Pet Food Flavors – Rosemary as a Natural Antioxidant Pt. 1

Trends in the pet food sector are nipping at the heels of the human sector.  Why not?  We all love our dogs and cats, so let’s treat them to all the comforts, safety, and choices that we have.  They are members of our families.  With stores constantly updating “negative ingredient lists” and consumers becoming savvier and more aware of labeling and ingredient functionality, we strive to include natural, functional quality ingredients to protect our pets.  Protection of the food or treat, as well as protection of nutrition, starts early in the process. Trilogy’s antioxidants provide stability and security to the pet “digest” flavors during processing and increase palatability. Not only are the flavors themselves protected, but they in turn protect the entire product from lipid oxidation and loss of palatability.  Fats and oils are necessary to a food’s nutritional value and palatability, but fat is highly susceptible to oxidation.

Oxidation produces many off notes, especially rancidity, which can be offensive to pet owners who can perceive the food as spoiled, unhealthy, and potentially dangerous to their pets.  Oxidation also alters the nutritional value of the end product.  As stated, oxidation is an issue to manage from early on in the process:  renderers of meals, producers of flavors/digests, and pet food manufacturers must strategically utilize antioxidants to preserve flavor/palatability as well as the overall nutritional value of the food.

One issue of particular concern when it comes to palatibility is lipid oxidation. Lipid oxidation is a process that is commonly measured by Peroxide Value (PV).  PV measures the hyperperoxides, which are odorless and colorless.  During the decomposition process of oxidation, aldehydes are formed (eg. Hexanal) which cause the rancid off notes.  This is a chain reaction process by which the free radicals formed continue to interact with non-radicals and cause accumulation of these components.  This causes the PV to increase and is characterized by off notes and rancidity as the aldehydes are formed. 

Antioxidants are key to interrupting this chain reaction and preventing aldehyde formation.  Utilization of TEI’s antioxidant technology during processing and upon product completion significantly protect the flavors, food, and palatability.  TEI’s Natural Rosemary Blend antioxidant has been shown to significantly inhibit oxidation of lipids found in pet food and pet food flavors*.  This keeps the food more palatable, fresh looking/tasting, and safe.   Foods will last longer, remain palatable longer, and be label friendly.  TEI’s dedication to farmers and proprietary extraction and distillation technology has created an antioxidant that has greater retention of phenolic compounds and actives.  This leads to significantly increased OSI (Oxidative Stability Index), reduced PV (Peroxide Value), and reduction of hexanal formation.  Hexanal is a major cause for palatability loss.  When compared to current Rosemary blends on the market (pfaulox), TEI’s FSBlend used at equal levels (0.10%) increases OSI 148-226% and reduces PV by 31%.   When used at half the level (0.05%) the TEI blend increased OSI 75-150% and reduced PV 17%.  When compared to current BHA/BHT blends on the market, TEI’s FSBlend used at equal levels (0.05%) increases OSI 95-169%.  No significant PV reduction was observed.  It is critical that pet food manufacturers incorporate antioxidants as part of their safety and palatability process.  This not only protects the food and flavors from oxidation during processing, but also ensures a stable, healthy, and palatable product for shelf life.

Consumers are linking short, simple, and easy to read ingredient statements with healthy choices for themselves and their pets. Natural antioxidants, like those found in rosemary, are a highly effective and healthy alternative to the synthetic antioxidants commonly used in the pet food industry.

*All testing was completed in poultry fat that was heated to 135F and 210F for 60 minutes.  Controls were prepared for the study, and only reached ambient temperatures.  This initial study needs to be expanded and run longer in order to assess to potential for our antioxidant to keep the hexanal from forming.

Doug Gledhill

Doug Gledhill is a pet food flavor consultant with 30+ years of experience in the flavor industry. His expertise includes specializations in beverage, sweet, and pet food flavors. Doug owns several patents for flavored products and has a publication with the Society of Flavor Chemists. He is skilled in flavor compounding, sensory analysis, Maillard reaction flavors, spray drying, protein hydrolysis, product development, R&D stage gate, Six Sigma, Lean, QA/QC, and DOE/modelling (Design of Experiments). Prior to working with Trilogy, Doug worked for Proctor & Gamble for 12 years, and AFB International for 8 years. He has owned his own business for the past 5 years where he offers consulting services for flavor and product development. Doug graduated summa cum laude from Columbia College with degrees in Chemistry and Biology.