Applications > Pet Nutrition > Appeal to Pet Owner Demands for Freshness with Real Ingredients

Appeal to Pet Owner Demands for Freshness with Real Ingredients

Cynthia Rasmussen | June 2021

dog staring at pile of treats

Maintain pet food product freshness, quality and taste over shelf life while using kitchen-friendly ingredients consumers trust and understand

According to a recent survey of U.S. dog and cat owners, as many as 90% of pet owners agree it is important to read ingredient labels before making a pet food or treat purchase. For 80% of pet owners, freshness is a key purchase influencer, regardless of their pet’s food type. Kerry EverWild™ is a newly created line of solutions that use kitchen-friendly ingredients such as dairy, celery and vinegar to help maintain product freshness, quality and pet food palatability over shelf life to deliver the fresh appeal pet owners seek with ingredients they trust and understand.

The power of ingredient recognition

Innova reports that products with a “no additives/preservatives” claim accounted for 40% of new global pet product development in 2020, higher than any other ingredient-related claim. The “free-from” movement, once filling a niche need for natural pet food ingredients, is now table stakes to compete in the super-premium pet food market. A third of pet owners are willing to spend 25% more for products that include recognisable ingredients. The EverWild portfolio and Kerry’s dedicated pet team can help manufacturers of wet, semi-moist, fresh or frozen pet food and treats add value to their formulas with label-friendly ingredients while maintaining fresh taste and appearance over shelf life.

Consumer perceptions of freshness is evolving

Freshness is a trending topic within the pet food industry but is most closely associated with the fresh food finished product format. However, freshness has broad and universal significance for all pet food shoppers, regardless of the food they purchase. When asked which attributes consumers most closely associate with product freshness, 62% said “made with real ingredients” is most important.

Fresh pet food shoppers place the highest value on freshness, however, nearly half of wet pet food shoppers also feel strongly that freshness is an important purchase driver. The EverWild range of solutions may help pet food and treat manufacturers build stronger “fresh” positioning across multiple food formats by including recognisable pet food ingredients while also supporting improved colour development and maintaining fresh taste and quality over shelf life.

Maintaining product freshness may also play a role in helping reduce food waste. A quarter of wet food shoppers indicate they throw away at least 10% of their pet’s food because it expires or is no longer perceived to be suitable for consumption. Around 86% of pet owners are concerned about the safety of their pet’s food, including issues such as bacterial growth or foodborne illness; this increases to 97% amongst fresh pet food shoppers. Maintaining fresh taste, appearance, and aroma for even an extra day or two may help reduce food waste and support sustainability initiatives.

For more than 150 years, Kerry technologies have been protecting and perfecting food and beverages with natural preservatives. The addition of EverWild to Kerry’s portfolio allows pet food and treat manufacturers to combine our consumer-friendly food protection solutions with our dedicated team of pet food manufacturing and formulation experts to help ensure pet foods and treats are safe, fresh and flavourful from first sniff to last bite.

Contact us to learn how Kerry EverWild can help your business incorporate real ingredients to maintain product freshness.