Pet food

Freeze-dried Pet Food

All pet owners want the best for their family friends, and rising affluence in many parts of the world has fueled the popularity of freeze-dried food for dogs and cats as a premium product. This has been particularly apparent for raw food which is increasingly seen as a healthier alternative to cooked products, retaining its natural nutrition, with lower salt and without additives.

pet food ingredients

Dried pet food has enjoyed great popularity for many years, however, freeze drying is increasingly seen as a viable option for the premium market. Freeze drying removes almost all the moisture from the product under extreme vacuum conditions (down to as low as 3-5%). This significantly increases the shelf life and allows drying at a very low temperature when compared with other dried food allowing manufacturers to create new products that can be stored unopened, at room temperature, for years, without spoiling. As the product is exposed only to low temperatures, freeze drying retains more of the nutritional characteristics of the food, for a healthier product.

Freeze-dried raw pet food

Raw meat pet food (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF)) is also becoming popular. Users report many benefits from feeding their pets raw food including: improved digestion, better dental health, easier weight control, shinier coat, reduced allergies, stronger immune system and fewer behavioral issues.  

Although many accept the benefits of raw feeding, the inconvenience of handling and storing raw food can put some pet owners off. Freeze-drying the food, however, provides a fast and simple alternative. The drying process does not cook or heat treat the food, so it is still raw. The product can be reconstituted simply by adding water. This makes the food much easier to handle both for retailers and consumers and is particularly useful for owners who travel with their pets. What’s more, most pets enjoy the taste of freeze-dried raw food, even those who are fussy eaters.

Types of freeze dried pet food

How it works

Have a look at the video, which explains the freeze drying process in a bit more detail.  

Types of freeze-dried pet food

A wide range of dog and cat food and treats can be freeze dried. These include: raw chicken, beef, turkey, etc. (95% meat, natural or minced and formed); cooked meat; kibble; snacks – such as biscuits and mixers; and special treats including protein bars. Kibble is usually 5-15% meat with vegetables, cereals, grain and relevant vitamins and minerals. 

GEA technology, pilot plant and test facilities

GEA supplies equipment and complete lines for the preparation of pet food products including cutting, mixing, emulsifying, and forming; freezing and freeze-drying; and packaging. GEA know-how helps customers develop efficient, sustainable, high-quality manufacturing systems with maximum flexibility and the minimum effect on the environment. 

The RAY® Pilot plant provides extensive test facilities for manufacturers to develop new products and perfect freeze-drying processes. This allows accurate data to be gathered and important process parameters to be optimized before the process is seamlessly scaled up to industrial-level production. GEA’s engineers and technicians work closely with customers throughout the testing process to help them bring new products to market quickly and profitably.    

Want to know more? Get in touch with our experts today

Webinar on-demand: Unleash the potential of freeze-dried pet food

In this webinar, we take you through the freeze-drying process for pet food, looking closely at its benefits and challenges.

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