustainable, but also promote the wellbeing of the animal. With our ingredients, we do our best to give manufacturers the opportunity to produce such applications cost-effectively, but also meet consumer demand in a precise and targeted way. Making these two worlds compatible is our mission, which is why we work together with our clients to develop customised solutions,” concludes Heike Sander.