Functional Ingredients are the Future of Pet Food


Consumers not only want great tasting food for their pets, they want to keep their pets healthy and happy and because of this, functional ingredients are being demanded more than ever before. Functional ingredients are natural ingredients that have health-promoting, energy-boosting and/or disease-preventing benefits. Functional ingredients go beyond providing adequate nutrients. 

Functional ingredients are used in pet food diets to support such things as heart health, weight management, joint and bone health, and healthy immune systems.  But consumers also demand simple ingredient lists so it’s important for pet food manufacturers to carefully select ingredients that will shorten the ingredient list while providing added benefits.

Through education consumers can learn to recognize which ingredients in their pet’s food are considered functional.
Many pet food bags will make claims about their functional ingredients right on the front of the bag to easily explain the benefits of that particular diet. They use these ingredients as marketing and educational tools. Claims like “enriched with vitamins and minerals to help support a healthy dog,” “loaded with antioxidants,” “superfood for life-long health,” “omega fatty acids and Vitamin E for healthy skin and shiny coat” “high fiber for intestinal health,” or “contains glutamine for healthy joints.”

An important thing to note as a consumer is that ingredients are listed in order of predominance by weight. So paying attention to the first three to five ingredients will allow you to determine which ingredients bring the most nutritional value. Selecting diets that use wholesome, natural ingredients will benefit your pets the most.  

As pet food manufacturers tailor their formulas to meet the growing demand for healthy and wholesome pet food, functional ingredients will continue to play an important role. 

Want to learn more about ingredients? Many pet food companies provide an ingredient resource on their websites to help consumers understand what ingredients are used and why they are used in their pet food bags. Diamond, Nature's Variety, Wellness, Zukes and many other companies do a great job educating their consumers.

Lynzee Glass
Lynzee Glass, Director of Communications
Lynzee Glass has always had a passion for agriculture. Lynzee grew up in a small southwest Missouri town on her parentsí beef cattle operation. Her true appreciate for agriculture was developed during her involvement in FFA (Future Farmers of America). Lynzee attended Missouri State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in agricultural communications. After graduation Lynzee worked as the managing editor of Ozarks Farm and Neighbor newspaper, a regional livestock publication, where she had the opportunity to share the stories of Ozark farmers. Throughout that time, Lynzee was published over 100 times. Under her direction as managing editor, Ozarks Farm and Neighbor was award first-place in newspaper- general excellence by the Livestock Publications Council. She has also been recognized in the industry for her writing and photography skills. Today, her role as Director of Communications gives her the opportunity to continue working in agriculture. Lynzee oversees the website, social media, event planning, marketing and advertising. When Lynzee is not at the office she can be found volunteering within her church, serving as the marketing chair for Missouri State University Darr School of Agriculture Alumni and spending time with family and friends.