Updated: Feb 13, 2021
Traceability in pet food is a growing demand from owners who not only want to feed quality, healthy food to their pets, but also want to know where it comes from.
For pet food manufacturers - the big ones and the little ones, the ability to track where ingredients are sourced provides confidence to the pet owner and also enables the producer to solve biosecurity issues as and if they arise.
In the U.S, the pet food industry is overseen by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The aim of these organisations is to ensure pet food is truthfully labelled. As many pet owners are aware however there has been great interpretation in the labeling of pet food and this has been a factor in driving more and more animal lovers to species appropriate, raw and clean diets.
With around 80% of U.S pet food owners indicating (Mintel report) the quality of their pet's food is as important as their own and showing an increased understanding of pet health, and a willingness to spend more for the right food, the importance of traceability is a vital factor.
Farm to bowl, grain free and traceability as a factor have all become key marketing buzz words over the last few years. SWK Technologies articles of February 2020 stated "the rush to grain-free products in particular has highlighted the weakness of existing traceability controls".
As the pet food market continues to mature, competition for quality products with true traceability will become even more paramount.
One of the most effective ways to ensure traceability is to look local. If you have a local farmer's market (online at present most like Augusta Locally Grown), you will find a direct connection to farmers - many of whom offer a premium brand like Brown Dawg Bites who can provide you with full traceability - direct from the farm to the bowl.
Approaching pet food producers - big or small - corporate or the local farmer, knowing exactly where your pet's food comes from and even how it is cared for and raised is one part of responsible pet ownership and an ethical consumer.