Deciphering Pet Food Labels – A Guide for Responsible Retailers

In the world of pet ownership, there’s a common belief that a well-fed pet equals a happy pet – but this idea can be seriously misleading. Just like us humans, animal companions require a balanced diet that is tailored to their specific needs. With an array of pet food products lining your shelves, it’s crucial to decode labels accurately to ensure you are stocking products that meet your customers’ expectations, and their pets’ requirements.

Labelling – the gateway to good food

Pet food labels serve as a roadmap for consumers that enables them to interpret what goes into their pets’ meals, providing valuable information about ingredients, nutritional content, and feeding guidelines. However, deciphering these labels and understanding what pets need can often feel like navigating a labyrinth for pet parents, who, after all, are not experts in pet nutrition or the health benefits of specific ingredients . At C&D Foods, part of our added value service to brands and retailers includes advising on labelling to ensure it is clear and informative so that consumers can make at-a-glance decisions about the best choices for their pet. Here are some of the fundamental best practice elements for pet food product labelling:

Ingredients: The ingredient list is where the transparency of a pet food brand shines through. Whole proteins, such as chicken, beef, or fish should be listed at the top of the ingredients list but it’s important to be honest and transparent about the amount of whole proteins in the recipe, along with any potential allergens, such as grains. Hero claims about the whole protein type and percentage can be included as call-outs on the front of the pack, whereas the ingredients label will need to provide a full list of all ingredients.

Nutritional Contents: The guaranteed analysis section outlines the minimum percentages of crude protein, fat, fibre, and moisture in the food. These values are essential for ensuring pets receive adequate nutrition based on their individual requirements so it’s important that this information is clear and accurate.

Feeding Guidelines: One of the most overlooked aspects of pet food labels are the feeding guidelines. These recommendations are tailored to the specific needs of different breeds and life stages. Overfeeding can lead to rapid weight gain and other health issues, so it’s crucial to make it as simple as possible for pet parents to see and understand these guidelines and a simple table with pictorial icons provides a quick and easy reference.

Keeping pets healthy and happy

Proper nutrition is the cornerstone of a healthy and happy pet. By understanding how to interpret pet food labels and selecting the appropriate diet for their breed and stage of life, pet parents can ensure their furry companions thrive. For those with pets who have enjoyed eating just a little too much, choosing specialised formulas designed for weight management can make all the difference in improving their quality of life. Remember – a pet that is being correctly fed is not just a happy one; it’s a healthy one too.

As a pet food manufacturer, we are committed to providing the right formulations for pet parents and their furry companions, working collaboratively with retailers and brands to bring the right products to shelf. Part of that commitment is helping consumers make the right choices for their four-legged family members and clear, accurate labelling is integral to supporting their decision-making.