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Don’t Let Fear Keep You Out of the Growing Pet Food Market

In a recent blog, Adam Sackett, Sales Director, discussed high growth rates for pet food in developing countries.  Double-digit growth is being realized in many places as more consumers have pets and want to buy, rather than make, quality foods to feed them.

I will be the first to admit that getting into any industry can seem overwhelming.  Even though Insta-Pro manufactures the perfect-sized extruder (see animation here), the MS3000 Medium Shear Extruder, for entering into pet food markets, this is only one part of the process.

The following is a brief description of each major step along the way:

  1. Develop an appropriate (typically following AAFCO guidelines), complete pet food formulation – you need someone with nutritional training for this part
    1. Make sure this product is capable of being extruded. If no one knows, consider process development R&D
  2. Source all of the ingredients you will need for this formulation and appropriately store on site – understand normal variation of the major nutrients with each ingredient.
  3. Add the correct amount of each ingredient into a mixer and blend (note: it may be necessary to grind the diet, without vitamins and minerals, to a finer particle size)
  4. Convey to intermediate storage before controlled feeding into the preconditioner and extruder for cooking and shaping
  5. Dry and cool to a moisture level that will allow long-term storage, while minimizing nutrient damage from the drying process
  6. Screen to remove fine particles
  7. Fats/oils are now surface coated to the kibble to increase the energy content of the diet and make it more appealing
  8. Convey to intermediate storage before bagging the finished kibble for sale

If all of this seems daunting, don’t worry.  Insta-Pro has expertise that goes back many decades, which includes operating a commercial pet food plant and working with pet food start-ups.

In addition, Insta-Pro has a long history of using animal studies to define material quality post-processing.

Research performed at Four Rivers Kennel in Missouri shows how important this is.  The “first bite” test is conducted to measure preference – which diet (both were made using the MS3000 Medium Shear Extruder) was chosen to be consumed before the other one?


Interestingly, the dog kibble containing extruded/pressed (ExPress®) soy meal was actually preferred over a more traditional dog formulation without any soy.

In other work, stool scores – indicators of digestion – were measured.  This time, a wet extruder (often used to make pet food) was also used to make one of the treatments.

Stool score (optimum is a score of 3 on this scale) was not affected by either diet (control vs. ExPress® soy meal) or extruder type (MS3000 vs. wet extruder) – in practical terms, the dogs did not have diarrhea or hard stools with any diet or extruder.

Insta-Pro has you covered with plant design, product development, extrusion, animal feeding to evaluate quality, services after the sale and everything in between.  Allow us to ease your initial fears as we help you enter the growing market for pet food, give us a call.