Pet food is a specialty food formulated to meet the nutritional needs of domesticated animals. Pet foods typically consist of meat, meat by-products, grains, cereals, vitamins, and minerals. In the United States, approximately 300 manufacturers produce more than 7 million tons of pet food each year, one of the largest categories of all packaged foods. Pet owners can choose from more than 3,000 different pet foods, including dry, canned, and semi-wet foods, as well as snacks such as cookies, coarse ground foods, and treats.
Commercially produced pet food originated as a dry, biscuit-style dog food developed in England in 1860. Soon after, manufacturers produced more complex formulas that included nutrients then considered essential for dogs. In the early 1900s, prepackaged pet foods were also available in the United States. Initially, they consisted primarily of dry cereals, but after World War I, dog food made from canned horse meat appeared. the 1930s ushered in canned cat food and dry meat meal types of dog food. some innovations of the 1960s were dry cat food, dry puffed dog food, and semi-wet pet food.
Beginning in the 1980s, trends in the pet food market included an increase in demand for dry food and a decrease in demand for canned food. Studies have shown that softer canned dog food is more likely to cause gum disease than dry food. Overall, increased public health awareness has led to increased interest in more nutritious and science-based pet food formulations, such as life-cycle products for younger and older pets, and therapeutic foods for specific pet health conditions, such as weight loss and urinary problems. Pet food manufacturers are also more inclined to use less fatty tissue and tallow more protein-rich tissue. Finally, the pet snack category is growing in popularity, with products including jerky snacks, sausage-shaped blocks, cookies, and cookie blocks called coarse grinds.
Pet Food &nb
The general manufacturing process for pet foods is similar to that for processed foods, except for the ingredients. The meat products used in pet foods must first be refined or processed to separate the water, fat and protein components, including soft offal (giblets) and hard offal (e.g., bones and hooves). Typically, the meat is refined by an outside company and shipped to the pet food manufacturer. Meat products for canned foods must be delivered fresh and used within three days. Frozen meat products can be used in dry foods.
The manufacturing process involves grinding and cooking the meat and meat by-products. Next, the meat is mixed with other meat
Pet food ingredients, and if the recipe requires, the mixture is formed into the proper shape. The finished product is packed into containers and shipped to distributors.
Innovations in pet food processing and packaging have resulted in higher quality products and longer shelf life. Vacuum-packed canned dog food has a shelf life of three to five years and is very stable, with little loss of nutritional value. Dry dog food, on the other hand, has a shelf life of 10 to 12 months and requires the addition of preservatives, although some manufacturers are using natural preservatives such as vitamins E and C.
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