Many factors affect the palatability of pet food. The main influencing factors include raw material grade and formula, production process, and the use of pet food flavorings.
1 – Raw Material Selection
Raw material selection has a great influence on palatability. To produce high-quality pet food, it is necessary to be cautious when selecting the raw materials required for the formula.
Regular assessment and audit of suppliers is a way to ensure a stable supply of high-quality raw materials. The quality and freshness of meat powder and fat significantly impact palatability, and whether corn and wheat are mildewed can also be felt by sensitive animals.
It cannot be said that a certain type of raw material has good palatability, but it should pay more attention to the quality of this raw material. For example, fat is an important raw material.
Spraying fat on the surface of dried particles can increase the product’s flavor and serve as an energy source. But fat is very easy to oxidize.
The sprayed fat must contain a lower free fatty acid and peroxide, without burnt smell, fecal smell and halitosis. Poor quality fat will bring serious problems to palatability.
2 – Production Process
The production process affects the bulk density, structure, particles and size of the product, thus having a significant impact on palatability. The mixing and crushing of raw materials in the pre-treatment process affects the uniformity and structure of the finished product.
Before extrusion and expansion, conditioning can greatly improve the gelatinization degree of starch, particle texture, and palatability. During expansion, a good particle shape and stable density are formed.
Cats prefer a crisp texture, while dogs can accept harder particles. The drying process affects the final moisture content of pet food.
If the moisture content is too high (more than 10%), it will cause pet food to be prone to mildew, resulting in pet rejection and product recall.
The accuracy of drying is a very important parameter, which is important to prevent the phenomenon that some particles are not dried inside but hardened outside.
3 – Selection of Pet Food Flavorings
Flavorings are a unique compound system that provides a better taste for pet food and can ensure that pets get the key nutrients they need from the pet food they eat. The flavorings and the formula of pet food are very important.
If pets do not like to eat a portion of certain pet food, no matter how healthy the formula is, it will cause pets to be malnourished, resulting in a series of consequences.
Pet food flavorings stimulate pet organs, such as olfactory, gustatory, and neurogenic, to increase the pet’s love for food and significantly affect the pet’s intake, palatability, and appetite.
Pet food flavorings have a great influence on the flavor of pet food. Still, this flavor is also significantly affected by the degree of ripening brought by fat, meat powder and other raw materials and processes.
When a pet food is freshly produced, the smell is more affected by flavorings. After two weeks of storage, a complex and stable flavor will be formed, ultimately affecting the feed’s overall sensory and palatability.
For preservation, phosphoric acid is usually used. Its widespread use will affect the total phosphorus intake and partially affect the pH value in urine, which is especially important for cat food.
The types of flavorings are divided into liquids and powders according to their form.
Liquid flavorings are mostly mixed with animal viscera, yeast paste and enzymatically hydrolyzed proteins, which are in liquid or viscous form.
Solid powder flavorings:
Solid powder flavorings are mostly made of chicken liver powder, chicken meat powder and fish meat powder, which are ground, hydrolyzed and then loaded with carrier spray-dried into powder.
According to their use, they are divided into dog food flavorings and cat food flavorings.
Dogs and cats have significant differences in palatability preferences, which can be traced back to the different physiological characteristics of cats and dogs and their long-term living habits and customs in different regions.
Dogs are omnivorous animals; meat and plant raw materials can be digested, and nutrients can be obtained.
Cats are carnivorous animals, and too many plant raw materials are of little significance to cats, which is a nutritional issue but also affects the different characteristics of dog and cat flavorings.
Oils, liquid pastes, and powders are sprayed evenly in turn. When the equipment is limited or necessary, the mixture of oil and paste is sprayed evenly, which is also a common method.
The sprayed oil or flavoring is absorbed into the particles, so compared with conventional spraying, it can greatly increase the spraying limit and effect.
The demand for different forms and flavors of dog and cat food is different. Dogs prefer soft or slightly moist food, so liquid flavorings are suitable; cats prefer crisp and dry textures, so there is also cat food sprayed with solid powder flavorings.
The number of flavorings added ranges from 1% to 10% of the dry matter in the daily ration, generally 1% to 2% for solid powder flavorings and 3% to 10% for liquid flavorings.
The specific proportion of addition should be considered comprehensively according to the palatability requirements of the manufacturer, cost and quality of the competing products.
Taking liquid flavorings as an example, they are mainly prepared according to the Maillard reaction.
When the protein is heated to 100-150℃, the free amino group on the protein peptide chain forms an amylose complex with the aldehyde in the reducing sugar, which the protein enzyme cannot digest.
The raw materials for flavorings are animal liver, proteinase, flavors, amino acids, yeast extract, sugar, vitamin B1 and maltose.
The Typical Preparation Process of Flavorings:
The prepared liver is added with proteinase and placed in a constant temperature drying box at the optimum temperature of various enzymes for enzymatic hydrolysis.
After enzymatic hydrolysis, the liver pulp is added with various amino acids, vitamins, yeast extract, and sugars for the Maillard reaction.
Food additives such as starch, preservatives, antioxidants and freshness-keeping agents are added to the Maillard reaction product to improve the flavor and prevent flavor deterioration.
To maintain the quality stability of the product. It is mostly made by spray drying if it is a powdery flavor. If you want your pet to experience the best food flavorings for your pet, give ProfyPet food a try!