Wageningen University pioneers a groundbreaking method to assess pet food quality directly in pet owners' homes. This innovative approach promises a swift, accurate evaluation of pet food digestibility and palatability, catering to the discerning tastes of today's pet owners.
Wageningen University & Research (WUR) has unveiled groundbreaking guidelines for testing pet food quality within the confines of pet owners' homes, revolutionizing traditional quality assurance methods. Conducted over just a few days, this novel 'in-home' testing method involves observing pets' adaptation to new food and collecting fecal samples to gauge digestibility. By involving pet owners in the testing process, the study acknowledges the importance of consumer perspectives in the pet food industry.
Remarkably, dogs and cats can indicate their food preferences within a short timeframe, streamlining the testing process. With an eye on individual pet characteristics, such as breed, age, and activity level, researchers emphasize the need for tailored test groups to ensure precise outcomes. This variation is important in selecting the test groups and determining the size thereof. ‘The number of animals that should be included per test depends on the desired precision of the results, the food and the variability of the population’, says Evelien Bos who obtained her PhD in this unique study. ‘The more variation in, for example, age, the more animals are required to achieve a precise test outcome.’
The role of the pet owner is pivotal; their observations and interpretations contribute crucial insights, underscoring the importance of their involvement in the testing process.
With 35 billion tons of pet food produced globally last year, valued at 110 billion euros and expected to reach 150 billion euros within a few years, this innovative approach addresses the growing demand for high-quality pet nutrition.