Pet food and animal feed quality acceptance have some differences to food products manufactured for human consumption.
For pet food the texture must appeal both to the pet and the pet's owner. How palatable the food is in terms of appearance, smell, taste and texture should make sure the pet eats the product and, with the exception of taste, these attributes should also satisfy human sensory processing.
Food intended for animal consumption is required to meet nutritional and safety criteria, restricting some of the variability possible in the formulation. Once the acceptability criteria are proven there's a great deal of benefit in using texture analysis to quantify the measurable properties.
As with food for human consumption, the correlation to desirable textures involves sensory testing of a range of samples. Obviously the main difficulty is feedback from the subjects - who have heightened senses compared to that of humans. Usually a desirable product is one that is not 'rejected', although experiments can be designed to rate formulation preference.
Dogs (omnivores) and cats (carnivores) make up the majority of the pet food market. Products for daily consumption, treats and veterinary prescribed medication, being the categories of food an owner would supply with a choice of wet or dry formulations.
Texture measurement of animal feed is of most value in maintaining the consistency of palatable products (in changes to ingredients or formulation) and improving shelf life or packaging. Dry food (pellets and biscuits), canned or packaged wet food can be tested in the same way as other consumer products, such as bulk analysis, penetration, shear, snap, tension, etc.
As well as texture our versatile products can also be used to control the quality of pet food packaging e.g. measuring ring pull and seal strength and tear resistance properties.
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