The term Pet Food mainly refers to food for cats and dogs of three different types: dry, wet and snacks. Dry Pet food, with a moisture content of 10-12% in general, is the most commonly used type, but in recent years there has been a significant growth in wet pet food and snacks.
The global production of pet food in 2019 recorded a growth rate of 4%, exceeded 30 million tonnes, and represents 2.4% of the entire global feed production.
The growth expectations are estimated around 4% also for the coming years.
Europe and North America lead the world production ranking, with a production of about 9 million tonnes each in 2019. South America ranks third with 6 million tonnes.
The reasons that are leading to such a marked increase in the consumption of pet food are to be found in the growing care for pets, considered actual members of the family. Their health and wellbeing are sought first of all through a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet. In addition there is the growing confidence in the industrial product and the modern lifestyle which has reduced the time available for preparing a meal at home.
FRAGOLA SPA AND PET FOOD
For over twenty years Fragola has been active in the dry Pet Food industry, building turnkey plants and offering cutting-edge technology to produce high quality Pet Food.
Let’s take a look at the main challenges involved in the PET FOOD PRODUCTION PROCESS.
First of all we must consider a high number of raw materials to be processed, because in addition to the cereals and the classic vegetable flours that can be found in the feed industry, in the case of pet food we will naturally find meat meal. The extraction of meat meal from the silos can be difficult and Fragola has always ensured optimal extraction processes thanks to its rotary bin dischargers, rotary silos dischargers, vibrating dischargers.
There must also be many salts, phosphates, carbonates and additives such as premixes and vitamins. Both medium and micronutrients play a fundamental role in obtaining pet food with a high nutritional value. Micro-dosing therefore requires weighing accuracy, rapidity in the dosage and above all the absence of contamination or human errors. Fragola responds to these challenges with the automatic dosing systems.
With regard to grinding, a specific line of hammer mills has been designed for the Pet Food industry, ensuring the highest degree of fineness of the flour, with excellent results even for products for cats, obtaining a meal that promotes the extrusion process and therefore the quality of the kibble.
Over half a century of experience in mixing flours ensures excellent homogeneity, with very low variation coefficients and remarkable speed.
It is common knowledge that adding high percentages of fresh meat is one of the main factors that enhance the kibble. Fragola storage units keep the meat in the ideal temperature and handling conditions to be transferred to the extruder.
The Extrusion line can receive fresh meat in amounts ranging from 30% to over 70%, and with increasing percentages the difficulties involved in the pneumatic conveying to the dryer also increase. For this reason, we produce a system for collecting the kibble at the outlet of the extruder die, which eliminates excess moisture and ensures safe handling.
The extrusion stage also features a waste recovery system: that is, product losses at the beginning of the extrusion cycle are recovered and reintegrated into the process, through a specifically designed recovery line.
The kibble coating process is entrusted to the vacuum coater mixer. A machine specifically designed for processing Pet Food and Fish Feed, which is able to add up to 25% of fat. The vacuum coater uses the porosity of the kibble and the vacuum principle to encapsulate the liquid in the core of the kibble and thus obtain very high protein values.
The static coolers complete the coating cycle, bringing the temperature of the kibble back to an ambient temperature of + 5°C.
The integrity of the kibble is always safeguarded thanks to specialised conveyors: the paddle conveyors. These never put the product in contact with metal drive chains and guarantee cleanliness and absence of residues along the entire length of the machine.