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September 20 2023 - Blog
As long as the growing use of alternative proteins in pet food has been debated, I’ve noticed a sharp divide between pet parents supporting this trend and those rigidly sticking to animal proteins. And while skepticism in itself isnot necessarily bad, it is in this case often based on sentiment rather than rationality. Our brand new, high-quality ingredient named
Protéger™ has great potential to take skepticism away – especially in the North American pet food market.
Challenging the ‘low class and unhealthy’ image that soy sometimes has among pet parents, Protéger™ has numerous qualities and features that make it a sustainable and high-quality pet food ingredient. First of all, the soybeans used for the product are exclusively sourced from certified farmers in South Dakota, known for its immense and advanced agricultural sector. Sourcing here not only supports these farmers, but also avoids the issue of deforestation abroad which is often associated with soy. The relatively short supply chain minimizesthe overall carbon footprint of the ingredient , The substantial volumes in which soybeans are produced in North America, make it a reliable source. Did I already mention that only non-GMO soy is used for Protéger™?
As a result of the patented fermentation technology that our partner Houdek uses in the production of Protéger™, the product contains more than 70% crude protein – almost double the concentration of standard soy bean meal (44%). Fermentation also has a significant positive palatability effect and an excellent ‘health image’ in human food, which can be trasnposed onto pet food. As part of the production process of Protéger™, water is used to flush stachyose and raffinose out of the soy beans, the two sugars that are the culprits for the gas production in the gut. This is done to tackle the “gas issue”, which is anotherreason pet parents avoid soy for their pets. The washing and fermentation process also does a good job in removing allergens that cause skin issues such as rashes and irritated bowels.
Looking at the big picture, it’s also worth celebrating that Protéger™ opens up a new source of protein for our industry. Slowly but surely, the awareness is growing that protein scarcity is becoming an issue due to the rapidly growing global protein demand – meaning that the pet food market will inevitably be confronted by an animal and marine protein scarcity. Both this trend and the quest for a more sustainable pet food industry require more plant-based protein alternatives to ensure that the nutrient requirements of pets worldwide are met.
Have I convinced you or made you curious enoughto learn more about Protéger™? In his white paper my colleague Geert van der Velden takes a deeper dive into this unique ingredient. After explaining the growing demand in plant-based proteins in pet food, he proceeds with a detailed description of the development and production of Protéger™ – including the fermentation technology. Lastly, he covers the nutritional composition of the ingredient and the various (health) benefits that Protéger™ offers for pets.