Pet food – a specialty food for domesticated animals – is formulated according to the pets´ nutritional need. Besides the sufficient supply with essential nutrients, price, handling, storage stability as well as the pets’ acceptance of the products are important issues for the pet owners. Simultaneously to the developments in the food industry, the pet food industry has also changes considerably during the last years. The demand for high-quality health-promoting pet food products are steadily increasing.
Conventional pet food production, in particular products for cats and dogs has many disadvantages. Besides technological challenges such as limitation of the fat contents during processing, fat oxidation reactions during production and storage impair product acceptance, but also accelerate the degradation of other health-promoting substances like vitamins for example.
Therefore, the main objective of this research activity is the development of an alternative process for the production of cats and dog food. By means of a specific extrusion process with previous encapsulation of heat and oxygen labile nutrients high quality products with elevated fat contents and improved storage stability should be facilitated. The lipid substances and other health-promoting nutrients will be coated and protected in the extruded matrix. Contact to oxygen will be reduced to a minimum. Furthermore, the complete process should be quite simple with reduced production periods and cost-effective from an economical point of view. In addition the process will allow an extension of the product range of dry pet food regarding the size and density of the individual pieces, since the common production methods are limited in this regard. The small and medium-sized pet food industry should thereby substantially increase their competitiveness in the market.
The IGF project presented here by the Research Association of the Industrial Association for Food Technology and Packaging (IVLV e.V.) is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy via the AiF as part of the program for the promotion of industrial community research (IGF) based on a decision of the German Bundestag.