August 11, 2014


By: Kris Figge

Palatability enhancers—or palatants—are ingredient systems specially designed to make pet foods, treats and supplements taste better to companion animals. Sometimes they also make such products more appealing to the humans who purchase them, too.

As technical sales manager at AFB International, my focus is on working with customers to improve the palatability of their cat and dog food products. That means assisting with palatant selection and application techniques, as well as troubleshooting plant-related issues. I also collaborate with customers to formulate special palatants to meet diet claims, like grain-free and natural.

Liquid, Dry or Both?
Palatants fall into two basic categories—liquid and dry—which may be used alone or in combination. Some low-end economy dog and cat foods don’t use palatants, but almost all premium and super-premium foods use one or more.


Palatant Matchmaking

To help customers choose the best palatant(s) for their product and parameters, we ask a series of questions, including:

• What level of palatability is required? Do you have a competitive or off-the-shelf target—or simply desire a certain level of animal acceptance?

• What type of palatant can you use without adding any equipment or other capital expense? Liquid, dry or both? What kind of coating equipment do you have?

What type of diet are you making? For example, is it grain-based or meat-based? Is it a main meal or a treat? If it’s a treat, is it semi-moist or baked?

What is an acceptable upcharge per ton for the palatant? Can you afford a combination of liquid and dry palatants? Note: For dog diets, it’s more important to afford a liquid palatant. For cat diets, a dry palatant is more important.

What are the regulatory considerations? Are there any protein or ingredient restrictions in the country of origin or sale? Is the palatant for an organic product?

What else might we need to know to meet your needs? We may learn, for instance, that a customer needs assistance conducting palatability testing or some information about a current palatant in use that would be helpful.

Liquid and dry palatants each have unique applications, advantages and challenges. In my next two blog posts, I’ll focus on liquid palatants and dry palatants, respectively, with a quick overview designed to help you learn when and how each of these flavor enhancers are used.

If you have questions about palatants, contact me via email or phone, check out other posts here at or visit us at


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