The Challenge of Staying Competitive in the Pet Food Industry

pet humanisation cat eating foodThe Humanisation of Pets

Pet humanisation, where people treat their pets as furry family members, is driving trends across the pet food industry that align with many of the trends dominating the human food industry.

Trends dominating the pet food market include wellness, natural and organic products and high-quality premium food. Many pet owners are demanding the same quality food to feed their pets as they want for themselves.

Due to the proliferation of trends, pet food manufacturers are finding they must produce pet food as though it were human food. Combined with food safety regulations, these ever-changing trends are challenging pet food manufacturers and increasing competitiveness in the industry.

This blog article looks at the humanisation of pet food and how technologies such as liquid product recovery (‘pigging’) can help pet food manufacturers stay competitive and improve their performance.

What Human Trends are Shaping the Pet Food Industry?

Ingredients such as duck, rabbit and alligator and other exotic formulations are attracting pet owners’ attention in the pet food industry. Grain-free, organic, non-GMO and local sourcing has also migrated over to pet food.

Plant-based protein sources are also gaining momentum in the industry as pet food manufacturers meet the growing demand for products that are more natural, environmentally friendly and sustainable. Consumer interest and sales of raw meat dog and cat food have also been growing consistently over the past few years.

Generally, pet owners desire pet food options that address the same health concerns currently impacting human food production. They expect the same high standards for their pet’s food as their own. It needs to offer convenience, quality, authenticity and transparency as well as cater to their personal ethics, beliefs and values.

And the good news for pet food manufacturers? Pet owners are willing to spend more on their pets than ever. Particularly if it means they will be getting higher quality food for their furry friends.

Innovation and Growth in the Pet Food Industry

The shift towards humanisation is driving growth and innovation in the pet food industry. It’s also increasing competitiveness by allowing smaller, speciality batch pet food manufacturers to compete with larger brands dominating the industry.

With small, local, and big-name brands now all sharing shelf-space in the supermarket, it’s more important than ever that manufacturers continually innovate with new products that satisfy pet appetites as well as provide essential nutrition.

This constant innovation in the industry has resulted in many manufacturers adding new processing lines to meet customer demands for greater product variety.

However, in most cases, manufacturers are investing in flexible processing equipment that can accommodate mass customisation and the different formulations and configurations of product.

How Can Pet Food Manufacturers Remain Competitive?

To remain competitive, many pet food manufacturers are investing in processing equipment that is flexible enough to meet the demands of a modern plant.

Essentially, it needs to have the capability to run multiple product formulations on the same line in the quickest and most efficient way possible without sacrificing the premium quality the consumer expects.

It needs to speed up changeover times, improve cleaning and sanitation, enhance production capacity, reduce waste, cut costs and ultimately enable pet food processors to produce more for less. With pet food trends showing no signs of slowing down, it’s also important that equipment can support a variety of stock-keeping units (SKUs) for both current and future needs.

Focus on Safety and Hygiene

The rise of raw meat in pet food is also driving the need for processing equipment that is designed with a focus on hygiene and food safety.

Equipment needs to be easily cleanable, reduce contamination risks and offer increased levels of automation. It must also not harbour pet food in areas where bacterial growth may subsequently arise.

Essentially, there needs to be minimal difference between the equipment and the process environment for either pet or human consumption.

How Can Pigging Help Pet Food Manufacturers?

Growing hygienic concerns and the need for flexibility and increased production capacity in the pet food industry, are increasing the requirement and demand for pigging systems.

Pigging systems use a specialist projectile (the ‘pig’) to recover the liquid product remaining in the pipeline during changeovers. The HPS pig is an extremely effective, high performance, efficient and market-leading projectile that recovers up to 99.5% of product from full pipelines.

For pet food manufacturers, the high recovery rates of the pig equate to higher yields, less waste, improved efficiency, increased profitability and so on. It also equates to lower contamination and cross-contamination risks. This, in turn, improves product quality and reduces the risk of expensive recalls.

Click here to download a Guide to Product Recovery (‘Pigging’) for Pet Food Manufacturers >>>

Pigging Systems in Wide Use in Pet Food Processing

Pigging systems are also advantageous to pet food processors because of their flexibility.

Because pigging removes most of the product from the pipeline, the cleaning and changeover process is much easier, and the same line can be used for different formulations and configurations of product.

In this way, pigging speeds up changeover times, increases production capacity and keeps downtime to a minimum. In some instances, it is possible to process the next product instantly after pigging, for example, if there is a minor change product, colour or flavour.

Automatic Pigging Systems

The need for high-quality products and high levels of safety and hygiene in the pet food industry is also driving the need for pigging solutions that are automated.

Pigging systems can be designed as a manual, semi-automated or fully automated system. Although manual systems offer significant benefits to pet food processors, automated pigging solutions increase these benefits even further and offer high levels of productivity and efficiency.

Automated pigging systems are also advantageous to pet food manufacturers as they increase process speed and ensure extremely high levels of safety while maintaining the maximum microbiological, hygienic and sanitary levels of cleanliness.

Process Pet Food? Contact HPS

If you process pet food and want more information about reducing waste, speeding up changeovers, increasing production capacity and ensuring high levels of safety using pipeline hygienic (sanitary) pigging solutions, then just complete this short form:

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