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Palatability


Successfully achieving palatability in pet food requires balancing product formulation, ingredient stability and flavor profiles. Palatants, or palatability enhancers, play an important role in the overall appeal of a petfood product by elevating preferred tastes and aromas.




palatability


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The palatability of a pet food is influenced by many factors such as the freshness of raw materials and how palatability enhancers are applied during the petfood manufacturing process. When creating a successful product, you need a trusted partner whose expertise includes ingredients, raw materials and an understanding of the behavioral differences and preferences of our end users - dogs and cats.


As the worldwide leader and reference in palatability, SPF combines technical expertise and innovation to develop product concepts that help improving food attractiveness for pets by offering novel forms of palatability enhancement.


Palatability enhancers, as the name indicates, are used to affect taste, smell and texture of petfoods to increase their desirability to companion animals. Palatability is critical for manufacturers to consider when formulating a nutritionally balanced petfood. Foods for dogs and cats can be made more palatable through various means, such as an adjustment in acidity. High-intensity, savory-based palatants that utilize meat, marine, cheese and liver-based ingredients are used for enhancement purposes as well. Palatability enhancers can be used either as the sole palatant in a formula or in conjunction with meat-based enhancers to provide the best value and palatability to the petfood formulator. So, what's out there, what do they promise and what's worth checking out?


In Kristopher Figge's 2011 Petfood Forum presentation, "Kibble Shape and its Effect on Feline Palatability," the AFB International senior scientist and technical services manager shared some of the palatant company's latest research. Unlike dogs, cats tend to avoid spoilage aromas, while surface texture and size of kibble play a large role in what foods felines find palatable. AFB then researched whether or not kibble shape affected the palatability of dry cat foods.


AFB researchers used common kibble shapes like the cross, triangle, flat disc and cylinder as the variables in the study. Figge and his collegues found that kibble shape was the primary driver for palatability while texture across a given range was not. The flat disc had mid-range texture scores and was the most preferred shape by cats. The cylinder was outside the range and was least preferred. The highly preferred disc-shape is not only easy to extrude, it is also durable, has less fines than other shapes and also has a greater surface area.


All of their palatability enhancers are tested for efficacy through controlled feeding studies that measure both first-bite preference as well as total petfood consumption. All of Sensient yeast products are non-GMO and meet FDA and AAFCO guidelines, says the company. In addition to their palatants, Sensient also has the capability to create high-impact flavors for use in petfoods and pet treats.


This study showed that oral liquid pharmaceutical products are a suboptimal alternative to solid oral dosage forms in patients with swallowing disorders. To ensure an optimal acceptability, prescribers should also consider the presence of a taste-masker in these oral liquids. As highlighted herein, palatability remains crucial in older populations, especially for women.


Oral liquid pharmaceutical products encompass ready-to-use oral liquids (i.e., oral solutions or suspensions) as well as the reconstituted oral liquids (i.e., powders or effervescent tablets which must be dissolved or dispersed in a liquid prior to administration). Many active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) have a bitter taste [10], for which excipients are frequently used as masking agents. Although palatability is known to be an important acceptability driver in pediatrics [3], it is usually not considered to be a major issue for older patients in hospitals and nursing homes, due to the increasing prevalence of dysgeusia with age, and polymedication in this population [11,12,13,14,15,16].


Further explorations of factors impacting palatability are conducted because other characteristics of patients such as health status (e.g. dementia [29]) could affect smell and taste perception and consequently, medicine acceptability.


Sucrose is attractive to most species in the animal kingdom, not only because it induces a sweet taste sensation but also for its positive palatability (i.e., oromotor responses elicited by increasing sucrose concentrations). Although palatability is such an important sensory attribute, it is currently unknown which cell types encode and modulate sucrose's palatability. Studies in mice have shown that activation of GABAergic LHAVgat+ neurons evokes voracious eating; however, it is not known whether these neurons would be driving consumption by increasing palatability. Using optrode recordings, we measured sucrose's palatability while VGAT-ChR2 transgenic mice performed a brief access sucrose test. We found that a subpopulation of LHAVgat+ neurons encodes palatability by increasing (or decreasing) their activity as a function of the increment in licking responses evoked by sucrose concentrations. Optogenetic gain of function experiments, where mice were able to choose among available water, 3% and 18% sucrose solutions, uncovered that opto-stimulation of LHAVgat+ neurons consistently promoted higher intake of the most palatable stimulus (18% sucrose). In contrast, if they self-stimulated near the less palatable stimulus, some VGAT-ChR2 mice preferred water over 18% sucrose. Unexpectedly, activation of LHAVgat+ neurons increased quinine intake but only during water deprivation, since in sated animals, they failed to promote quinine intake or tolerate an aversive stimulus. Conversely, these neurons promoted overconsumption of sucrose when it was the nearest stimulus. Also, experiments with solid foods further confirmed that these neurons increased food interaction time with the most palatable food available. We conclude that LHAVgat+ neurons increase the drive to consume, but it is potentiated by the palatability and proximity of the tastant.


Palatability is the preference an animal has for a particular feed when offered a choice. Palatability only matters when there is a choice of food for the livestock. It is affected by texture, aroma, succulence, hairiness, leaf percentage, fertilization, sugar content, and other factors. Just as humans tend to eat more at a dinner of delectable specialties, livestock will eat more if the palatability is high. Animal performance is not solely based on palatability, even though it is a significant factor. As a basic rule, grass is more palatable to animals when young, tender, and leafy. As the flowering stems mature, the roughage becomes less palatable. Forage plants have two basic components: cell contents (protein, sugar, and starch) and structural components of cell walls (cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin). Cell wall components govern the rate of digestion and therefore the rate of intake. The cell wall components are less palatable and livestock will choose the younger plants. This concept is important because young grass plants need enough time and growth to have enough leaves, the basic site for photosynthesis. Some have likened the surface area of leaves to the square footage of a warehouse. The more leaves, the more production. So livestock selectively nibbling off the new leaves can be detrimental. From the plant's perspective, grazing is least harmful at maturity. But from the animal's vantage point, grazing immature plants is favored since both palatability and digestibility are better. Wise forage-livestock managers plan their harvesting, grazing or mowing, to balance the best quality feed with the best regrowth opportunities of the plants.


Palatability is the capacity of a food or an ingredient to stimulate the appetite of dogs or cats to encourage eating and satiety. These feeding experiences are dependent on packaging, formula, heat processing, and the freshness and stability of raw materials, making palatability a science demanding cohesion and respect to process.


The integration of sustainable nutrition is one of the many important long-term elements of palatability. It all comes back to the objective of a study. This could include acceptance of a treat, comparing a new product to its benchmark, or to simply give the food a hedonic note based on animal feeding behavior observation. Consistency of the formula and process is also key. Products that supply the same performance consistently will be perceived as better quality, Herve adds.


Individual differences among animals necessitates including extensive expert panel testing with consumption being the key measure of palatability. The most common test is a paired comparison, known as a two-bowl, A-B testing, but other protocols like monadic testing (single bowl) can provide additional information, according to Abby Castillo, global palatant product manager, Kemin Industries, Des Moines, Iowa.


While freshness management, process control and the use of food or liquid agreeable to the palate are critical for palatability, matrix-dependent palatants are not one size fits all, Castillo says, and not all customers abide by the same definitions of palatability as explained by Preetha Banerjee, manager, customer engagement, AFB Research & Development.


Using our palatants in your cat and dog pet food improves the taste and aroma of your products, resulting in optimal palatability and feed preference. Our palatants are developed to meet the special preferences of cats and dogs. Therefore, our palatants are all tested by professional dog and cat taste panels and generally get top rankings.


Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is one of the most common pathologies in elderly cats, with more than 30% of individuals over 15 years of age affected 1. This condition is often accompanied by eating disorders, and yet maintenance of bodyweight in cats with CKD is positively correlated with their lifespan 2. The palatability of renal diets is therefore a key element in the nutritional management of this disease. 041b061a72


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