Renowned in the industry, Henning Gerstenkorn, Business Development Manager Animal Health at Ohly, shares expert insights into the key trends influencing pet food production in 2024.

As the animal feed industry undergoes significant changes, driven by consumer demand, regulatory shifts, and advancements in technology, Gerstenkorn sheds light on the pivotal factors shaping the animal nutrition landscape.

Embracing Sustainable Practices

In response to increasing consumer demand for sustainability, 2023 witnessed a surge in interest in ethically sourced ingredients. This impacts both the animal feed and pet food sectors. This trend is expected to persist throughout 2024, with conscious consumers compelling producers to adopt more sustainable practices, emphasizing the origins and impact of ingredients. Manufacturers are embracing circular economy principles, exploring alternative ingredients, and working towards reducing the carbon footprint associated with feed production. Regional sourcing not only aligns with sustainability goals but also enhances supply chain robustness, mitigating the risk of disruptions.

Parallel to the sustainability drive, there’s a noticeable shift towards plant-based ingredients in pet foods. Algae, legumes, duckweed, seaweed, insect- and mycoproteins, along with by-products from food processing, are gaining prominence. Sustainable yeast extracts emerge as a bioavailable nutrient source, offering growth support and serving as an alternative to antibiotic growth promoters. Components within yeast cell walls, such as beta-glucans and mannan-oligosaccharides, contribute immune-supporting properties.

Precise Nutrition Utilising New Technologies and Ingredients

Technological advancements, particularly in AI and data analytics, are revolutionizing the industry. Traditional methods are taking a backseat as new technologies and ingredients enable a more precise approach to nutrition with a dual focus on sustainability. The United Nations’ projection of a 60% growth in demand by 2050 underscores the likely evolution of feed technology. Biological, biochemical, physical, chemical, and engineering methods are anticipated to make nutrients more accessible in animal feed. Digital tools, including precise spectroscopic techniques like NIR, are transforming feed formulations.

In 2024, ethical considerations regarding animal welfare continue to influence feed formulations and production methods. Consumer demand for sustainable solutions is compelling the animal feed industry to prioritize better welfare standards and transparent sourcing. Adapting to these trends throughout the year will enable the industry to uphold the highest quality standards, meet consumer demands, and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Supporting Immune Health

Concerns about growing antibiotic resistance prompt a shift towards non-antibiotic immune support solutions. Livestock producers, facing the risk of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, are witnessing a higher demand for solutions to enhance feed conversion ratios and livability rates.

In a statement, Henning Gerstenkorn emphasizes the need for producers to prioritize sustainable and ethically sourced ingredients. He encourages the exploration of plant-based alternatives and the adoption of innovative technologies such as AI and precise analytics. Additionally, he underscores the crucial importance of focusing on immune health in feeds, reducing reliance on antibiotics to address both animal welfare concerns and the global challenge of antibiotic resistance.