sustainability in pet food

Minimising Waste through Product Recovery (Pigging)

Throughout the world, pet ownership is increasing. And because the vast majority of pet owners feed their animals on purpose-made foods, the pet food market is also expanding.

Pet Food Market Growth

Pet food is already big business. The bulk of the increased sales are in good quality, nutritious pet food. According to a, the pet food market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.2%. This is from an estimated value of 58.6 billion US dollars in 2011, to 74.8 billion US dollars in 2017.

Other market research companies have made similar predictions. While the figures don’t always match, the predictions of growth and expansion are much the same. North America dominates the market.

In terms of quantity, the most popular pets are actually fish. But it’s food for dogs and cats, in various forms, that make up the bulk of production.

So, in such a large and growing market, how important is sustainability?


cat eating food

Importance of Sustainability

Sustainability in pet food manufacture can take many forms. From ingredients to packaging, energy usage to transport, it’s an ongoing commitment. And most manufacturers see sustainability as extremely important.

For example, Nestle Purina, arguably the world’s leader in pet food production, takes sustainability seriously. Their approach covers the complete life cycle of their products. It includes prioritisation and management of what’s important in terms of their environmental impact. They look at increasing efficiency, reducing waste and conserving resources throughout their business. They aim to ensure responsible sourcing. They are also committed to learning from others, whether these are environmental groups, customers, retailers, or other businesses in different industries.

Nestle Purina’s approach seems to be working well. So far, five of its US factories no longer send any waste to landfill. This forms part of the global Nestle commitment to not use any landfill at all by 2020.

Pet Food Manufacture and Pigging

One of the main ways pet food companies can help achieve their sustainability goals is to minimise waste during production. And that’s where product recovery (usually known as Pigging), can deliver significant gains.sustainability in pet food

Pigging has a wide range of benefits. It recovers nearly all residual wet product that’s left in pipelines at the end of each batch run. So for pet food manufacturers that pump ‘wet’ product or liquid through pipes, pigging increases yields. It also speeds up processes and lowers water and chemical usage. So, pigging saves nearly all this wet product, so it can continue processing or be sold. Product wastage is almost eliminated.

The projectiles which travel inside the pipes to recover product are known as ‘pigs’. Hygienic pigging systems (HPS) uses a unique design of pig. As well as being flexible, finless and fully detectable, they are manufactured from FDA approved materials. This makes them ideal for the sanitary conditions required for pet food production.

High Performance Solutions

A wide variety of pet food manufacturers are already using pigging systems. HPS has delivered many highly successful pigging and product recovery projects in this sector (here are some case studies on pet food pigging systems).

Pet food production does present some challenges for pigging providers. These include long pipe lengths, bends, hot product, CIP requirements and so on. However, HPS systems are specially designed to overcome these.

HPS pigs recover up to 99.5% of wet product remaining in the pipe. The launch and receive housings can undergo clean in place (CIP) without having to remove the pig. The pigs themselves can withstand temperatures of up to 250 degrees centigrade or 482 Fahrenheit, without degradation. They can also travel around 1.5 D bends while still maintaining full body contact with the inside of the pipe. Plus, because the pigs are detectable, the systems can be semi or fully automated as required.

environmentally friendly liquid product recovery

Reducing Environmental Impact

The amount of product waste reduction achieved from pigging pet foods varies. This is because most systems are unique. However, product recovery is always significant. For example, based on recovered product alone, pigging systems designed by HPS typically pay for themselves in less than a year. Plus, there are the additional benefits, such as faster changeover times and the generally improved operational efficiencies that the systems deliver.

Cute Cat sitting on a Laptop

That’s why implementing a pigging and pipeline product recovery solution is one of the most effective actions a pet food manufacturer can take to reduce the environmental impact of their business.

Responsible Sourcing

Key to many pet food manufacturer’s sustainability and environmental commitments is responsible sourcing. It’s important to choose suppliers that also act in an environmentally responsible manner. One of the easiest ways to confirm sustainability in the supply chain is to through ISO 14001 certification. Companies that have achieved this actively demonstrate a commitment to environmental management.

HPS is an ISO 14001 certified pigging systems provider. As well as providing solutions that help our customers improve sustainability, we are committed to sustainability and minimising our own environmental impact.

Find Out More

There are many other ways in which pet food manufacturers can improve their sustainability and environmental credentials in addition to pigging. But, if you work with an experienced solutions provider such as HPS, pigging and product recovery is one of the most easily implemented yet effective ways to reduce waste and save resources. It also saves time and energy by improving operational efficiency.

To find out more about increasing sustainability in pet food manufacture through product recovery, please contact HPS or your local representative. We look forward to hearing from you!

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