Many pet owners are aware that kibble is cooked prior to the packaging process; however, not all are aware of the negative impacts that the extrusion process can have on the nutrient content of your pet’s food. Freshpet understands that it is not possible for every pet owner to provide their pet with a homecooked diet to avoid their pets missing out on essential nutrients, but pet owners can make steps towards a healthy diet by providing fresh pet food options. In this article Freshpet reviews how their cooking process maintains the nutrients needed to keep your pet happy and healthy as they age.
How is Kibble Produced?
Kibble is usually made via an expanding and extrusion process. A dough is created by mixing raw, wet and dry ingredients together. The dough is then fed into an expander, which is heated with pressurized steam or hot water in order to cook the ingredients. The ingredients undergo high pressure and temperatures in the expander before they are extruded through kibble shaped holes and cut. Moisture is then drawn out by passing the newly formed kibble through a dryer and sprayed with essential fats, vitamins, minerals, and oils before being packaged.
Does the Cooking Process of Kibble Affect Nutrients?
What some experts find counterintuitive about the extrusion process is that prolonged exposure to high heat during the cooking process causes changes to occur in the ingredients’ proteins. Maillard reactions (chemical reactions between amino acids and reducing sugars that provide food with a characteristic browned flavor) occur when food is excessively heated, which presents an issue for our pets as proteins can become inherently more allergenic and not as easy to draw nutrients from as fresh food.
How Does Freshpet’s Cooking Process Differ?
Freshpet reviews and compares the cooking processes of multiple pet foods, and acknowledges that their approach to the cooking process differs from more popular methods. The heating process at Freshpet utilizes gentle steam to cook foods at a lower temperature and for a shorter duration of time than dry kibble or canned pet foods, stopping the cooking process just at the point where the food is safe and palatable for our pets. Freshpet reviews research from experts within the nutrition industry to continually improve their lower temperature cooking methods and increase the bio-availability of nutrients, making it easier for your pet to absorb nutrients when they eat Freshpet.