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Paws-ing for Pet Treat R&D

11/8/2019  By Jeannie Swedberg

Paws-ing for Pet Treat R&D

“Leveraging science into Product Innovation” was the theme of the Petfood R&D Showcase last month in Manhattan, (the Little Apple) Kansas. Pet food professionals gathered at K-State for hands-on product development activities – one of which I led, featuring Tree Top fruit ingredients.

In the session, attendees were given a briefing on some of the latest science around pets’ age-related health issues and oxidative stress. In animals, oxidative stress has been linked to: 

  • Heart failure
  • Cognitive decline
  • Chronic inflammation

The result of oxidative stress is that cells are destroyed by free radical molecules because there aren’t enough antioxidants to neutralize them. Supplementing pet diets with antioxidants is a viable way to combat antioxidative stress. And a Harris Poll - Nielsen Report revealed nearly six in 10 dog owners would be interested in fruit & veggie chews.

Formulating antioxidant-rich treats

Once the scientific case was established for creating antioxidant-rich pet treats – I set my group loose with a sample formulation, mixing tools and a palette of antioxidant-rich ingredients.

  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Fruit flake powder
  • Fruit purees
  • Nut butters
  • Fruit, nuts, seeds and grains

They were then left to their own creative devices. It didn’t take long before everyone dove into the ingredients, mixing, matching and rolling different fruit-filled combinations. To complete the development process, we even gave them packaging onto which they could put their own imagery and label callouts. 

Fruits of labor

Although my group was a little reticent at first, once they got started there was no stopping them. The antioxidant-rich, fruit-infused chews they made have simple, wholesome ingredients, no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives and lots of pet parent appeal.

Read our latest white paper: Combatting Oxidative Stress in Companion Animals

Or if you’re feeling left out and want to try your hand at product innovation, please contact us.