Pet food performance measurement

Panelis (France)

Performance of a pet food

To make meal time a shared enjoyable moment, pet food manufacturers not only need to satisfy pets’ appetite, they also need this satisfaction to be clearly perceptible by the owner.

In order to continuously improve the acceptance of pet food, research needs to be done to objectively define and measure the emotional performance of a diet. This can be measured by evaluating the food with innovative consumption and behavioural criteria specifically chosen as indicators of animal enjoyment in pet owner’s perception.

Studying feeding behaviour

At the French site of Panelis, DIANA Pet Food’s expert centre in palatability measurement, a unique research area has been launched. “Studies conducted at this Pet Sens’ Innov cover varied dimensions related to pets’ sensorial perception, including gustation and olfaction, but also somesthesia (bodily sensation awareness) and acoustics,” says Christelle Tobie, Business Development Manager at Panelis. In the 1,000 sqm. brand new platform, a team of animal technicians, ethologists and statisticians conduct studies on dogs’ and cats’ feeding behaviour.

“Research also focuses on the understanding of pets’ emotions all around the meal through the use of innovative indicators, such as the assessment of pets’ excitement before, during and after food consumption. All these observations are performed under conditions that secure pets’ well-being without any invasive method, according to Panelis’ ethical guidelines.” Christelle Tobie explains.

Activity monitoring

To reach this challenging goal, several catteries have been equipped with high-tech automated feeding stations combined with video and tracking systems. Additional feline and canine areas have also been designed for the implementation of species-specific behavioural studies to observe patterns of exploration, among other things. Christelle Tobie continues: “Monitoring cats activity during 24 hours is a great tool. It provides enriched palatability measurement data to assess the impact of different sensory modalities on animal feeding behaviour. It also provides new information to assess satiety effects for weight management targets.”

She then adds: “Furthermore, it expands expertise in animal behaviour evaluation including well-being indicators, the transmission of olfactory messages among pets, social interactions, individual profiles, and behaviour around the litter box.”

New scientific insights

By providing a unique amount of reliable data linked with pet behaviour, the Panelis Pet Sens’ Innov will bring new scientific insights to support developments in fields, such as health, nutrition and pet care.

Christelle Tobie: