Using the Functional Properties of Starch to Enhance Pet Products

Do not be blinded by the word “pet” when deciding product choices. Pet foods undergo as many regulatory issues and processing parameters as do food products for human consumption. There are a few ingredients utilized within pet foods that we do not use in human food products. The care of formulation and product safety, as well as the standards are very high for pet foods. Formulation, processing, and consumer satisfaction is taken very seriously.

Starch utilization is very similar to foods formulated and processed for humans. The canned foods are sterilized with similar standards, therefore requiring starches with similar food approval and functional characteristics. Those pet foods extruded or formed for snacks also require starch and ingredient mixtures requiring similar modification and processing characteristics as those for human consumption.

In some instances, the different eating characteristics between humans and animals are considered and the standards for functionality may be altered to enhance texture or flavor for pets. Hardness and bite are important issues to the pet food manufacturer. What a human may consider hard, a pet would not consider hard enough. This then requires animal eating, tasting, and quality panels for product analysis. These are very similar to human taste panel studies.

The same holds true for diet contribution, digestion, health benefit, fecal discharge, and many other physical and physiological properties. Starch as utilized in pet foods will be dictated by the basic functional properties of the native starch and the acceptance of it by the consumer (the pet).

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