Animal Science

Optimal nutrition focus of collaborative pet food project

16 October 2015
Optimal nutrition focus of collaborative pet food project

A team led by AgResearch Senior Research Scientist Dr Emma Bermingham will undertake a three year research project to assist New Zealand’s red meat pet food industry to grow their super-premium exports.

This project has been funded in the recently announced Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s 2015 science investment round, with contributions from three local pet food companies.

Dr Bermingham says that 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.

“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.”

The research plan was co-developed with red meat pet food manufacturers Bombay Petfoods Ltd, K9 Natural Ltd and ZiwiPeak Ltd.