Using a higher ratio of thermal energy to mechanical energy during extrusion of dry pet foods can help manufacturers save money on energy costs, improve digestibility of the pet foods and provide a more natural way of cooking. That leads to this method optimizing traditional types of pet food products and allowing for the development of new, unique products, said Brian Streit, director of pet food and aquatic technology for Wenger Manufacturing, during Petfood Forum Europe 2015.
Traditionally, the extrusion process for dry pet foods has called for a higher ratio of specific mechanical energy (SME, from the equipment itself) to specific thermal energy (STE, from water or steam). Streit shared data from Wenger research showing that flipping the ratio, using more STE than SME, can lower energy costs, improve digestibility of the products, reduce vitamin degradation during processing and provide a positive feeding experience, including improved palatability.
In addition, increasing the ratio of STE provides process flexibility and a wider range of production capability and product characteristics, Streit said, allowing pet food manufacturers to produce products with higher levels of fresh meat and slurries. With this method, producers can improve the product characteristics of such high-meat pet foods as well as high-carbohydrate/reduced calorie pet foods, grain-free pet foods, high-energy/high-protein products and high-fiber products.
Petfood Forum Europe 2015 took place June 10 in Cologne, Germany, in conjunction with Victam International. It enjoyed record attendance of more than 200 pet food professionals from throughout Europe and the world—32 countries in all. That represented a 25% increase over the last edition of the conference in 2011. For more information, visit www.petfoodforumevents.com.