Trends in pet food processing focus on higher-quality products.

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Pet Food Processing Challenges

Feb 2, 2024

Pet food manufacturers face many challenges when maximizing efficiencies, increasing yields, and decreasing waste. Conveying through the entire plant without causing contamination issues adds further complexity.

Integrating innovative food processing conveyors tailored to pet food manufacturing can help optimize operations. Many different types of conveyor solutions can improve line efficiency, quality control, and safety.

Read on to learn more about PFI’s sanitary pet food conveying systems and how they help processors solve these issues.

PET FOOD PROCESSING TRENDS TOWARD SANITARY DESIGN 

The pet food industry has significantly shifted towards incorporating raw, fresh, and frozen options in response to consumer demand for natural, high-quality pet diets. This evolution in food preferences emphasizes unprocessed and nutrient-rich choices that mirror natural dietary habits.

This movement towards raw and fresh ingredients indicates a paradigm shift from traditional pet food processing methods. The production process for minimally processed and fresh pet foods mirrors human food production. This includes maintaining proper temperatures for frozen ingredients and ensuring the cleanliness of raw ingredients. 

It’s imperative to employ sanitary manufacturing methods to make equipment accessible and cleanable. This helps ensure pet food safety while reducing downtime and extending shelf life.

Manufacturers can adapt to these trends by diversifying their product offerings and investing in versatile conveying equipment. This adaptability is crucial in a market that increasingly values a wide range of high-quality pet food options.

CHANGES IN PET FOOD PROCESSING OVER THE PAST 5-10 YEARS 

Pet food processing has advanced with the integration of meat grinders, chillers, and specialized packaging machinery. These new tools are essential for maintaining the freshness and nutritional value of pet food. 

Additionally, there has been a major shift in sanitation standards, with facilities now designed for easy cleaning and minimal contamination risk. These improvements are vital for ensuring the safety and longevity of pet food products, particularly those that are minimally processed or contain fresh ingredients.

A sanitary belt conveyor is used for higher quality control in pet food processing.

Several factors led to these changes in pet food processing: 

IMPACT OF THE PANDEMIC ON THE PET FOOD INDUSTRY 

  • As pet owners elevated food quality expectations, manufacturers faced the challenge of scaling up production and meeting increased demand for higher-quality products.
  • Investments in more efficient, higher-capacity production lines and the introduction of premium, health-oriented pet food options followed this shift.

MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS (M&A) ACTIVITY IN THE PET FOOD INDUSTRY 

  • As pet food grew into a substantial market segment within the food industry, large food processors entered the field, bringing additional investment and expertise. They developed sophisticated, diverse product lines. 
  • These changes to pet food required advanced manufacturing techniques and higher quality control standards. 

ADAPTING TO MARKET DEMANDS: VERSATILITY AND EFFICIENCY IN CONVEYING EQUIPMENT

A bucket conveyor is used to convey pet food during processing.

Sanitary conveying equipment emerges as an effective solution to address these challenges. It enhances production efficiency and reduces labor costs. PFI offers a range of conveyors suitable for these needs:

  • Belt Conveyors: These conveyors are ideal for handling high and low temperatures. They facilitate product temperature management and direct-to-packaging conveyance.
  • Horizontal Motion Conveyors: Effectively handle kibble, biscuits, and wet food while minimizing the risk of contamination. Their gentle operation also preserves the integrity and quality of the food. They are also useful in mixing and blending.
  • Bucket Elevators & Incline Conveyors: Excellent for elevating products to mezzanines or tall equipment. This helps to optimize the plant footprint. 
  • Vibratory Conveyors & Feeders: Suitable for sanitary design needs, they offer gentle handling of pet food products.
  • Dumpers: Ideal for bulk handling, allowing for storage or accumulation during the process.

Each conveyor type addresses specific challenges in pet food manufacturing, from handling diverse product types to meeting high sanitation standards. 

VALUE-ADDED CONVEYING 

PFI conveyors do more than just transport products from one point to another. They also offer value-added features. For example, our conveyors can control the cooling or warming of products. This aids in the preservation and preparation of pet food.

We can configure our conveyors for sorting and quality control processes to enhance the production line’s overall efficiency. These capabilities highlight the multi-functional nature of our conveying solutions and contribute to process optimization and cost-effectiveness.

MAXIMIZING PLANT FOOTPRINT WITH CONVEYORS

During pet food processing, the product passes through a vibratory feeder.

PFI’s conveyors actively optimize the plant’s available space, improving the production setup’s overall efficiency. Building up strategies, such as elevating products to mezzanines or tall equipment like scales and baggers, are effectively supported by machines like bucket elevators, incline belt conveyors, and vertical lift conveyors. 

These solutions are crucial for optimizing space in manufacturing facilities. Additionally, conveyors adept at navigating facility constraints play a key role in space optimization, allowing for ambient temperature adjustment post-cooking or frying.

PFI: YOUR PARTNER IN PET FOOD PROCESSING 

PFI is a leader in sanitary conveyor solutions, backed by years of experience in the pet food industry. Our range of conveyors and expertise positions us as a valuable partner for manufacturers seeking to overcome current challenges and embrace future opportunities. 

By integrating our equipment, manufacturers can expect improved efficiency, higher product quality, and enhanced sanitation standards. 

Visit our pet food solutions page below to explore our wide range of solutions.

See Our Pet Food Solutions

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