Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Weighing the Difference: Protein Slurry vs. Protein Meal




Dry kibble pet food labels can be confusing to interpret because some of the main ingredients are not what they appear. Ingredients in pet food are listed in descending order by their weight. This predominance by weight includes the water weight when the product is mixed and not the actual weight after the product has been extruded, baked or dried. For example, a dry kibble which uses an ingredient such as “beef” as the first ingredient, which is actually an emulsified slurry, will contain anywhere from 55% to 65% water pre-extrusion and drying. So if the recipe is 70% beef and 30% potato, this company could legally market its diet as containing 70% meat and 30% potato.


Let’s Do The Math
If beef was 70 pounds at 55% moisture and dried potato flakes were 30 pounds at 10% moisture going in to the extruder, once this product is extruded and dried down to 10% moisture (the moisture level required for stable shelf life of dry kibble) a huge percentage shift in ingredient weight has occurred. The 70 pounds of beef, which contained 55% moisture, now contains 10% moisture is reduced down to 35.35 pounds and the potato, which went in at 10% moisture, still weighs 30 pounds in the end product. AAFCO allows a company to say a product like this includes 70% meat and 30% potato when in reality the end product has approximately 55% meat at 10% moisture and 45% potato at 10% moisture.

Example of a Kibble Formula Using Fresh Beef
How an Ingredient panel is allowed to appear:
Ingredients

Pounds of Ingredients
in a 3,300lb Batch
Beef (Fresh Meat slurry containing 55% moisture)
1,000
Potato Flakes (Goes in at 10% moisture)
700
Oats (Goes in at 10% moisture)
700
Rice (Goes in at 10% moisture)
700
Beef Fat (Sprayed on after processing and drying)
200
Total Pre-Extruded weight of batch mixture
3,300


How the same Ingredient Panel would appear if put in actual order of final processed weight of each ingredient:
Ingredients
Pounds
Potato Flakes (Still at 10% moisture)
700
Oats (Still at 10% moisture)
700
Rice (Still at 10% moisture)
700
Beef (Fresh Meat now extruded and dried down to 10% moisture)
505
Beef Fat (Sprayed on after processing and drying)
200
Total Yield of batch after extrusion and drying
2,805

As you can see the final product is not meat based food but a potato, oat and rice based diet. The highest protein the example above could be guaranteed for is 24% protein.

Now, take a look at the example below using Beef Meal.

Example of a Kibble Formula Using Beef Meal
How an Ingredient panel appears:
Ingredients

Pounds of Ingredients
in a 3,300lb Batch
Beef Meal (Goes in at 10% moisture)
1,000
Potato Flakes (Goes in at 10% moisture)
700
Oats (Goes in at 10% moisture)
700
Rice (Goes in at 10% moisture)
700
Beef Fat (Sprayed on after processing and drying)
200
Total Pre-Extruded weight of batch mixture
3,300


How the same Ingredient Panel would appear if put in actual order of final processed weight of each ingredient:
Ingredients
Pounds
Beef Meal (Goes in at 10% moisture)
1,000
Potato Flakes (Goes in at 10% moisture)
700
Oats (Goes in at 10% moisture)
700
Rice (Goes in at 10% moisture)
700
Beef Fat (Sprayed on after processing and drying)
200
Total Yield of batch after extrusion and drying
3,300

This example could easily be guaranteed for, well over, 30% protein.

Meal Means More
The same quality meat and poultry can be used to make high quality “meals” which have the moisture already removed. These quality meals also contain an excellent amino acid profile contrary to what some people incorrectly say. Using high quality meals also allows a manufacturer to put more animal protein into a diet because the water has already been removed.

The Real Picture
For many companies, putting “meat” or “poultry” as the first ingredient is purely a marketing ploy which is misleading the consumer as to how much real meat protein is in the final, dried product. If the actual end dried weight of the “meat” or “poultry” was listed by their weight after the product is dried, then these ingredients would be listed much further down in the products ingredients list and would never be listed as the number one ingredient.

What about Nature’s Logic?
Nature’s Logic achieves high protein content in its kibble by using dried forms of quality beef, chicken, duck, lamb, fish, venison, and rabbit from the beginning of the dry food production process. Using dried meal, instead of fresh or frozen protein sources, results in a higher final protein content in our dry foods. For more on Nature's Logic click here.

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