Healthy Pet Food In High Demand

Healthy Pet Food In High Demand

There's exciting news in the pet food industry this week as studies find that demand for healthy pet food is at a high level as pet parents continue to want “quality”, “nutritional” and “healthy” food for their fur children according to research by market research agency FMCG Gurus. This is music to our ears given THE PACK pride ourself on providing market leading quality, nutritional and healthy plant-powered food for dogs. 

What Did The Study Find?

The new global survey has been conducted with 2,500 dog and cat parents in the US, Brazil, UK, Germany, and China.

The study found that over half of respondents are willing to pay a price premium for pet food with health-promoting ingredients that have been scientifically proven! This is exactly what THE PACK's wet food and dried food is all about, as pet parents ourselves our mission has always been to create science based dog food that is packed full of functional ingredients to improve health and digestion. 

The research demonstrated that even though almost nine in 10 surveyed pet parents feel that pet food prices have risen in the last year, only one in six pet parents globally have turned to cheaper products or brands as a result. Most are staying “loyal” to their favourite brands. In fact, the report highlighted that price is considered “less important” when buying pet food as ingredient quality, nutritional value, taste and health claims are seen as most important.

Over half of respondents are even willing to pay a price premium for pet food with health-promoting ingredients that have been scientifically proven. The survey results also reflected that more than four in five pet parents consider their pet’s health to be as important as their own. Now this is a stat that we can certainly agree with as the fur children at THE PACK are our absolute world, our babies, our family. 

Increased Awareness & Appreciation Of The Benefits Of Gut Health

This makes sense when us pet parents have the pleasure of picking up our doggo's poop a 1-2 times a day (over 700 times a year) and we know there's nothing more satisfying than a nice firm, healthy looking poop. That's a key sign your dog and their gut is healthy and thriving.

The link between dogs digestive health and overall health is also more widely recognised by pet owners, with over three in four cat and dog owners understanding that the digestive system has a positive influence on many aspects beyond the gut, such as bone condition, mental and physical wellbeing and the immune system.

As a result, brands (like THE PACK) that offer products that “promotes digestive health naturally” and “easy-to-digest” are much more likely to be the food of choice for pet parents that are aware of gut health benefits. 

Additionally, the survey revealed that most pet owners opt for a “proactive” and “natural” approach to nurturing their pet’s digestive health, with more than one in three saying that they feed their pets food that features claims to support digestive health.

According to the study, the digestive health claims with the biggest effect on pet parents’ purchase interests are: “digestive comfort and well-being”, “promotes digestive health naturally” and “supports a healthy and balanced digestive system”. In addition, almost half of pet owners associate prebiotics with gut health.

At THE PACK, we a huge advocates for supporting gut health and digestion, that's why our Oven Baked Crunchy Feast  is formulated to support a healthy gut microbiome as it includes a sprinkle of pre- and post-biotics (along with functional ingredients), meaning your dog’s digestion will be healthier than ever! THE PACK’s kibble acts like a multivitamin for your dog's immune system, digestive health and wellbeing. You’ll see this reflected in healthy stools, a waggier tail (our food helps maintain vitality) and livelier, more playful pups. Our food also supports joints for more comfortable walks and, best of all, a more active and longer life. 

Protein Quality Is Top Of Mind For Pet Parents

The study also found that protein quality and content are important for seven in 10 respondents.

A packet of THE PACK’s oven baked dried food contains five major sources of plant protein, supplying no less than 25g protein per 100g. To put that in context, adult dogs need 18-25% protein to maintain their health, which means we’re delivering an perfectly adequate dose. But what’s most important is the quality of that protein and, as we’ve seen, THE PACK put the emphasis on the very best natural ingredients. Crafted with an expert pet food technologist and nutritionist, their oven baked kibble is 100% nutritionally complete.

THE PACK’s use of plant-protein and plant-based ingredients is beneficial to pet parents who are looking for dog food for dogs with sensitive stomachs, dogs with animal-based protein allergies or dogs with conditions such as IBD, where they require a novel protein dog food. In fact, studies found that the most common food allergens in dogs are animal-based proteins, especially those from dairy, beef, chicken, chicken eggs, soy, or wheat gluten. Each time a pet eats food containing these substances, the antibodies react with the antigens, and symptoms occur. So, you will be relieved to see that THE PACK’s protein sources are all allergen friendly, as we do not use soy protein which is commonly used by other plant-based dog food brands as it is a lower cost protein source.

The other key thing with protein is how digestible it is. There’s no point in supplying lots of great amino acids if your dogs can’t break them down and use them within their bodies. The Vet Times states that the digestibility of dry matter in dog foods should be more than 80% and having tested their kibble carefully in the lab (cruelty free, of course) they found that the digestibility of their dried food protein is over 93%. That means your dog is absorbing more protein, nutrients, and essential fatty acids than most of those hounds eating meaty kibble.

Sustainability Matters

In addition, sustainability claims are considered to some extent by four in five pet parents when choosing food for their fur children. With more than half of cat and dog parents considering plant-based proteins to be better for the environment, vegetable ingredient sources with sustainability credentials are of increasing relevance.

When it comes to sustainability, there's no other brand like THE PACK on the market currently. Our mission is do things differently and lead the way in innovation to transform the traditional pet food industry. Our aim is to make truly delicious dog food that not only tastes amazing but is packed with functional ingredients to support health. All while taking a bit out of climate change through our low co2e products and production processes. For example, our No-Moo Ragu uses up to 17.6x less CO2e than a beef based equivalent.

In case you did not know, THE PACK recently celebrated becoming Europe’s 1st Plant-Past Pet Food brand to become a Certified B-Corporation. This means that when it comes to sustainability and claims, you can trust THE PACK as we have been through a through process and assessment to become a B Corp. 

What Exactly Is In THE PACK’s Dry Food That Will Help Your Dogs Health?

If you’ve tried THE PACK before then you are used to the myriad of premium plant-powered superfoods in our recipes. If you're yet to try us then we're delighted to explain the benefits of some our our ingredients to you:

Our Oven Baked Crunchy Feast is packed with...

  • Algae Oil, high in omega-3 to help maintain shiny coats and supple skin and joints, while reducing inflammation.
  • Apple, bursting with vitamins A & C and dietary fibre. A dose of apple a day really does keep the veterinarian away!
  • Beetroot, loaded with fibre, vitamins and minerals to benefit skin, coat and digestion. 
  • Blueberry, with juicy antioxidants, fibre and vitamins C & K to support immune system and wellbeing.
  • Chamomile, helping your pooch relax after a stressful peemail. 
  • Cranberry, a superfood packed with antioxidants. These tiny red grenades support canine bladder health and immune system, while being high in potassium and manganese which promote growth and strong bones.
  • Dried Alfalfa, rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamins. Yet another anti-inflammatory ingredient, alfalfa can support kidney and joint health.
  • Dried Algae, delivering protein, iron, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids to support brain development, immune, joint and nerve system health. That one really is a hero ingredient!
  • Dried Chicory, a natural source of FOS and inulin. This is an effective prebiotic to support healthy gut bacteria and improve your pup’s immune system. 
  • Green Peas, protein rich with fibre, lutein, vitamins A, C, K and iron. Off the tennis court, these should become your dog’s new favourite green balls!
  • Hydrolyzed Yeast, super tasty and far more nutritious than any meat-based ‘secret sauce’, yeast contains the antioxidants and B vitamins needed to maintain healthy skin and coat.
  • Linseed, high in fibre and protein to support doggy digestive health and immune system.
  • Naked Oats, offering a great source of omega-6 for strong and healthy skin.
  • Olive Oil, rich in phytonutrients, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids to keep that skin moist and nourished.
  • Peanut Butter, delivering drool! We have yet to meet a dog who doesn’t go nuts for this ingredient, and it just so happens to be packed with protein, healthy fats, vitamins B & E, plus folic acid for cell growth and magnesium to assist cells metabolize B-complex vitamins.
  • Potato, stuffed with vitamin C, B6, iron and magnesium.
  • Pumpkin, not just for Halloween. This orange superfood has high soluble fibre content, supporting digestion and healthy poop. Every pawrent’s favourite thing!
  • Rapeseed Oil, another omega-3 bomb to support immune system.
  • Spinach, for pooches as well as Popeye. This nutrient-rich leaf is dense in iron and magnesium, with anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Spirulina, a highly nutritious micro-algae to help prevent allergies, improve digestion, immune system, thyroid and reduce inflammation.
  • Sweet Potato, another orange hero vegetable whose high fibre content supports a healthy doggy digestive system.
  • Turmeric, supporting healthy joints and digestion.

Our delicious No Moo Ragu, No Fishy Dishy & No Cluck Casserole are packed with...

  • Algae Oil is high in omega 3, an essential fatty acid that most people think you have to get from fish. Not so! A dose of algae will meet your dog’s omega 3 needs and help keep their coat shiny and their skin healthy, as well as reducing joint inflammation.  
  • Apple is bursting with vitamins A and C to give your pup energy and reduce brain aging, as well as providing a source of dietary fibre to keep them nice and regular. 
  • Blackberries supply a veritable alphabet of vitamins —A, B, C, E and K— to boost immunity and metabolism, support skin, bone and tooth health, promote muscle development and enhance your dog’s brain, heart and coat. There’s omega 3 here too, helping that fur gleam, as well as fibre to fight off constipation. Blackberries’ deep purple colour isn’t just for show either; it’s provided by anthocyanins, antioxidants which improve brain function, reduce inflammation and can even reduce the risk of some cancers.
  • Blueberries are another purple powerhouse, containing antioxidants, fibre and vitamins C and K to support immune system and general wagginess.
  • Brewers yeast will have your dog salivating but it’s not just about the taste: this hardworking ingredient supports your dog's immune system and is rich in B vitamins to aid brain function, digestion, red blood cell production and eye health.
  • Broccoli is a tiny tree your dog won’t be able to pee against, but it offers a wealth of benefits to make up for that. Packed with fibre, this green veg helps maintain a healthy digestive system. It also contains vitamin A for eyesight, vitamin K to build strong, healthy bones and vitamin C to boost the immune system and work as an anti-inflammatory.
  • Butternut squash is brimming with potassium which fuels canine nerves, enzymes, kidneys and muscles. These vibrant orange chunks contain several essential vitamins and minerals, including beta carotene and folate. Similar to antioxidants, scientists believe these may combat free radicals in your dog’s body to reduce the risk of heart disease and other degenerative conditions. And that’s not all this root veg has to offer: there’s also vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and calcium. The fibrous squash keeps your dog’s digestive system healthy and reduces their risk of developing colonic cancer, helping them regulate their bowel movements and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Chicory Root is a rich source of prebiotic fibre, containing inulin to support the growth of good bacteria in your hound’s gut. This promotes healthy digestion, reducing risk of tummy trouble.
  • Green Beans mightn’t sound exciting, but they’re chock full of important vitamins and minerals like protein, iron, calcium and vitamins B6, A, C and K. These stringy supergreens are full of fibre and are low in calories, so make a great treat for your pup too! 
  • Hemp Seeds are golden bullets, delivering big doses of omega-6 gamma linolenic fatty acid. This has a wealth of benefits for dogs, including cancer prevention and reduced joint pain. What’s more, hemp is a complete protein source, meaning it contains all the amino acids essential to a balanced canine diet.
  • Kale is bursting with vitamins C and E which aid in the maintenance of a healthy immune system to prevent your dog from infection. These vitamins also help keep your dog's skin and connective tissues healthy. The leafy green also contains vitamin K, essential in the blood clotting process so ideal if your hound has an injury.
  • Lupin Beans are one of our key ingredients for good reason. These giant yellow legumes are a source of plant-based protein, fibre and minerals such as magnesium, copper and manganese, which help combat canine constipation, arthritis and bloating.
  • Talking of miracle minerals… we add in magnesium, sodium and chromium potassium to help strengthen doggy immune and nervous systems. Oh, and let’s not forget folic acid, which produces and maintains healthy cells.
  • Papaya adds a tropical twist with vitamins A, C, K and E to support your dog's immune system and help build proteins. Fruity fibre aids digestion and supports the gut biome, reducing risk of chronic diseases. And this ingredient adds more minerals to the mix too; namely, calcium and potassium to ensure strong bones and muscle function.
  • Peas pack a ton of protein and fibre into their tiny casings. They're also rich in iron and other vitamins and minerals that can help support your dog's immune system, digestion and overall wagtasticness. 
  • Pumpkin is a nutritional powerhouse. It’s a great source of vitamins A, E and C, important for the immune system, brain function, eyes and skin health. Pumpkin also contains minerals like potassium, copper, manganese and iron that play a role in cellular functions. The soluble fibre content in  pumpkin absorbs water, helping to firm up runny poos (so the holy grail of dog food ingredients!) Pumpkin contains a lot of beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in your dog’s body to help improve vision as well as boosting overall immunity and skin and coat health. The carotenoid zeaxanthin also protects your dog’s eyes from light damage. So in a way, it’s not just carrots that help them see in the dark! 
  • Red Peppers not only contribute to the rainbow of colour you see in our food, but they’re full of vitamin A, C, and E, and have tons of antioxidants. Did you know that red bell peppers have the highest amount of vitamins and nutrients compared to other bell peppers? That means they’re wonderful for your dog's immune system.
  • Seaweed might sound like an odd ingredient for dog food, but it’s an ideal substitute for fish. Containing protein, iron, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids, seaweed can support your dog’s brain development, immune and nerve system health, and joint health due to its anti-inflammatory properties. 
  • Sunflower oil isn’t just for cooking. It’s liquid gold when it comes to antioxidants and vitamins, containing vitamin E to keep your dog's skin healthy and regulate hair growth, and vitamin A to prevent dry skin by promoting new skin cell growth. It's also a great source of vitamin C, which helps wounds heal faster. Dripping with dietary fats that are great for your pooch's health, sunflower oil provides them with energy, boosts their immunity and, over time, can improve the look of their skin and coat.
  • Turmeric isn’t just for your hipster latte. It contains a compound called curcumin, its active ingredient, which offers dogs antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, wound healing and anticancer activities. It can help fight diseases like arthritis, diabetes, liver disease, cancer, gastrointestinal issues and more.
  • Yucca’s anti-inflammatory properties can reduce swelling and inflammation in your dog’s digestive tract, thus reducing pain too. It’s high in vitamins A, B and C and contains potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, manganese and copper, making it very soothing to furry stomachs.

Cooking Methods Make A HUGE Difference To The End Product

Now you know more about the importance of healthy ingredients, proteins, gut health and more, it is important to remember that all these amazing ingredients are only useful when cooked properly, with a focus on creating a product that is great for dogs health, rather than great for the brands profits. Unfortunately, many brands choose to use cost effective cooking processes that are detrimental to the quality of your dogs food. At THE PACK, we do things differently, your dogs health is our #1 priority. 

How Is Dried Dog Food Usually Made?

Did you know that around 95% of dried dog food (kibble) is extruded? You may be wondering what this means and what is the difference to THE PACK’s oven baked process of cooking their dried food. So read on to learn more…

Extruded cooking is when the ingredients are subjected to high heat and extreme pressure, including a lot of steam. Otherwise known as ‘high temperature short time’ (HTST) extrusion method, the ingredients are heated to temperatures between 110ºC to 150ºC for between 60-270 seconds.

As a result of this process, the majority of natural flavours are lost meaning that brands spray on a palatant (usually made of unhealthy meat-based fats and oils) after cooking to ensure the food is masked with flavour to tempt dogs to eat it. This is why most kibble has a greasy feel and texture to it.

What Does The Extruded Cooking Process Do To The Ingredients?

This high temperature processing has a particular impact on non-heat stable vitamins, effectively reducing the levels of vitamins requiring dog food manufacturers to add back excess vitamins to ensure your dog gets the vitamins they require. Those most effected vitamins are the B group vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E. While minerals are less affected by heat it can affect bioavailability, meaning that your dog may not be receiving as much of the mineral as they should be for their optimum nutrition and health.

Essential fatty acids, including the very important, and healthful, Omega 3 have been shown to be negatively affected by increased processing temperatures.

Probiotics, which are known to improve a dog’s gut microbiome are also shown to be highly heat sensitive and their efficacy in optimising your dog’s gut microbiome, and overall health, is greatly degraded by high temperature processing.

Finally, protein, which is the very foundation of your diet and your dog’s is also affected by the processing temperature. Increasing heat denatures protein and results in the triggering of a chemical process, the Maillard reaction – the browning process of meat and other foods caused by heat. This leads to the formation of numerous toxic compounds including acrylamide and AGE's, both of which have been linked to a multitude of different disease state – including cancer, in people and dogs.

What Does Extruded Cooking Mean From An Environmental Perspective?

From an environmental perspective high temperature cooking requires a considerable input of water (in the form of steam) as part of the process. This together with the increased levels of energy required to generate the high heat levels results in greater greenhouse gas emissions, significantly adding to the environmental impact your dog’s food has.

How Does THE PACK’s Oven Baked Dried Food Differ To Extruded Kibble?

THE PACK cook their dried food at temperatures no higher than 80c and for a longer period of time. By slow cooking at much lower temperatures for a longer period of time, their premium functional ingredients and superfoods maintain their essential nutrients and flavours to outstanding levels. Not only does the finished product have a higher nutritional value compared to extruded kibble dog food, but it also maintains the natural smells and flavours of these drool-inducing ingredients.

That makes THE PACK a far tastier option for your dog than bland, flavourless extruded kibble! THE PACK do not need to spray palatants on their food like most of the dried food on the market, because the slow baking process keeps all the tastiness of those natural ingredients – in fact, their early studies have confirmed that dogs prefer THE PACK’s dry food to leading meat-based kibbles! THE PACK carried out two pan taste tests through an independent tester, these tests give dogs the free choice of choosing between two bowls of food and measures a variety of factors such as how much of the food each dog chose to eat. The test comprised of the Oven Baked Crunchy Feast and a leading premium brands chicken dried food, the results were incredible, with dogs actively choosing to eat 280% more of THE PACK that the leading meat-based brand. This is a true testament to the high palatability of the product and is a big statement for plant-based pet food, showing that dogs prefer it to meat!

How Does Oven Baked Dried Food Affect Digestibility?

THE PACK carried in-vitro tests (which mimic the digestive tracts of dogs) to assess the digestibility of their food and the results came in at over 93%. Depending on the ingredients used and extrusion process, kibble protein digestibility usually ranges from 64 to 91%, which shows how the cooking process used by THE PACK has really enabled an outstanding level of nutrient availability. This is one of the most important factors to look at when feeding your dog, as this means they digest much more of the proteins, nutrients, vitamins etc rather than pooping them out.

Feeding your dog quality food is sure to result in a healthy and happy pooch - giving any pet owner peace of mind. But there’s also something else that’s sure to have dog parents breathing a sigh of relief…pet insurance. Having a comprehensive, lifetime pet insurance policy in place, like those offered by Waggel, provides comfort and protection for your pet’s entire life meaning unexpected vet fees are a worry of the past.

Fancy Switching Your Dog Over To THE PACK?

You can try THE PACK’s Oven Backed Crunchy Feast in a 100g sample size or go all in and stock up with their 5kg bag.

If you want to try our sample size we recommend you use code FREESHIPPING to get free delivery, meaning you can try this groundbreaking food for just £2.99!

Or you can get 30% off their 5kg bag with code WELCOME30, meaning you can save £15 and purchase the 5kg size for just £34.99, giving your dog week after week of delicious, nutritious meals to chomp on.

Or you can get our 12 Can Multipack Of Wet Food for just £27.99.

Winner, winner plant-based dinner!

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