So far, we haven’t written much about pet food or the food processing equipment we supply that is ideally suited to the pet food industry. This blog aims to change all that! Read on to learn about the wet pet food manufacturing process and how we can help your pet food manufacturing business.
- What is wet pet food?
- Wet pet food ingredients
- The wet pet food manufacturing process
- Streamlining your wet pet food manufacturing process
- Pet food industry FAQ
What is wet pet food?
In comparison to dry pet food, wet pet food has a very high moisture content (around 70-80%). Sealed in a bag and then cooked at a high temperature for sterilisation, the wet pet food manufacturing process is essentially the same as the cook-chill process for manufacturing ready meals, packet sauces and soups for human consumption.
Learn more: How To Cook-Chill For Extended Shelf Life
Wet pet food ingredients
The ingredients that go into wet pet food are not hugely dissimilar to those that go into manufactured human-grade foods. In wet pet foods, it’s common to see the following ingredients:
- Fresh or frozen meat
- Vitamins & mineral supplements
- Phosphoric acid to aid digestion
- Cereal grains (sometimes)
There are, of course, different rules and regulations in terms of the grade of meat that can go into pet food as opposed to human food.
Human grade meat is (legally) suitable for human consumption. This is determined by being processed in strictly monitored manufacturing facilities with high quality-control checks, cleanliness and compliance. Pet grade meat, on the other hand, is generally a cheaper cut of meat or fresh meat from an older animal stock.
The wet pet food manufacturing process
Usually, wet pet food will be either chunks of meat in sauce or more of a pate consistency. Wet pet food manufacturing involves the following processes:
- Cutting of fresh or frozen meat
- Primary cooking
- Bag filling
- Rapid chilling
- Final cooking for sterilisation
Streamlining your wet pet food manufacturing process
If you’re a pet food manufacturer, DC Norris offers more than one system to suit your particular operations and desired outcome.
1. Jet Process System for large volumes of wet pet food
Ideal for those manufacturers who require reduced processing times, large throughputs and high temperature sterilisation is the award-winning Jet Process System.
Jet Process allows the dog or cat food to reach temperatures of up to 148°C in seconds. Vitamin and mineral powders can then be entrained, heated, mixed and hydrated in less than 10 minutes.
A recent installation required a footprint of only 120 sqm. and produced 18,000Kgs of wet pet food per hour.
Jet Process removes the need for multiple cooking vessels and processing stages, which reduces energy costs. The system can also be operated by just one person, which reduces labour.
2. Sous Vide for human grade pet food processing
We’re seeing more and more demand for human grade pet food, which boasts many health benefits. For this, industrial sous vide is ideal.
This unique cooking process helps to maintain nutrients and maximise flavour for happy, healthy pets. Sous vide dog food is vacuum sealed in air-tight plastic pouches that are cooked in water for a long period of time at a low temperature.
This process requires specialist packaging, vacuum sealing, a cook tank with temperature probes and controls, as well as appropriate chilling equipment. These can all be procured from FPE, as we supply the entire DC Norris range of cook-chill equipment in Australia and New Zealand.
If you’d like further details about the DCN machines we supply, or any of the other industrial cooking equipment we have available, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team on AUS 1800 882 549 or NZ 0800 100 003.
Pet food industry FAQ
How is cat food made?
There are two main ways to make cat food depending on whether it’s dry food or wet food. Dry cat food biscuits are produced using the extrusion method, whereas wet cat food is made by mixing recipe ingredients together and cooking them within the can, tray or pouch. The finished product for wet cat food might be meat chunks in sauce or more like the consistency of pate.
How is dog food made?
There are two main ways to make dog food depending on whether it’s dry food or wet food. Dry dog food biscuits are produced using the extrusion method, whereas wet dog food is made by mixing recipe ingredients together and cooking them within the can, tray or pouch. The finished product for wet dog food might be meat chunks in sauce or more like the consistency of pate.
Where do dog food companies get their meat?
Generally speaking, the meat that goes into dog food is meat that legally cannot be certified for human consumption because it’s fresh meat from an older animal stock, or trimmings from human grade processing plants.