Meals that Matter
Superfood ingredients and novel proteins offer pets potential health
benefits as well as mealtime excitement.
BY LIZE TT BOND
Pet food and treats have lately seen a proliferation of the inclu- sion of superfood and novel ingredients. Nutritionally dense superfoods are believed to deliver their share of healthful benefits, such as fighting disease, boosting energy and maintaining good
health. Novel proteins provide their own nutritional advantages,
including possibly alleviating allergy issues or simply providing
“As consumers understand more about their own diets, they are
also demanding better ingredients and recipes that will liven up meal-
time for their pets,” said Chanda Leary-Coutu, director of consumer
experience for WellPet in Tewksbury, Mass. “Novel ingredients check
both of those boxes.”
Protein is one of the main causes of dietary intolerance, and as
concern for food sensitivities in pets continues to grow, determining
the ingredient a pet is reacting to can be a challenge, said Annabelle
Immega, trade marketing manager for Petcurean Pet Nutrition in
Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada.
Lonnie Schwimmer, president of Koha Pet Food in Delray Beach,
Fla., noted that proteins such as kangaroo, venison or guinea fowl,
which might not have been fed to a pet previously, can lower the
chances of developing these issues.
When it comes to determining an already-present food sensitivity,
Joni Anderson, practice manager for T.H.E. Cat Hospital in Tustin,
Calif., and T.H.E. Westside Cat Practice in Marina Del Rey, Calif., said
that consumer education is crucial.
“Food trials are very regimented and specific, and everyone in the
pet’s household must be aware of the ingredient being eliminated,
which could be hidden in an innocently fed treat,” she said.
By feeding recipes with superfood ingredients, owners feel their
pets are receiving a balance of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals
while providing more flavors and textures to enjoy at mealtime,
A wide range of beneficial, nutrient-rich superfoods are now avail-
able, said Ann Hudson, vice president of marketing for Whitebridge
Pet Brands in St. Louis. For example, ingredients such as pumpkin,
which is an easily digested source of vitamins A and C, coconut for
skin health, or mung beans, which support good bacterial flora, are
finding their way into dog and cat foods and treats.
“Superfoods offer a new way to deliver superior nutrition, with
recognizable ingredients that we already know are beneficial,” Hudson said.
For these reasons, pet owners seeking natural solutions to address
common pet health concerns often turn to superfoods, said Joe Livermore, director of sales and marketing for Blackwood Pet Food, a
brand of Lisbon, Ohio-based BrightPet Nutrition Group.
While consumer motivations to purchase foods containing novel
proteins and superfood ingredients are many, Anne Carlson, founder
and CEO of Jiminy’s in Berkeley, Calif., noted that many pet owners
might simply be seeking variety.
“Consumers don’t want to eat the same thing every day and believe that their ‘baby’ feels the same way,” she said. “We want our
pets to live a long, healthy life, and choosing the best food possible
can help make this a reality.”
Packed with antioxidants, fruits such as
blueberries and cranberries are showing up in
ingredient panels for pet foods and treats.