Optimal nutrition focus of collaborative pet food project

From left: Dr David Thomas, director, Centre for Feline Nutrition, Massey University and AgResearch senior research scientist Dr Emma Bermingham.

A three year research project to help New Zealand’s red meat petfood industry grow their super-premium exports won funding in October’s Ministry of Business Innovation and employment’s 2015 science investment round.

Three petfood manufacturers Bombay Petfoods Ltd, K9 Natural Ltd and Ziwipeak Ltd will also contribute to the project.

AgResearch senior research scientist Dr Emma Bermingham will undertake the research. She says pet food is a fast-growing food market segment, with global sales estimated at US$76 billion annually.

“There is increasing consumer demand for premium red meat pet foods, but evidence of the benefits of these foods for pet health has been largely anecdotal,” she says.

“In collaboration with the Centre for Feline Nutrition at Massey University we will investigate the nutritional benefits of New Zealand red meat pet foods because the local industry needs scientific evidence to support their development of new super-premium products and therefore boost global exports. Benefits from this project will also extend to New Zealand sheep, beef and venison farmers by diverting meat cuts that are currently achieving lower value returns into branded premium products.”

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