Members of the company’s own panel of experts: The cats choose between different foods – this represents how the experts evaluate products developed by the Diana Pet Food team.
Owners will only buy the product again if the pet eats it.Rémi Cristoforetti, President of Diana Pet Food
That is why Diana Pet Food’s strategy increasingly aims to make the experience of feeding pets more pleasurable for owners. “Pet food properties, animal specificities and pet owners’ expectations are the three aspects we always have in mind when designing new solutions to improve the performance of pet food,” says Rémi Cristoforetti. Pet food manufacturers need to make sure that their food attributes will match animal preferences and nutritional requirements while satisfying their parents. “Do the pets eat the food or not?” says Cristoforetti. “Owners will only buy the product again if the pet eats and enjoys it and if it makes the pet feel good!”
This increasing consideration of pet owner expectations has a direct impact on Diana Pet Food Research and its innovation axis. A major topic for Diana Pet Foodʼs Head of Research Isabelle Guiller is the smell that emanates from the opened cans and bags containing the food. “We have diverging interests here. Dogs need a strong olfactory incentive, while owners find these odors mostly unpleasant.” That is why Diana Pet Food is working on a dedicated program to design solutions that will satisfy both sides, taking into account the differing odor sensitivities between humans and animals. “We mask unappealing notes in such a way that owners no longer perceive them, but dogs can still pick it up,” explains Guiller. Isabelle works with about 100 colleagues all around the globe – ethologists, biochemists, flavorists, veterinarians, statisticians and nutrition experts – on perfecting the smell, taste, texture, color, but also nutrition and safety of the food.
Part of the research team is some other very special employees that contribute greatly to the development of Diana Pet Food products. “In France, Brazil and the US, we have our own dog and cat expert panels that evaluate our products every day.” Panelis, the Diana Pet Food expert center in palatability measurement, is a resource for studies on dog and cat feeding behavior and for an understanding of pet-owner interaction. “With 600 cats and 250 dogs representing more than 60 breeds, Panelis is a unique expert collection of pet food’s final consumers!” says Guiller.
At Panelis, the research goes far beyond just measuring which animals eat what and how much. The French site launched a unique 1,000-square-meter research area dedicated to innovation, called the Pet Sens’ Innov, last September. “Studies conducted in the Pet Sens’ Innov cover varied aspects of pets’ sensory perception, including gustation and olfaction, but also somesthesia (bodily sensation awareness) and acoustics,” says Christelle Tobie, Business Development Manager at Panelis. “Research also focuses on understanding pets’ emotions throughout the whole meal through the use of innovative indicators, such as the assessment of pets’ excitement before, during and after food consumption. All these observations are performed under conditions that secure pets’ well-being without any invasive methods, according to Panelis’ ethical guidelines,” Christelle Tobie explains.
Isabelle Guiller works with about 100 colleagues on perfecting the smell, taste, texture, color, form, moisture and thickness of the food.