Tag Archives: cat food manufacturers

Cat Food Trends — New Ingredients To Look For In 2019

Honey, coconut and turmeric are among the ingredients to watch in cat food trends this year.

 

Food with coconut milk or oil, like Solid Gold's, is a cat food trend to watch for.

Food with coconut milk or oil, like Solid Gold’s, is a cat food trend to watch for.

Coming soon to the front of your cat food cans and bags: turmeric, honey and coconut. Think of them as biohacking for cats and the newest cat food trends to look for in 2019. 

Biohacking for humans has been around for years, although many of us have never heard of it. The simple definition of biohacking is adding nutrients or more natural foods to your regular diet to improve your health and quality of life. 

But like so many human food trends, biohacking is now making its way into the cat food market. Enter turmeric, honey and coconut. 

Cat Food Trends – Ingredients With A Purpose

Cricket Cat Food – The Next Big Thing?

Is cricket cat food the next big thing?
Could crickets replace meat
as a protein source in cat food?

Okay,
so cats eat bugs all the time. If you were a cat, you’d probably love
nothing more than chowing down on a freshly-caught fly or cricket.
Eeeuuu…

But Tarique Arsiwalla, a co-founder of Protix
Biosystems, a company that markets insects as “the next protein
commodity,” is hoping we humans will overcome the yuck factor and
consider food made of bugs for our cats. Are you ready for ground up
crickets in a can? EEEuuuu…

Arsiwalla will be one of the
presenters at the 2015 Petfood Forum Europe in June. His topic:
insect-based ingredients in cat and dog food. Ugh…
But
while just the thought may give you the creepy crawlies, pet food made
from insects might be in our cats’ not-so-distant future. Although our
planet could probably sustain an infinite number of bugs, that’s not
true of the animals who become food for us and our dogs and cats.


Are We Running Out Of Food?

As
the world population of humans and companion animals continues to grow,
the currently available supply of protein won’t be able to keep up with
the demand, Petfood Industry editor-in-chief Debbie Phillips-Donaldson says in her blog.
But
no matter how hard we try to eradicate them, insects are always in
abundant supply. And they’re far more efficient in food conversion than
farm animals are.


Writing for his PetMD blog,
veterinarian Ken Tudor says crickets require only a half pound of food
to produce one pound of body weight, while It takes 20 pounds of grain
to produce a pound of beef, 10 pounds to produce a pound of pork and
five pounds to produce a pound of fish or chicken.



Eighty
percent of a cricket’s body is edible compared to only 55 percent of the
body of poultry and pork and 40 percent of the body of cattle, Tudor
says. And “insects,
particularly mealworms, provide protein and omega-3 fatty acids that
are comparable to the amounts found in meat and fish.” Mealworms?
Eeeeuuu…



In his blog, Tudor notes that nearly
one-third of the world’s human population includes insects as part of
the daily diet. And the owners of small reptiles and some birds already
feed insects to their pets.



But cats’ nutritional needs are much different from reptiles’ and birds’,
and I wonder if insects would be an appropriate source of protein for
our obligate carnivores, who need meat from animal sources to be
healthy.



I’m all for sustainability, and I don’t eat meat
myself. But for my cats, I think I’ll pass on the next big thing and
continue giving them food that contains meat. If they crave crickets,
they can catch them themselves. It’s probably the thrill of the hunt
that makes them taste so good, and I imagine they’d be less appealing if
they came out of a can.



Could you overcome the yuck factor and
feed your cats insect-based food? I’d love to know, so feel free to
post your comments below.


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People Food Goes To The Dogs (And Cats) With Smucker’s Purchase of Rachel Ray Nutrish

With Smucker's purchase of Rachel Ray Nutrish, could people food be going to the dogs?

Unlike its cat food category, J.M. Smucker’s people food business is in a bit of a jam. As Americans put more thought into what they eat, packaged food sales are stagnant and even declining. And that could explain Smucker’s purchase of Rachel Ray Nutrish (Ainsworth Pet Nutrition).

For years, cat food has tried to sound like people food. You know… “white meat chicken breast,” “garden greens,” “wild caught fish” and “cooked in a delicate sauce…” But now, things seem to be going the other way. Could people food really be going to the dogs (and cats)?

Smucker’s purchase of Rachel Ray Nutrish is the second buyout by a large company of a premium pet food manufacturer this year. In February, General Mills announced plans to purchase Blue Buffalo.

Candy Makers Sweet On Cat Food

Smucker isn’t the only manufacturer of food for people that’s sweet on cat food. Mars, best known for M&Ms and Skittles, makes Whiskas, Royal Canin, Nutro, Greenies, Iams and Eukanuba.

Nestle (think Butterfinger and KitKat candy bars and hot chocolate) makes Fancy Feast, ProPlan, Purina One, Friskies, Purina Cat Chow and Muse.

In 2015 Smucker purchased Big Heart Pet Brands, which makes 9Lives, Meow Mix, Pounce treats, Nature’s Recipe and Natural Balance.

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So why would a company that started more than 100 years ago with apple butter and other sweet fruit products, have an appetite for a seventh company that makes cat food?

While the market for jams and jellies may be spread thin, a press release announcing Smucker’s purchase of Rachel Ray Nutrish notes that “pet food and pet snacks have become the largest center-of-the-store category in the US Food and Beverage market, generating over $30 billion in annual sales across all channels.” In supermarkets, it’s pet food, not people food, that’s one of the fastest-growing categories, the press release adds.

At Smucker, it’s not just the fastest-growing category. With the acquisition of Rachel Ray Nutrish, it’s the company’s largest.

Ainsworth Pet Nutrition also makes Dad’s dry cat food and private label brands for pet food retailers.

Today’s Recommendation
Tiki Cat is not owned by a huge
corporation, at least not yet. And
cats love it. 

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Blue Buffalo Trades Some Snob Appeal For A New Breed Of Buyers

Next time you’re at Kroeger, Publix, Meijer or Target, don’t be surprised if you see Blue Buffalo in the pet food aisle. The company recently joined the stampede of other premium cat supply manufacturers to the mass market.

For me, Blue lost some of its panache when it starting showing up at PetCo and Petsmart. They’ve always felt like the mass market to me. But now, Blue is stepping down another rung to make its entry-level Life Protection Formula available to a whole new group of shoppers at Target and the supermarkets.

There could be a good reason for this. According to the Packaged Facts blog, Blue acknowledges that its pet supply superstore sales have slowed as more and more people shop for cat food online.

Joining The Superpremium Herd


Iams and Newman’s Own cat food have been available in supermarkets for years. So have The World’s Best Cat Litter and Swheat Scoop. But as pet supply superstore sales decline, other high-end products have joined them on the supermarket shelves.

Among them: Purina Beyond, I and Love and You, Rachel Ray Nutrish and Crave.

Just The Crumbs

In a letter to independent retailers, Modestino Mele, Blue’s senior vice president of North American sales, said the move to mass retailers is part of the company’s go-to-market strategy. But it turns out that only the crumbs will be going to the mass market.

Just Blue’s entry-level Life Protection Formula will be available at the supermarkets. Shoppers will find smaller bag sizes, and more mainstream ingredients, wet food and treats. Blue’s other product lines — Wilderness, Basics, Freedom and Earth’s Essentials — will still be available only at pet specialty stores.

It’s What’s In The Cat Food Can That Counts

Wherever you shop, check the ingredients in your cat’s food before you buy. Even the superpremium foods might contain ingredients you don’t want your cat to eat. For instance, some Beyond wet food flavors contain potato starch, and others contain sweet potatoes or wild rice. And for some reason, I and Love and You adds things like cranberries, carrots, spinach and sweet potatoes to some of its wet food flavors. 
Cats are obligate carnivores and need protein from animal sources. What they don’t need are fruits and veggies. 
I’m the first to admit that I’m a cat food snob. I prefer to give my cats wet food that contains just the protein sources named on the can. But if I’m going to feed something that contains a hodgepodge of stuff, we’ll probably stay with Fancy Feast Classics. At least they’re all meat, with no extras added in. And these species-appropriate foods cost a lot less than the superpremium brands. That matters when you’re feeding six cats! 

Eeeuuu… Black Fly Larvae Cat Food?

Will food containing insect ingredients soon fill this cat's crystal dish?

Here’s something to put at the very top of your Eeeuuu List:
black soldier fly larvae as an ingredient in cat food.



If just the thought gives you the creepy-crawlies, the good news is that cat food containing black soldier fly larvae probably won’t be showing up on your pet supply retailer’s shelves anytime soon.


EnviroFlight, the company that’s producing the ingredient, began construction of its plant just last month. It expects production to reach capacity in the first quarter of next year, and the first taste testers will probably be poultry and farmed fish. That gives you some time to get used to the idea of your cat eating fly larvae that came from a factory. Eeeuuu…


In Pet Food, It’s All About Sustainability

As unappealing as the thought is to us, insects may be the next big thing in cat food ingredients. 



Look at it this way. While our planet could probably sustain an infinite number of bugs, that’s not true of the animals who provide food for us and our cats and dogs.


There was a time when pet food was inherently sustainable because it used the leftovers from human meat processing. But many cat food buyers have different standards these days. They want their cats’ food to be of the same quality as theirs. To meet the growing demand for “organic” and “natural” food, the pet food industry purchases over 16.5 billion pounds of meat, poultry, seafood and grains to feed our animal companions.



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The jury — or in this case, the Association of American Feed Control Officials — is still out on the nutritional value of insects as an ingredient in cat food. But writing for his PetMD blog, veterinarian Ken Tudor suggests crickets could become a nutritious ingredient for cat food.


Eighty percent of a cricket’s body is edible compared to only 55 percent of the body of poultry and pork and 40 percent of the body of cattle, Tudor says. And “insects, particularly meal worms, provide protein and omega-3 fatty acids that are comparable to the amounts found in meat and fish.”


Could be. But I could be a very hard sell when it comes to feeding my obligate carnivores food that uses black fly larvae or crickets as a protein source. While I’m willing to do my part for sustainability by not eating or wearing any animal products at all, my cats shouldn’t have to pay with their health for human greed.


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And then there’s the yuck factor. Feeding our cats food that contains factory-produced black fly larvae might be too much of a stretch for many of us. It certainly would be for me. If my cats want to eat flies, they can catch them themselves. They’re actually very good at that. And catching a fly and then eating it is a lot more rewarding than chowing down on insects that came out of a can.

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