Selling pet food can be a fruitful opportunity for retailers. They can choose to create their private label or just buy in bulk from a pet food manufacturer and sell it to consumers.
For pet food retailers, it is advisable not to buy a brand that just mixes ingredients for the sake of doing it. Doing this will have an impact on their sales because the food might not have the nutritional value pets need.
As a pet food retailer, you are not required to be specialized in pet food nutrition. However, it is important to understand how ingredients impact the quality, palatability, and nutrition value of the pet food you sell to your customers.
If pets do not eat food you are selling, consumers will not buy it. In this article, we will provide detailed information on pet food nutrition for health-conscious retailers.
What is Pet Food Nutrition?
Pet food nutrition is the process of providing a complete and balanced diet with all the necessary nutrients to pets for healthy growth.
Here are things you should always bear in mind;
Complete and Balanced Diet
All pet food labels should have a nutritional adequacy statement. This statement indicates that the food has complete and balanced nutrition for pets during a particular stage ( lactation, growth, or all life stages)
Clean labels on pet food are important as it helps pet parents select pet food depending on the needs of their pet. Most pet food labels use the phrase “complete and balanced” meaning each serving is a complete meal for the pet.
Writing pet labels is one thing, but how do pet food manufacturers make sure their products can deliver?
Pet food is made with carefully crafted formulas by veterinarian scientists and pet food nutrition experts.
Any pet food you decide to stock in your pet food store should have all the essential nutrients pets need.
These essential nutrients include water, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. The essential nutrients can come from ingredients that are local or exotic and can impact the palatability and quality of the pet food.
Quality and Palatability
Pet food nutrition falls into two categories; quality and palatability.
Quality goes hand in hand with pet food safety. The pet food should be made with ingredients that are of high quality and come from trusted and vetted suppliers.
On the other hand, palatability is the measurement of how desirable pets find their food. This is a combination of taste, smell, and texture. Palatability is the main reason why pets look forward to the next mealtime.
Palatability and quality are both critical for products’ success. Poor quality ingredients can lead to health issues and numerous visits to the pet.
Poor palatability will lead to pets refusing to eat the pe food entirely. Therefore, as you do your best to stock healthy pet food, you should also prioritize palatability.
Do Pet Food Manufacturers Care About Palatability?
Manufacturers care about pet food palatability. For all retail brands, selling palatable pet food starts with finding the right pet food manufacturer.
A good pet food manufacture will ensure their food maintains palatability during production and packaging.
Let’s look at the stages at which manufacturers take to ensure palatability before the food lands on the shelves.
#1. Testing and Measuring Palatability
To figure out if the pet food is palatable, pet food manufacturers work with companies that conduct palatability tests with real formulas and animals.
The palatability tests are based on key factors like the shape of the kibbles and formula. The food is later given to a number of animals in a controlled environment. Often, pet food is tested against pet food that is available in the market to see if it can match.
Results are then delivered based on;
Smell- This is the first thing to be tested. The test is based on what product the animal approaches with excitement first
Intake Ratio (Taste) - This deliverable shows how much of the pet food a pet can consume divided by the total consumption amount. For example, if the pet can consume 400gms of food being tested and 200g of what was your pet food, then the intake ratio would be 50%
Consumption Ratio - This shows how much of a preference a pet shows over another.
Palatability tests help manufacturers decide whether they want to tweak their formula more.
Experienced manufacturers that run a number of palatability tests per year know exactly what works for their brand what doesn’t.
#2. Manufacturing for Palatability
Pet food manufacturers want their pet food to sell. Therefore, palatability is their number one goal when producing pet food.
Manufacturers know how to adjust formulas accordingly to improve palatability. They can do this by changing the ratios of the ingredients, choosing a different kibble shape, or changing or adding sensory profiles.
#3. Packaging for Palatability
Lastly, manufacturers understand how packaging affects the palatability of pet food. Wrong packaging can make pet food go stale before the expiry date. This will, therefore, affect the appeal of the food to pets.
To ensure pet food freshness manufacturers recommend easy-to-use sliders or press-to-close zippers on your packaging bag. Pet food manufacturers conduct product trials to ensure freshness.
If you are looking forward to opening your pet food store, palatability should be amongst your top concerns. Woking with a pet food manufacture who knows the ins and outs of the pet food business will help you grow and scale faster.
Avantis delivers the safest, highest quality pet food products to our retailer partners’ shelves. Learn more by contacting us.