Petfood Industry - September 2017 - 44
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➥PET FOOD PALATABILITY STIMULATES PETS' SENSES, OWNERS' JOY
the pet parent," said Stirling. "Palatants provide the enticement for the pet, which in turn makes it acceptable to the pet
parent to continue feeding the weight management diet."
Another enticement to pets is the fat coating on kibble
often applied along with palatants. Those fats are nearly 100
percent digestible in conventional and weight-control dog
food formulations, according to research published in June by
the Journal of Animal Science.
"The correct use of palatants and fat coating will assure
diet acceptability of weight-control products," the study's lead
author Fábio Ritter Marx, an animal nutrition consultant in
Brazil, told Petfood Industry. "However, the amount of fat
coated should be as low as possible to provide the correct
amount of essential fatty acids to meet the requirements
without causing significant dietary energy-density increase."
Reducing the energy density of a pet's diet is one main
strategy for developing a weight loss plan for a pet, said
Champion. Another is to use satiating foods that decrease and
delay the onset of an animal's hunger. Palatability is crucial to
"In both cases, it is mandatory to develop foods with a
high attractivity, meaning no food refusals," she said. "If
these conditions are not met, pets will develop begging and
scavenging behaviors, and owners will be tempted to provide
more food than needed."
Pet food palatability and consumers' emotions
Ultimately, observations made of pet owners during these
educational sessions could shed light on how people assess
their pets' emotional states while eating, Champion said.
"Owners have become more attentive to their animal's
emotions, because they want to ensure their pet's enjoyment and well-being and share positive and unique interactions with them," she said. "This has created fresh consumer
expectations for pet food."
Pet owners around the world seem likely to increasingly
look for strong signs of their pets' enjoyment of food. Because
of this, pet food palatability provides a "groundbreaking
opportunity" for dog and cat food brands to differentiate
themselves in the market, she said. ■
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