Change is good the pet food sector in general is improving. Time for the

Sixteen years back, when WDJ first evaluated the "superior" section of the dry dog food marketplace, we did not find many products that met our selection criteria. The firms that made foods that top quality would be considered by us were not well known and modest. A large proportion of foods out there included abominable fixings (including "meat and bone meal" and "animal fat") and the firms that created them weren't really consumer-friendly--and utterly contemptuous of a consumer-oriented newsletter with canine well-being activist readers! The firms that offered the highest-quality goods in the marketplace, the greatest of the very best, were reticent about producing places and their ingredient sources. That was this is. Now, the section of the marketplace generally attributed by the pet food sector as (variably) natural, holistic, or superb superior (none of those being legal definitions) has experienced positively volatile increase. The complete pet food market has exploded, but the operation of the kind of products which satisfy our selection criteria (detailed on pages 6-7) has been outstanding.

So that it will not come as a surprise that the largest players in the pet food sector have taken notice; some have been taking measures that are experimental in this path for a number of years. And now, companies like Colgate Palmolive's Hill's Pet Nutrition and Procter & Gamble's Eukanuba offer products which satisfy with the selection criteria of WDJ. You may inquire, "Are those foods really better than they used to be? Or does WDJ's selection criteria need to be strict?"

The clear answer is "Yes" to both questions.
What is GOING ON
"Consumer demand" gets the credit for the recent developments in formulas at bigger-scale pet food manufacturing companies. After years of defending merchandises, formulas, and their ingredients, the clever businesses have found methods to provide products using the type of ingredients that discerning pet owners need to find out on the label. It is doubly clever, because these changes really give them a leg up on their contest, even though they're new to the superb superior" market. Big firms typically own and operate their very own manufacturing plants, which regularly contributes to more consistent creation (and fewer quality control failures and recalls) than small-scale businesses, which nearly always must rely on third party "contract manufacturers" to make their foods. (There are lots of great co-packers out there, but when difficulties do happen, it is consistently tougher to get a pet food business to find out the issue's true cause and take steps to keep it from occurring again whenever they're not the ones in the helm of the production facility.)Additionally, massive firms possess the financial backing needed to compose large ingredient procurement contracts. This way, the largest, most consistent national sources of some fixings can be essentially locked up by them. Consumer demand also appears to be partly accountable for the change in approaches by the pet food companies' customer service and public relations people. The blanket excuse, "Sorry, that is proprietary information," is increasingly rejected as a valid answer by consumers who will willingly pay top dollar to get a dependable product from a communicative business. Should you can not get a straight answer to a few fundamental questions about the business's ingredient sources or making place, or call an organization and either can not reach a live human being, well you've choices. You can (and should) say, "Well, thanks but no thanks; I think purchase my dog's food elsewhere."

MORE CAN BE BETTER
Here's another tendency in the marketplace, and one that empowers big pet food businesses defend and to preserve their bestselling products and offer products that are newer with formulas that fly in the surface of the corporate history: the fast proliferation of products and new lines. Each size of every product is provided a unique "stock keeping unit" (SKU, pronounced "skew") identification number. A decade ago, it was typical to get a modest-sized firm that sold "natural/holistic" dry dog foods to provide three to five formulas, with each merchandise offered in maybe three different bag sizes--in this instance, a maximum of 15 SKUs. Nowadays, even small firms and the bigger pet food manufacturers could have tons of SKUs and hundreds, respectively. There are a few reasons for the upsurge of SKUs. At some point, the pet food businesses recognized the more pointedly their products seemed to be aimed at dogs that were particular, the better they sold. Why can you get a food for "mature" dogs when you're able to purchase one that is only for Yorkshire Terriers? Or, instead, for "little indoor dogs," or "toy dog strain senior" dogs? It is quite appealing to believe the food has unique characteristics making it right for the pet. Some stress may also ease on the area of the owner who is not certain about which particular food they need to purchase.

Consumers will also be funny about product sizes; they enjoy having more choices than an extremely big tote and only an extremely little. Also, a lot of SKUs in just about any shop that is particular has a strong affect on consumers in the shop. Think about it: It makes a large impression in the event you are walking down a long pet food aisle and you also come into a segment that's nothing but Pup Crunchies Brand foods from floor to ceiling for about 12 linear feet, as well as the totes are sizes and different colours. Hey! This Pup Crunchies business must actually be something! And ultimately, as mentioned before, it provides a chance to provide products of varying quality--and price points that are corresponding to the enormous pet food businesses. In this way, they provide their more conventionally invented and can be involved in the natural/holistic/superior marketplace -priced foods, also.

ANOTHER STEP
A few of you may cynical regarding the seriousness of a number of the businesses on our yearly "approved dry dog foods" list (the 2013 list appears in this issue, beginning on page 8). Personally, I am not unhappy to find the business shift toward using better fixings in more merchandises; the changes can lead to a national net increase in the amount of dogs eating foods that are better. And in the event the pet food businesses that are serious about competing in the "super premium" marketplace are enhancing their transparency and consumer relations, all of US win. But with mainstream pet food manufacturing companies now selling foods with ingredient lists which are comparable to products which were on WDJ's "authorized foods" lists for years, what'll the firms together with the most profound devotion to super-superior, ne plus ultra foods do to stay in front of the sport? I understand what ground-breaking growth I Had like to find, although I do not understand what they will do! The thing is, it is not now possible -- because it is sort of against the law, although not as it can not be done.

TASTES LIKE CHICKEN
Longtime readers understand that WDJ has consistently advocated selecting products that have entire, called meat meals or meats --for instance, chicken or chicken meal. This type of ingredient is definitely described as the most effective way to obtain animal protein you'll locate on a dog food label --and I've in turn encouraged it to me. I have slowly become conscious, though, that there's fairly an assortment of products which are offered to pet food businesses that will all really be legally described as, by way of example, "chicken."First, I would like to describe what goes on in a meat processing plant. The main assignment of the plants would be to convert lately living creatures for human consumption into various cuts of meat. The most precious products which come from a meat plant would be the large cuts (believe roasts, steaks, chops, or in case of poultry, entire fowl bodies, breasts, and legs), however there are plenty of smaller bits of meat that get used in things like hot dogs or soup.

Every little meat that's likely to be utilized for human food is managed in a strictly appointed manner, so that you can be kept clean as it goes down the production line; and just as each little was processed to its intended state, it's cooled, whether in a bundle for retail sale or in substantial wholesale containers. Along the production lines, however, there are plenty of areas where specific bits of meat are separated from the goods which are headed to human ingestion. These contain whole or parts of carcasses of creatures that, for various possible reasons, failed to pass review after slaughter; particular areas of the creature that failed review down the line; things that fell on the floor; miniature touches of trimmings; and, in case of poultry, meaty bones (including necks, wings, and "frameworks"--the primary body of the fowl after all the meat continues to be stripped from it). You can find places all along the meat processing line where several of those substances are redirected to bins which are plainly marked "inedible"--the legal word for meat that cannot be employed for human ingestion.

Unlike "edible" meats, inedible meats do not have to be kept cooled once they've been redirected to an "inedible" bin (cooling keeps any bacteria that may be present from proliferating). Obviously, they are able to be kept cooled, but once they are redirected to inedible meat containers, they need to be "denatured" (marked using a material, generally powdered charcoal, to further identify them as inedible) and stowed separately from any edible goods in the plant. Usually, however, inedible meats will not be cooled, but are redirected for transfer directly to a renderer or to pet food businesses, where they'll be made into a meat meal. Bacterial pollution of the stuff does not appear to worry anyone; it is generally accepted that any bacteria present will be killed during creation of the pet food (extrusion or baking) or leaving of the meat meal.