Opacity Alternatives to Titanium Dioxide in Pet Food Applications

No-No Lists Continue to Include Titanium Dioxide

As of May 2019, Petco has officially removed all products that do not meet their new standards of “top-quality, artificial-free food and treats” from their shelves. Both AAFCO (The Association of American Feed Control Officials) and the FDA consider titanium dioxide a food color from a natural source; however, the widely used colorant continues to land on “No-No” lists like Petco’s.

Titanium dioxide is often used as a whitening and opacifying agent to create a uniform canvas for added color. The mixture of different proteins, grains, and vegetables in pet food base formulations typically creates an undesirable color, often leading to color inconsistencies in the final product. Similar to priming a wall for paint, whitening agents provide an optimal starting canvas, enabling better visibility of the added color, which also helps to reduce color usage rates.


Color is an important differentiator in pet food, because consumers equate color variety in pet food to better nutrition and flavor: greens for vegetables, reds and browns for proteins like beef, orange for superfoods like pumpkins and sweet potatoes, etc. In a 2019 study conducted by Sensient, purchase intent quintuples for bright, multicolored kibble versus brown kibble.

Pet owners preferred bright, multicolored kibble versus brown kibble


Alternative Opacity and Whitening Solutions to Titanium Dioxide

Our Avalanche portfolio addresses the need for an alternative whitening and opacifying solution to titanium dioxide in the pet food category. The Avalanche Xtra line is a cost-effective alternative that works well in most extruded pet products, but what’s been missing from our portfolio is a solution that survives the extended high heat retort process used in most canned pet foods.

We work tirelessly to address gaps in the natural color industry, and I am excited to announce a new Avalanche solution for wet and canned pet food developers. They now have a clean label opacifying and whitening agent for innovation in mid-to-high water activity pet applications that is grain-free.

Introducing, Avalanche Ultra MB…


Designed to withstand the harsh conditions of retort processing while maintaining viscosity and texture of the final product, Avalanche Ultra MB has moved into the rankings as our most successful and cost-effective titanium dioxide alternatives for these type of applications. Avalanche Ultra MB is optimized for retort processing, but we also expect to see improvements in dry kibble applications.


“We encourage pet developers who previously have not been able to find a suitable alternative solution to titanium dioxide for their application to try Avalanche Ultra MB.”



Since nearly every pet food base is different, our Avalanche solutions are often customized on a case-by-case basis. Our pet food experts are eager to partner with you to develop the perfect solution for your treats, kibble, and/or wet pet food.

Let’s innovate together! Start a conversation about your project here.

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