The horse meat scandal of 2013 led to tighter regulations surrounding the labelling of food for human consumption, but pet food labelling can still be confusing for owners.

The Pet Food Manufacturing Association (PFMA) standards state that all information given on a pet food label must be truthful and not misleading. The vocabulary used should be easily understood for customers and written in a clear, visible way. However, the composition of the food may be indicated using category names such as ‘meat and animal derivatives’. For customers, understanding the difference between pet food with whole meats and one that uses animal derivatives can be baffling.

The help pet owners make better informed decisions, labelling manufacturer Data Label has partnered with McAdams PetFoods to try and clarify some of the terms used. They’ve created an infographic highlighting how pet food is currently labelled, terms used in the ingredients list, and the creative marketing around these terms.

Pet Food Labelling infographic via Data Label

Managing Director of McAdams PetFoods, Neil McAdams said, “Most customers view dogs as family members. We want the best for our pets’ health as we do for our children. With creative marketing, terms to describe food that is not necessarily made with fresh or ethically sourced ingredients can sound as if they are. It’s hugely important that the labelling makes it clear enough for consumers to be able to make the choice, to have all the facts to be able to make an informed decision. We strive to give consumers a choice, and this can only be successful with honest and clear labelling of ingredients including how and where they have been sourced.”

Philip Carlyn of Data Label commented, “There is clearly a call for honest labelling and clarity over what is going into our pets’ foods just as there is for our own food. To find out that their pets are not eating what they think they are can be very distressing and a cause of concerns for owners, and having labels that are clearer could avoid us standing in front of the shelves confused by the different terminologies.”


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