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Sorghum Abroad

Sorghum Pet Food Attracts European Interest

By Megan Skiles P

et owners are becoming more health conscious than ever, choosing ingredients with nutritional benefits for their pets similar to their own and not

just in America. As pet ownership in Europe remains high and more

Europeans make the shiſt toward purchasing small-breed animals, the need to address obesity and diabetic condi- tions is creating a unique opportunity for sorghum with- in the European pet food market because of its digestibil- ity and lower glycemic index. “Sorghum has the potential to be a key player in this

market because of its health benefi ts, digestibility and palatability,” said Doug Bice, high value markets director for the Sorghum Checkoff . “Sorghum is a smart choice for addressing pet health in Europe just as it is here in the U.S.” Researchers in the Department of Grain Science and

Industry at Kansas State University have been working extensively on studies focusing on the use of sorghum in pet food. T e results of these studies will be released within the next year and are expected to provide in- formation that has the potential to add more value to sorghum in the pet food market in Europe. Dr. Greg Aldrich, research associate professor

for KSU, is a leader in pet food re- search and said there are important factors in regard to these studies that are building awareness both in the U.S. and abroad. “Some people are reluctant to

use certain ingredients if they don’t know anything about them,” he said. “If we can break down that barrier for sorghum, there will be a greater opportunity for its use within this market.” With added emphasis on both

health and convenience, the pet treat market in Europe has grown tremendously within the last

SORGHUM Grower Fall 2015

year. T rough the research and testing processes at KSU, Dr. Greg Aldrich and his team were able to develop a sorghum crisp that can be used as an aggregate to add structure to pet treat products much like a granola bar. “T e treat market is growing 10-12 percent each year,

which is double to triple the growth rate of the regular pet food market,” Dr. Aldrich said. “With the rate of growth in this market and obesity becoming a major concern in pets, treats need to be low calorie. Sorghum fi ts into that category perfectly.” As sorghum continues to make its way into pet food

formulations for large companies like IAMS and Ukanu- ba, the opportunities for its use within international markets increase. “T e more recognizable sorghum is within the pet

food industry as a whole,” Bice said, “the more potential it has of becoming a key ingredient for both large-scale and private label pet food companies in Europe.” As additional research is conducted and more

information is released beyond what is already known, industry leaders will be able to go for- ward and advance sorghum’s presence within this market. “T ere is not much sorghum

grown in Europe, and we welcome the opportunities that it has within the European pet food market,” Bice said. “In order for us to fully seize these opportunities, we have to make sure people are informed of the prod- ucts and know why utilizing sorghum for pet food is so benefi cial.”

SMALL BREED dogs and cats

are becoming more popular for companion animals in Europe, and owners are seeking healthy food options like sorghum.


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