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NUTRITION ▶▶▶


Flavours: A versatile, cost-effective solution


Flavours in feed serve various functions. They can help cover off-notes and simultaneously also promote a stable aromatic profile of feed or premix. In both cases, the results are beneficial to the animals as well as pork producers, as confirmed by recent Chinese trials.


BY JOËLLE FAUGERON, CLÉMENTINE OGUEY AND MARIO ROMAN, PANCOSMA S


100.00% 120.00% 140.00% 160.00% 180.00%


80.00% 7 8 9 10 11 Palatable flavoured


100.00% 120.00% 140.00%


80.00% 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18


Days of trial


12 13 14 15 16 17 Non-palatable flavoured 18


Days of trial


ome raw materials used in feed are excellent from a nutritional standpoint but present less-than-desira- ble olfactory notes. Those off-putting smells can not only be detrimental to feed intake, but may also dis-


courage farmers from using certain materials, no matter how nutritious they are. A carefully selected flavour can mask unwanted smells, improving the overall feed experience. In addition, some raw materials (e.g. molasses) have highly fluctuating price and quality, creating both financial and feed quality issues. Substituting an expensive material by mixing in a flavour with a similar aromatic profile – combined even- tually with a sweetener – promotes constant feed attractive- ness while saving costs. The doses of flavour can be adjusted to find just the right balance between savings and sensory perception.


Figure 1 - Use of a flavour to limit the negative effect of a non- palatable raw material in dairy cows.


Palatable unflavoured Non-palatable unflavoured


Attract and stimulate Apart from “covering up” olfactory notes, improving feed at- traction to stimulate intake is another major reason farmers prefer flavoured feed. Animals are extremely sensitive to odours, sometimes much more so than humans. Any change in their feed, however subtle, is noticed and may lead to low- er intake or even refusal. Unfortunately, feed formulation changes constantly depending on raw material availability, quality and prices. Even the profile can change from one crop to another. Flavours can counter these changes by smoothing over batch-to-batch discrepancies (see Figure 1), giving for- mulators more flexibility and securing feed acceptance by farm animals. Both humans and animals possess strong odour-emotional connections. For humans, an odour can bring back long-for- gotten memories, while in animals, environmental odour memory regulates many behaviours crucial for survival. Those memories, inherited through evolution or conditioned by ex- perience, can trigger preferences for specific tonalities. When the feed experience integrates a well-chosen tonality, it stimulates curiosity and motivates consumption.


Transition from liquid to solid feed In weaning piglets, the switch from liquid to solid feed is a stressful period when they tend to reduce their feed intake. That can impair their gut structure, which in turn impacts health and performance. Luckily, piglets are curious, highly


Figure 2 - Effect of a well selected flavour on feed attractiveness for piglets.


12 10 8 6 4 2 0


Number of feed contacts


Raspberry flavour


Alternative milk flavour 5 10 Time (min) 30 ▶ PIG PROGRESS | Volume 37, No. 7, 2021 15 20


Relative time


Relative time


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