The pet food industry continues to grow and evolve along with the dynamics of pet ownership. More and more cats and dogs are being “humanized,” as owners become “guardians,” hotels become “pet friendly,” and pet food becomes more like human food, or is actually human food (my mother-in-law bakes a chicken twice a week for her two little dogs, or as the family playfully calls them, “John’s sisters”).

Some pet food companies are catering to this transformation by introducing foods that contain only fruits and vegetables or actual meat instead of meat by-products. They then saturate the airwaves with happy pets and their “moms” or “dads” declaring, “I didn’t want him eating chicken by-product meal so I switched to… (insert brand name here).”

One pet food manufacturer has jumped on the food truck bandwagon by declaring, “Food trucks aren’t just for people” and launching Food Truck for Dogs, because dogs “are largely underserved at the curb.” When the truck made its debut on the streets of Boston, MA, this past summer, dogs of all sizes and breeds enthusiastically lined up with their human companions to get their own tasty nibbles to chow down on under a shady tree in the park. Chock one up for the marketing team!

Not that there’s anything wrong with this new wave of thinking about our pets, but it’s good to know that some pet food manufacturers, such as The Nutro Company, still look to rendered fats and proteins as valuable sources of pet food ingredients for their products. After all, dogs and cats are, by nature, carnivores and require the protein, fats, and nutrition that animal by-products provide in their diets.

However, pet owners can be a picky lot and are now becoming more demanding about the quality of their pet’s diet, putting pressure on pet food manufacturers, who, in turn, are upping their requirements of renderers. But be assured, good manufacturing practices in the rendering plant will translate into good quality feed ingredients for the pet food market, which in turn will mean wholesome kibble for the pets of tomorrow.

October 2012 RENDER | back