Palatability: The importance of FLAVOR in pet nutrition

Learn how Biorigin yeast extracts can make food tastier for pets

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people adopted dogs and cats to fight loneliness and bring joy to their families. Abinpet data confirm this increase in the number of pets in households: the dog and cat population in Brazil increased 3.5% and 6% in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

However, not only has the number of pets in homes increased, but the relationship between owners and their pets has also evolved.

Owners have adopted a more humanized approach towards their pets, treating them like children. According to the Euromonitor survey, 68.6% of respondents globally say they consider their pets family member¹.

Pet owners wish their pets to have their values and lifestyles. According to a Mintel survey, 65% of German pet owners agree that their pet’s diet has a direct impact on their emotional well-being².

This indicates that the pet owners’ are more concerned with their pets’ health and nutrition has changed, and are now considered essential expenses. Promoting pet well-being and improving their quality of life have become priorities.

The humanization trend has led many “pet parents” to seek pet foods that contain the same ingredients and meet the same claims when purchasing their own and their family’s foods.

For instance, Mintel data shows that 38% of pet owners in the US seek natural foods for their pets³. In the UK, 53% of pet food buyers agree that those made with sustainable ingredients, such as byproducts from other food production, are more attractive².

As a result of this new pet humanization trend, pet food companies have changed their production practices. In addition to sustainability, health, and trends such as Upcycling Food considerations, the industry has also focused on palatability. Pet food companies have given more attention to the characteristics of their products, including texture, aroma, perception, and, of course, flavor.


Just like with humans, food appreciation plays a key role in pet diets, ensuring that they consume the required amount of nutrients. But what is the role of palatability?

Food palatability involves a combination of factors, such as texture, shape, odor, flavor, and mouthfeel. It also plays a key role in improving the flavor of foods for special diets, balancing the composition of essential nutrients and vitamins with a pleasant flavor for animals.

In other words, palatability is related to food savoriness and desirability. After all, dogs and cats have their own preferences and may reject foods that do not meet their individual taste.

The primary factor that affect palatability are:

In short, palatability plays an essential role in dog and cat nutrition. Even though the food contains all the required nutrients, it will not be effective if it does stimulate the animals’ appetite.


Choosing the right ingredients and flavor enhancers in pet food production plays an essential role in market differentiation. It increases the chances of getting the palatability right and, consequently, being appreciated by pets.

The most frequently used natural flavor enhancers are yeasts, essential oils, fats, vegetable oils, organic acids, spray-dried animal plasma, protein hydrolyzate, distillates, or food roasting and heating.

Adding yeast extracts to food stimulates the palate of dogs and cats, as they have an attractive flavor. Yeast extracts provides Umami, sweet, and sour flavors, optimizing food consumption and the utilization of specific amino acids.

Yeast extracts can be incorporated in the food mash or as coating, together with other flavor enhancers. allowing its utilization in a variety of pet food formulations, from extruded dry diets to nutraceutical compounds.


Since 2003, Biorigin has used biotechnology to enhance the flavor of a wide range of human foods and to offer yeast-based solutions to increase the attractiveness of pet foods

The company has recently launched the innovative PalaUp product line, which applies all its know-how in pet food ingredient production.

The PalaUp line is clean label and sustainable. It provides Umami flavor, and specific meat and roast chicken notes, bringing the taste buds of the owner and their pet closer together.

It can be used in different applications, and combined with different arrays of ingredients to provide unique sensory experiences to pets.

By applying Biorigin’s extensive knowledge in human nutrition, PalaUp contributes to make pets’ lives even more pleasant and humanized! For more information on the PalaUp line, click here!


¹ Premiumisation in Pet Care: Inflation and Beyond (Euromonitor, 2023) 

² Patent insights: innovations shaping pet food (Mintel, 2022) 

³ A year of innovation in pet food and products (Mintel, 2023)

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