Free-From Artificial Colouring: Pet Treats

January 2017

Human Food Trends Impacting Pet Food Category

The trend of humanizing pets continues to play a dominant role in the Pet Food category. Pet owners are looking to purchase pet food aligning with their personal dietary preferences and beliefs, because our furry friends are more often viewed as family members now. There are two specific human food trends influencing the pet food market.


These trends demonstrate an obvious desire among pet owners for more wholesome and simpler ingredients for their beloved furry family members.

Opportunity Knocks on the Doggie Door

The demand for less processed food is putting pressure on many brands to reformulate ingredient lists.

In the human food category, conversions have been well underway, but there is opportunity for manufacturers to reach target consumers like Millennials and Gen Xers with “free-from” and clean label brand positioning in the pet food category. Budding potential with natural colour is nipping at the heels of dog and cat treat brands, especially when over 40% of pet owners give treats to their pets daily.


Beware of these possible challenges when formulating with natural colours in semi-moist pet treats

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Although synthetic colours are declared safe in pet foods, today’s consumers still perceive them as artificial and less healthy. Therefore, consumers seek out products with claims such as “free-from artificial colouring.” At its root, giving your dog or cat a treat is an act of care and love, and pet food manufacturers have the opportunity to give their consumers a treat that is both delicious and nutritious. Ingredients like natural colours can make treating more of a practical act with their perceived health benefits.

What about Regulatory?

Since the use of natural colours inherently increases the potential for food safety risks, Sensient developed an integrated food safety program that provides peace of mind to food manufacturers by providing a uniform standard around our natural colours. Our Certasure™ program covers all plant-based, natural colour sources and combines stringent quality testing, comprehensive vendor certification, full raw material traceability, and best manufacturing practices to ensure every batch of colour meets safety, authenticity, and quality requirements.

Pet Food manufacturers still need to ensure their colours from natural sources meet all food safety requirements in compliance with the compliance with their local regulatory body. Fortunately, Sensient’s Application Specialists can tailor colour solutions around regulatory standards by state.

If you have any questions or projects in which you need guidance in natural colours for semi-moist dog or cat treats, please use this link to request a consultation or reach out to me directly. I love to talk colour!

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