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April 22 2021 - News
Pet parents are increasingly interested in aspects such as sustainability, animal welfare and organic ingredients. And they want to be sure about the purity, functionality and origin of ingredients. These and other trends require the pet food industry to be more transparent about the supply chain and use increasingly diverse, new and innovative ingredients. Here are some of the exciting developments we can expect in the next few years.
As the market for both human food and pet food continues to grow, there is an increasing demand for ingredients such as protein or omega-3. This demand cannot be fulfilled by traditional ingredients of animal origin, such as poultry, pork, beef and fish, because of the pressure on fish stocks and the environmental impact of intensive farming methods. In our vision paper we explain how, at IQI, we continuously search for new, innovative ingredients with the right quality to keep meeting global demand and the expectations of pet parents.
Sustainable insect protein
Alternatives to traditional ingredients of animal origin need to be sustainable, pure, of high quality and cost-effective to have a place in tomorrow’s pet food industry. For example, insects are a good-quality source of sustainable and functional protein. A recent Dutch Rabobank report concludes that there is great potential to develop specialized ingredients and products, mainly for animal feed and pet food, from insect protein. Many suppliers are currently scaling up their operations and demand could increase from 10,000 metric tons today to half a million metric tons by 2030.
Algae: nature’s original ‘super food’
Another promising development is the use of single-cell proteins from edible unicellular organisms, such as yeasts, fungi or algae. Together with bacteria, microalgae form the base of the food web and are considered nature’s original ‘super food’. They can be used as a source of protein and have a high content of essential long-chain omega-3 fatty acid. Different kinds of fish accumulate their omega-3 reserves by consuming microalgae. Instead of using fish oil or salmon oil, the pet food industry would benefit from microalgae as a direct, cleaner and more sustainable source of essential omega-3 fatty acids.
DNA screening to check purity
Of course, traditional animal proteins and omega-3 will also still be used in the future, but certificates of origin and purity will become more important. DNA screening techniques already allow for quick and easy analysis of ingredients. This makes it possible to check the composition of fish meals, for example, revealing what kinds of species are present and in which quantities. Such techniques are becoming increasingly important, more reliable and easier to use – thereby further enhancing supply chain transparency.
Our vision for tomorrow’s pet food industry
At IQI, we are committed to further accelerating sustainability in the pet food industry. To that end, IQI became a member of the Pet Sustainability Coalition (PSC) in 2021. IQI supports PSC’s vision of a thriving and collaborative pet food industry that creates a positive impact on the communities and environments in which we do business. To learn more about the vision and strategy of IQI Trusted Petfood Ingredients, please download our vision paper.
About Geert van der Velden
Geert van der Velden is IQI Trusted Petfood Ingredients’ Innovation Manager responsible for Business Development, generating new products and concepts that meet the needs of existing and new customers. Geert has more than 25 years’ experience in the international pet food industry and has gained knowledge and experience in many sections of IQI’s business.