Range of proteins allows manufacturers to cater for increasing demand for natural, plant-based and sustainable pet food products
BENEO has presented its new toolbox of high quality and non-GMO vegetal proteins. Featuring rice protein, vital wheat gluten and faba bean protein concentrate, with each offering specific nutritional and technical benefits, BENEO’s range of plant-based proteins provides everything manufacturers need to tap into this trend.
Recent figures show 1 in 3 pet food shoppers think that using plant-based ingredients make pet food seem a lot healthier. At the same time, pet food manufacturers are increasingly being faced with lower availability and price volatility, mainly for meat (co)products. As a result, many producers are willing to explore new protein sources and diversify their portfolio. With a range of versatile solutions that can also be combined, BENEO’s vegetal proteins provide high-quality concentrated and non-GMO sources, with excellent amino acid profiles which enable the development of plant-based or hybrid pet foods.
Besides its high protein density of approximately 80%, BENEO’s rice protein offers great nutritional benefits. It is hypoallergenic and highly digestible, making it suitable for pets with allergies, as well as sensitive pets such as puppies and older animals. Therefore, it is a particularly attractive solution to target the approximately 6 in 10 cat and dog owners that are interested in allergen-free pet food.
It is also a good source of several essential amino acids (methionine, cysteine, phenylalanine and tyrosine) that are involved in some major metabolic processes and support a pet’s normal and healthy growth. In addition, rice protein is a clean label ingredient which is perceived as (very) natural by 61% of pet owners globally.
BENEO’s vital wheat gluten also offers a high protein density of approximately 80%. It delivers an interesting amino acid profile, as it is rich in glutamine, which is the preferred fuel for intestinal cells that can help repair damaged cells, as well as tyrosine, which plays an important role in maintaining fur colour. Vital wheat gluten also has strong viscoelastic properties that can improve the texture of different types of pet food and offer great technological and application benefits.
Recent figures show 1 in 3 pet food shoppers think that using plant-based ingredients make pet food seem a lot healthier
For example, it can positively affect the extrusion behaviour in dry pet food, as well as the chunkiness and meat structure in wet pet food. Thanks to its excellent water absorption capacity, it also increases juiciness in semi-moist or wet pet food and is therefore a valuable alternative to spray-dried plasma.
BENEO’s faba bean protein concentrate, listed in the EU Catalogue of Feed Materials, is a good alternative to animal and soy proteins and is suitable for “no grain” claims in pet food. Its amino acid profile is relatively rich in lysine and can nicely complement cereals’ protein, meaning it can notably be blended with rice protein or vital wheat gluten. It also contains quite high levels of glutamine, which improves palatability and supports the growth of intestinal cells, as well as arginine, which is considered to be important for cognitive health.
It has excellent solubility and functional properties, allowing for soft and delicate mousse-like gels, making it particularly suitable for use in wet pet food products. In addition, faba beans benefit from strong sustainability credentials related to their cultivation, BENEO’s local sourcing and production process. These elements are key, considering that more than half of pet owners say they pay attention to sustainability and the carbon footprint as part of their pet food purchasing decisions.
Alongside these benefits, BENEO’s vegetal proteins also offer high to very high digestibility. According to an internal analysis, the company's rice protein and faba bean protein concentrate reach (ileal) digestibility scores close to 90% and vital wheat gluten well above 90%.
BENEO’s toolbox of vegetal proteins, as well as the company’s longstanding nutritional and technical expertise, can help pet food producers to develop innovative recipes that tap into the trend for more natural, plant-based and sustainable options.