October 13, 2017

AFB International is your Palatability Training Resource

By: Brooke Eiler

Imagine you’ve brought home a new bag of dog food. Your 11-year-old son feeds the dog at evening mealtime. He calls out a few minutes later, “I think the dog is sick; she won’t eat her food.” Your normally enthusiastic canine eater, who often switches foods with lots of excitement and no ill effects, is barely interested in her kibble. You look her over. She seems fine, but you wonder about the new food.

The next day, the same thing happens. So you return to the store to buy your regular brand of dog food. You throw away the unwanted food, and life returns to normal.

This scenario is alarming for pet food professionals. A huge investment in nutrition, quality, food safety, branding and more was made in the new food. The outcome? Failed palatability. And the investment, at least in this one household, was for naught.

Palatability represents a small portion of the overall ingredient spend in pet food, but its value exceeds the spend. If palatability isn’t acceptable, the pet will avoid eating their food under the watchful eye of the pet parent. Palatability helps pet food companies accomplish the critical success factor of the repeat sale, and that’s why it’s critical to understand palatability.

Palatability companies will happily spend time with pet food professionals, educating them about palatability options and considerations. But at the rate the industry is growing and changing, newcomers are joining pet food every day. Fortunately, an e-learning option has become available via Global Pets Academy. The module, entitled “Principles of Palatability,” is designed to help pet food professionals quickly learn about pet food palatability. After completing this course, you will know how to define palatability, the purpose of palatants and how to measure palatability. The cost is €99, but qualifying pet food professionals may be eligible to take the course at no cost by contacting your AFB International Sales Representative or by visiting www.afbinternational.com/contact and contacting the AFB International office in your region.

The investment in understanding pet food palatability pays off in the end: the race to the bowl, wagging tails, contented licking of whiskers and focused eating. Pets happily consume nutritious, high-quality foods; pet parents feel good about the investment they’ve made; and pet food companies successfully introduce diets that benefit two- and four-legged customers.

Take some time to invest in the continuing education of yourself and your team members. Call your palatability provider to ask for in-person palatability education, or visit Global Pets Academy http://globalpets.academy to complete the new “Principles of Palatability” course. Together, we’ll ensure that the investments made in pet food nutrition, quality, food safety and technology bring as much value as possible to the pets and pet parents we serve.

For more information contact Brooke Eiler at beiler@afbinternational.com.


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