Super Premium Petfoods
How do you know that what you're feeding your pets is nutritionally complete and balanced? Super Premium Food uses research and development to ensure the best possible diet.
For your pet to live a long and healthy life, they need a complete and balanced diet, a regime that meets all the nutritional requirements in the necessary proportions. To ensure all products in the ADVANCE™ range meet all nutritional requirements, a thorough testing process is implemented during the development stage. This stringent testing is maintained even after the products are available on the shelves of the specialist pet food outlet.
Dietary requirements of pets
The components of food that provide the energy and materials for the processes of growth, body maintenance, activity and reproduction are called nutrients. These nutrients include proteins, fats, minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates and water. Most foods contain a mixture of some or all of these, so a careful combination of different foodstuffs will provide a suitable diet for your pet. As well as the essential nutrients there are also other important dietary considerations:
- Food must be palatable - what's left in the bowl is of no nutritional value.
- Food must be sufficiently concentrated so that your pet eats enough to meet its particular nutrient needs.
- Absorption into the body is only possible if the nutrients are in a digestible form.
- The diet must be safe, which means it should be free of toxins, harmful bacteria and parasites.
So, how do you know that what you're feeding your pets is nutritionally complete and balanced? How can you be certain that you're fulfilling all the above requirements? Without the help of a research laboratory or having a degree in nutrition you can't be sure. However, you can be certain if you're feeding a super premium pet food.
It's not just high quality ingredients and advanced manufacturing processes that make super premium pet foods - it also involves meticulous testing procedures. MARS Petcare Australia Pty Ltd is committed to delivering the high quality standards demanded by our customers, as well as meeting the nutritional guidelines of both the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and our own nutritionists at the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition (WCPN) in the UK.
Maintaining the highest standards of quality and nutrition is achieved by implementing a three-step process, starting with laboratory analysis. The MFANZ Research and Development team studies new and existing pet food products and compares their findings with recognised nutrient profiles from Waltham and AAFCO. Laboratory analysis ensures that nutrients are present in the correct ratio to the energy content of the diet and also in the correct ratio to other nutrients. The analysis will also verify that nutrients present meet life stage and lifestyle requirements, that is growth, adult maintenance, reproduction, senior, light and working.
Once a pet food recipe is defined it undergoes palatability (acceptance/consumption) and digestibility testing through non-invasive trials within special feeding facilities. These trials determine the actual feeding performance of the product.
Where step one will indicate if the necessary nutrients are present in the pet food, step two gives a better indication of the availability macronutrients such as protein, fat and carbohydrate and how efficiently they are being utilised by the animal.
For example, a panel of animals may be put on a 10-day feeding trial. Faeces (stools) are collected from days 4 to 10 and are analysed for protein, fat, moisture and ash content. These results are then compared against the same parameters within the diet fed to determine what levels the animal has utilised. The faeces are also graded on a system of one to five - one being too hard and five being diarrhoea. Recipes are formulated to target grade 2 faeces. These types of trials indicate product palatability and the quality of the raw materials being used - the better the raw material, the better they are utilised by the animal resulting in fewer and firmer stools.
The last stage in testing is where the diet is fed for the life stage for which it was designed. These tests ensure that foods meet feeding procedures and nutritional levels established by AAFCO for:
- Adult maintenance
- Gestation and Lactation
For instance, growing puppies need two to three times as much energy as adults as well as strictly controlled calcium and phosphorus levels, and a prepared pet food for this life stage must deliver accordingly.
Trials for life stage feeding of ADVANCE™ products are conducted here in Australia. This is because, for best results, it is important to trial within the country in which they will be used.
Adult maintenance trials may take six months to complete. A full veterinary examination is also conducted to ensure the pets used in the trial are healthy. Food intakes and body weights are recorded throughout the trial period along with other important indicators such as oral health, skin and coat health, body condition and faecal quality. At the conclusion of the trial a blood sample is taken to detect any nutritional deficiencies or excesses. As a further measure to assess palatability, in home feeding trials are conducted as we have access to approximately 8,000 households throughout Australia. This ensures we get a true reflection of pets' acceptance and preference of the ADVANCE™ product range.
Some MFANZ pet food products may take up to three years to develop because of this rigorous three-step testing process.
Further quality checks are continuously undertaken on raw materials to ensure the ADVANCE™ range of pet foods is made using only ingredients that meet pre determined quality standards. There is also regular sampling of the finished product at the point of manufacture as well as random samples of products from the shelves of our specialist ADVANCE™ retailers. ADVANCE™ pet foods are closely monitored by stringent quality systems. Only one recipe specification exists for each variety ensuring that the highest quality products are consistently delivered to our customers. Products manufactured are only released for sale once chemical analysis have validated that they meet the ADVANCE™ standard quality specifications. This stringent testing ensures that all ADVANCE™ products deliver:
- Lastest nutritional innovation
- Product consistency
- Highest quality ingredients
- Australian made products best suited for Australian pets