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Origins of Pet Food: an Aware Choice

1860 is considered by many to be the year of the birth of pet food. This year, the first dog biscuits called “Spratt’s Meat Fibrine Dog Cakes” went into production.

Origins of Pet Food an Aware Choice.

The origins of pet food. The first biscuits were created by the company Spratt’s; you can see some images on the Hagley.org website, other photos of the time can be found on Google Images, and if you want to know what was inside, you can read an abstract of scientific research on the cambridge.org website.

Thanks to continuous scientific research in the field of animal nutrition and feeding, the development of ever more modern production and food safety technologies, and an increase in both the range of raw materials and the safety of the products, today, the content of complete and complementary feeds is comprehensive so that an offer can be guaranteed that can satisfy every single nutritional need of pets.

Pet food 160 years of continuous improvement.

While the offer is extensive, pet owners need the right advice to purchase the most suitable product for their pet and know the aspects that enable them to better understand the pet food production chain. In this context, the veterinary surgeon is the reference who will undoubtedly be able to advise on the most suitable diet concerning the breed or species and the needs of the individual pet.

Origins of pet food, industry analysis

A highly detailed picture of the pet food sector in the UK emerges from the annual analysis of the report via Statita.com. From the study of the information for 2021, the British spent 9,662 on their pets compared to 3,524 in 2005 (in a million GBP).

Since 2005, the pet food market for dogs and cats has shown an increase in total turnover of 174%. The pet food market has continuously grown steadily over the last 15 years. Suffice it to say, the origins of pet food more than tripled its turnover from £3,794 million to £9,662 million between 2007-2021.

The reasons for this growth can be traced to several factors; suffice it to say the sociological and cultural changes at a national level, even in recent years and beyond.

As we have repeated several times on this site, pets are now considered family members, and there is an increased focus on products for them.

27% of UK pet owners make their own pet food from scratch/leftovers.

UK Pet Food Market Report 2022

It is also important to remember that pets should not be considered ‘miniature humans’. They have their anatomical and physiological characteristics and specific ethograms (Editor’s Note: a series of behaviours or actions exhibited by an animal used in ethology.) Respect for these is crucial to ensuring the animal’s welfare.

From the origins of pet food to today’s customised nutrition.

From the origins of pet food to today's customised nutrition.
67% of UK pet owners who buy pet food would stock up on pet food during promotional periods to save money.

For these reasons, food selection and feeding must also be customised to meet the needs of individual animals, as in the human field.

One only has to think of lines specially designed for pets of different age groups with specific morphological conformations and lifestyles.

Alongside these, there are specific lines designed for allergic, intolerant, overweight animals with kidney and liver diseases (editor’s note: such as one of our Frenchie’s who needs a complete low-magnesium urine acidifier dietary food that makes it suitable for dissolving struvite stones and reducing their reappearance, produced by Royal Canin)

In the UK, there are 12 MILLION dogs and 12 MILLION cats.

Source: pdsa report 2021

Further specifications on the market characterise individual products as multi-protein, single-protein, single animal protein source, gluten-free, grain-free, holistic, organic, premium and super premium. However, the food selection is only one tile within a proper diet.

The veterinary surgeon will also advise on appropriate management aspects such as the daily ratio, the method of feeding and its distribution throughout the day, paying attention to the peculiarities that can occur differently in individual households.

For example, there may be several pets in the home, even of different species, without forgetting the individual behaviour that characterises each one.

What are the origins of pet food, raw materials, production, and formats?

The range of raw materials used in pet food production and the following commercial offer is wide and of absolute interest. In addition to those of animal origin (beef, poultry, pork, lamb and salmon), which have been used for the longest time, a wide variety is constantly expanding thanks to ongoing scientific research.

From the origins of animals food to today's customised nutrition.
The pet food market has shown continuous growth over the last 15 years.

Horse, cod, bison, deer, wapiti, elk, herring, plaice, insect meal (crickets, camels, soldier fly larvae), ostrich and quail are some of the new protein sources of animal origin.

Functional pet food

Scientific research is also increasingly active on functional foods: these are mainly formulated with ingredients of vegetable origin, although some also include products of animal origin.

They are characterised by high amounts of specific active ingredients and essential nutrients that benefit our pets’ health.

The list is pervasive and includes ingredients such as spirulina algae, small fruits, seeds such as Salvia hispanica, Goji berries, Echinacea purpurea, Aloe vera, rose hips and pomegranate.

Wet or dry?

Wet and dry foods have particular characteristics.

  • In the former, softer, there is more than 60% internal water content.
  • In dry foods, the moisture content is less than 14%.

The variety of formats of wet foods is comprehensive and includes nibbles, chunks, pâtés, and mousses, while dry kibbles offer different sizes and shapes.

The organoleptic characteristics and those intrinsic to the format itself will allow the veterinary surgeon to recommend the most suitable for the individual dog or cat.

The Packaging

The packaging on the market guarantees ease of transport and use bags in different sizes, cans, disposable sachets and trays, all of which meet consumer demands. Companies are also showing increasing sensitivity regarding their choice of packaging.

Environmentally friendly packaging and packaging made from recycled and recyclable materials are becoming increasingly common. However, maximum attention must be paid to properly storing the product once it is opened. The veterinary surgeon can advise on how to keep each food to prevent spoilage.

Labelling: clear and understandable information for the buyer.

As the consumer is increasingly careful in selecting what food to bring, attention is rightly paid to pet food. Labelling follows EU regulations and contains clear, precise and correct information concerning the ingredients used in the production of the food, as well as the nutritional characteristics and use of the product.

To allow a more straightforward interpretation of the information on the label, Fediaf (European Federation of the Pet Food Industry) has produced a document approved by the European Commission and recognised as a tool for industry and control authorities. The file can be downloaded free of charge from the Fediaf website and, being intended for the general public is easy to consult.

The information reported covers a wide range of data, including name, product description, analytical components, additives, minimum shelf life, batch number, name of manufacturer or distributor, contact details, instructions for the use of the food and weight and quantity. The simple reading makes it easy for pet owners to understand the characteristics of the food, starting with the difference between complete and complementary foods.

Origins of Pet Food a Conscious Choice.
The labelling follows the Community legislation and contains clear, precise and correct information regarding the ingredients used in the food production phase and the product’s nutritional characteristics and use.

The former meets all nutritional needs by providing all the necessary nutrients. The latter are foods that need to be combined with others. Complementary foods include, for example, snacks, the market for which is constantly growing.

Then, there are the specifications concerning the percentage of individual raw materials used. Thus, in ascending order of rate, one can find forms such as:

  • ‘Flavoured wit’’
  • “Mad with
  • ‘Rich i’’
  • ‘Men’’

Further definitions that we can find include phrases such as ‘‘high-quality protein’’, ‘‘low in fat’’ or“Easy-to-digest”.

The list of ingredients is classified by category or individual components. Additives are grouped into categories and functional groups that describe and characterise their purpose of use.

Analytical information includes protein (crude), fat content, crude fibre, crude ash and moisture content above 14%. Finally, I leave you some helpful links to recommended reading and handbooks on pet food for pet owners.

  1. FEDIAF Nutritional Guidelines for Complete and Complementary Pet Food for Cats and Dogs.
  2. FEDIAF’s ScientifiFEDIAF Board has stated the nutrition of senior dogs.
  3. Guide to Good Practice for the Manufacture of Safe Pet Food.
  4. FEDIAF Nutritional Guidelines for Feeding Pet Rabbits.

Thank you for reading the article to the end. Your reading contribution was significant to us.

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The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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Written by Frenchie Breed

The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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