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Realizing sustainable pet food using bread meal through co-creation

May 16 2022 - News

IQI_sustainable_bread_meal_in _pet_food_application

Sustainability is increasingly important for pet food manufacturers to stay relevant in today’s market. It is also an important focus for IQI, since the biggest impact can be made by switching to more sustainable ingredients. A successful example is Bubeck Petfood that created a highly nutritional, digestible and palatable dog biscuit using sustainable bread meal, developed by FeedValid and provided by IQI Trusted Petfood Ingredients.

FeedValid from the Netherlands is the market leader in western-Europe for valorizing raw materials and process side streams from the human food industry into high-quality, innovative ingredients for IQI the compound feed, pet food and aquaculture industries. IQI Trusted Petfood Ingredients and FeedValid have a longstanding partnership, going back well over 25 years, for the supply of sustainable high-quality pet food ingredients, including dried potato and flakes. IQI has been a key provider of these and other ingredients to Bubeck Petfood in Germany since 2005. This was the perfect foundation for co-creating a new sustainable dog biscuit.

Bread meal as a sustainable ingredient

Alexander Romme, chief material management officer at FeedValid, says: “Working within a relationship based on trust and openness, FeedValid and IQI regularly explore the possibilities of our new sustainable product developments for application in pet food. IQI has a lot of expertise, knowledge and feeling for the trends and developments in the pet food market, such as the increasing interest in sustainability. Since we process high volumes of bread products from side streams of the bread production and processing industry, we looked into implementing bread meal as a high-quality pet food ingredient.”

FeedValid selects specific high-quality mono-streams of bread products to valorize into high-quality ingredients. Their fully automated equipment is integrated into the production line, creating a closed circuit for automatically separating mono-streams of bread products from the production process. FeedValid collects their fully enclosed containers on a daily basis for further processing of the bread products through drying and granulation into bread meal with a consistent high quality and structure – essential for application in pet food.

Bread meal can be applied as an alternative to conventional starch sources to reduce the average carbon foot print of pet food. It has a high degree of gelatinization and high water binding capacity, which makes it highly suitable for application in snacks and treats, cold pelleted pet foods, and as an addition to fresh meat slurries to the extruder. For use in cold pelleted pet food, bread meal actually has a positive effect on energy use in a pellet press with equal pellet quality. Since bread meal originates from bread products, made of flour from the inside of the wheat grain, there is a reduced risk of mycotoxin compared to using fresh raw wheat, making it a very safe ingredient.

IQI Trusted Petfood Ingredients has exclusive rights to sell the bread meal to global pet food manufacturers. When IQI’s sales manager Yvette Gerritsen suggested bread meal as a sustainable dog food ingredient to Kai Nagel, managing director at Bubeck Petfood, she immediately struck a chord.

Creating healthy and palatable dog food

Founded in 1893 by Robert Bubeck and his son Wilhelm, Bubeck Petfood specializes in dog snacks and treats. Kai Nagel, 3rd generation of the Nagel family that has owned Bubeck since 1982, says: “Bread meal is so interesting to me because the use of left-over bread goes back to the beginning of the dog food industry. In the 1890s, dogs generally ate leftovers from the table, but dog breeders and big companies with security dogs needed a more consistent type of dog food. Bubeck created the very first dog biscuit from leftover bread that was dried, pressed into shape with a little bit of meat in the middle, and then baked. Thereby creating a sustainable type of dog food with good digestibility, consistency, and a long shelf life.”

Although in the past decades the majority of pet food producers switched to extruding dog food, Bubeck has remained true to the baking process. Kai Nagel: “While this is a bit more cost and labor intensive, baking greatly improves the nutritional properties of wheat by increasing the digestibility of starches and proteins, creating a very good and healthy energy source for the dog. The grain-free trend that started 10 years ago suggests that wheat would somehow be bad for dogs, but problems like allergic reactions are only caused by products that have not been properly processed. Using a pre-cooked and pregelatinized product, such as bread meal, and baking it again, improves the digestibility and palatability even further. Dogs like the sugary sweet smell of baked dogfood, so there is no need to add artificial substances.”

Exploring new possibilities

Kai Nagel: “We have a very good and longstanding relationship with IQI, and trust them for the reliable supply of high-quality ingredients, which enables us to explore new ideas together. IQI regularly provides us with product samples to test and create new products. If this is successful, we make dog food samples to give to our customers to see what they think.” This kind of co-creation resulted, for example, in Bubeck becoming the first pet food manufacturer using IQI’s Miscanthus fiber, also known as Elephant grass, as a sustainable source of dietary fiber.

As key provider to Bubeck, IQI Trusted Petfood Ingredients organized with FeedValid to provde a sample of bread meal to Bubeck for testing purposes. The first tests were very positive, but the sample was too coarse for the sieves of Bubeck’s production facility, so FeedValid in response change the grind size to create a finer product. After a little technical finetuning, this second sample was successfully processed by Bubeck. Apart from the grind size, using bread meal or fresh raw wheat makes no difference for processing. In response, Bubeck has signed a contract with IQI for the supply of bread meal.

Sustainability is the future

As the first product created with bread meal, in 2022 Bubeck will introduce a big baked dog biscuit. After this more products based on bread meal will follow. Kai Nagel: “Our aim at Bubeck is to create more healthy dog food with excellent digestibility and palatability in a more sustainable way. It is in our DNA to re-use food from human consumption and prevent waste. This has been the natural way for thousands of years with dogs eating our high-quality leftovers. By using bread meal we don’t compete with the vulnerable resources for human food production.”

Alexander Romme: “I expect the demand for sustainable ingredients to accelerate in the coming years, as the pressure increases to realize the Paris Agreement. As a result, there will be a shift to using other kinds of more sustainable ingredients across different industries, including pet food. The pet food industry is moving towards more and more use of sustainable, plant-based and non-GMO ingredients. Streams of valorized high-quality ingredients, such as bread meal, will help to realize the climate ambitions.”

Kai Nagel: “As Bubeck we have now come full circle by re-introducing a type of sustainable production that came natural to our company’s founders. When Robert Bubeck and his son Wilhelm started out almost 130 years ago, not wasting food was an economic necessity, now it’s essential to save our planet.”

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