Miscanthus grass is shifting the paradigm for pet meals fiber


AURORA, MO. — The litmus take a look at for contemporary pet meals formulations is evolving as shopper calls for transfer the needle towards merchandise and types that verify a wide range of containers. Does the formulation have a clear label? Is it all-natural? Are components traceable? Is the model actively pursuing sustainability? And, most of all, will this product profit a pet’s well being and wellbeing?

To this finish, MFiber is providing the business a multifaceted worth proposition for pet homeowners and pet meals producers alike with its Miscanthus grass fiber. Pet Meals Processing spoke with Eric Allphin, vice chairman of enterprise improvement at MFiber, to raised perceive Miscanthus grass fiber’s place in pet meals.

Within the Obama-Biden administration period, cellulosic ethanol mandates drove the event of biomass crop help applications that planted Miscanthus grass (Miscanthus giganteus) with the intention of harvesting the crop to be used within the vitality business. When these markets didn’t develop as anticipated, Renew Biomass noticed a latest alternative for Miscanthus grass as a sustainable, cost-effective fiber supply for the pet meals and deal with business. The corporate partnered with Miscanthus grass farmers, established its personal conversion amenities for processing the harvested crops into completed components and, thus, MFiber was born.

Miscanthus grass is a perennial crop, that means it’s planted as soon as and grows again yr after yr. 

The worth of Miscanthus grass was shortly acknowledged as a purposeful, insoluble supply of fiber for pet meals, in a position to switch or work in tandem with conventional sources reminiscent of powdered cellulose, which is a pulp product of the paper business, and beet pulp, a byproduct of the sugar business.

By comparability, Miscanthus grass fiber can function a one-to-one alternative for powdered cellulose in a pet meals formulation as a result of each fiber sources are extremely insoluble. Miscanthus grass fiber will also be paired with beet pulp or tomato pomace, that are extra soluble sources of fiber, to attain a extra well-rounded profile of each insoluble and soluble fiber, or a super “fiber matrix,” as Allphin described.

Moreover, MFiber comprises xylooligosaccharides (XOS), a prebiotic that may assist digestive well being, whereas powdered cellulose doesn’t. MFiber Miscanthus grass is all-natural, non-GMO, produced in SF/SF amenities with out using chemical compounds. The manufacturing of Miscanthus fiber doesn’t require the huge portions of water wanted to supply powdered cellulose, making it a extra clean-label and environmentally pleasant choice.

“Paper has a spot on this world, but it surely would not must be in our pets’ meals,” Allphin mentioned. “That is actually, the place Miscanthus is available in. Miscanthus can take the place of powdered cellulose and actually assist this business.”


From plant to bundle

Miscanthus grass is a perennial crop, that means it grows again yr after yr with out having to be replanted. It’s grown purposefully for the pet meals business and, whereas Allphin was fast to indicate that sure byproducts are glorious sources of vitamin for pets, this specificity offers MFiber a leg up in three necessary features: value, traceability and sustainability.

MFiber Miscanthus grass fiber ingredients can be incorporated into a variety of wet, dry and semi-moist pet food and treat productsMFiber will be included into a wide range of moist, dry and semi-moist pet meals and deal with merchandise. 

Renew Biomass runs a vertically built-in enterprise mannequin for its MFiber components, from planting and harvesting the Miscanthus grass to the conversion amenities that course of the ultimate components. Farms are operated in Southwest Missouri, and a proprietary methodology is used to calmly course of the Miscanthus grass into powdered or pelleted fiber with out utilizing any chemical compounds or water.

“Being vertically built-in permits us to manage all features of the availability chain, from the farming facet to the manufacturing,” Allphin mentioned.

MFiber makes use of proprietary planting and processing strategies to mass produce its Miscanthus grass fiber. The corporate describes its provide of Miscanthus as “virtually limitless,” and the proven fact that it’s grown and regrown on marginal land on rural farms in Missouri speaks not solely to the environmental and social sides of sustainability, but in addition to its transparency. The corporate goals for 100% traceability, working alongside farmers from soil preparation and planting by harvest and transportation.

This permits for dependable ingredient availability. The place latest paper shortages have interrupted the availability of pulp and paper byproducts reminiscent of powdered cellulose, Miscanthus grass is on the market year-round and just isn’t affected by the identical upstream provide chain constraints.

“We’re not a commodity,” Allphin mentioned. “There’s not a restricted market. We have now loads of acres and we are able to plant extra acres if wanted. We don’t need to depend on another nation or another business to supply a product for us.”

MFiber’s components are additionally competitively priced. The corporate’s Miscanthus grass fiber components are roughly half the value per lb in comparison with powdered cellulose. Apart from the associated fee financial savings alternative, MFiber additionally affords processors the prospect to protect pure assets. The corporate estimates that by changing roughly 17.5 million lbs of powdered cellulose with the identical quantity of MFiber, processors can save greater than $7 million in prices, in addition to over 150,000 timber and a couple of.6 billion gallons of water.

Respecting assets

In accordance with america Environmental Safety Company (EPA), the paper manufacturing business launched the second-largest quantity of poisons — particularly methanol — into the air in 2020. The EPA measures this by a Toxics Launch Stock (TRI) Program, which incorporates chemical compounds that trigger power or vital human well being defects reminiscent of most cancers, in addition to opposed environmental results. In accordance with the company, the paper manufacturing business launched 114.6 million lbs of TRI chemical compounds into the air in 2020, making it certainly one of the nation’s high air polluters.

In late 2020, the Pet Sustainability Coalition (PSC) partnered with MFiber and Trayak to conduct a life cycle evaluation (LCA) evaluating the sustainability of Miscanthus grass fiber and powdered cellulose. The LCA targeted on two phases: the fabric section, or the environmental footprint of extracting supplies from the surroundings, and the manufacturing section, or the influence of changing these supplies into remaining components.

In accordance with the analysis, for each 1 million lbs, MFiber was discovered to make use of 86% much less fossil fuels, 98% much less water, and launch 87% much less greenhouse fuel emissions than powdered cellulose.

Particularly, changing 1 million lbs of powdered cellulose with 1 million lbs of MFiber might save greater than 153.2 million gallons of water and stop greater than 496,000 kg of CO2 emissions. Much less reliance on fossil fuels might save sufficient vitality wanted to energy 169 averages houses per yr, and the discount of greenhouse fuel emissions is similar to the influence of almost 1.2 million miles pushed by passenger automobiles yearly. Moreover, changing powdered cellulose with MFiber sequesters sufficient carbon in a single yr to equal 12,614 acres of US forests.

“There are such a lot of firms which might be actually embracing sustainability and see us as a solution to assist them attain their sustainability targets,” Allphin mentioned.

MFiber is a Champion Degree member of PSC, partnering with the group to repeatedly assess its sustainability efficiency and methods. In 2021, the corporate’s sustainable enterprise practices earned MFiber the title of Greatest-In-Class Ingredient Provider for PSC’s Constructive Influence Program.


Instructing an outdated canine latest methods

Whereas powdered cellulose could also be acknowledged as a standard supply of insoluble fiber in pet meals formulations, MFiber hopes to vary this narrative with Miscanthus grass.

Analysis performed by Kansas State College discovered Miscanthus fiber carried out on par with powdered cellulose from a purposeful vitamin perspective, in palatability and through processing. The College of Illinois additionally performed analysis exhibiting that Miscanthus fiber can supply intestine well being advantages for pets when mixed with beet pulp or tomato pomace fibers.

MFiber offers dry powdered and pelleted formats of its Miscanthus grass fiber for various animal food applicationsMFiber affords dry powdered and pelleted codecs of its Miscanthus grass fiber for numerous animal meals functions. 

In accordance with Allphin, MFiber is seen in tons of of pet meals and deal with formulations in the marketplace immediately, overlaying the gamut from dry and moist diets to freeze-dried treats and injection-molded chews. The ingredient will be included in purposeful formulations, together with these focusing on pores and skin and coat well being, digestibility, fuel and different gastrointestinal points, hairball management for cats, and weight administration.

“Seven years in the past, firms might need been the primary one to start out placing MFiber of their pet meals,” Allphin mentioned. “However now, for those who’re not utilizing it in pet meals, you are type of behind the ball.”

The corporate at the moment distributes a majority of its product domestically, with about 10% of its enterprise going to worldwide clients in Asia, Europe and South America. With MFiber rising greater than 20% during the last two years, the chance to shift the paradigm for pet meals fiber isn’t any distant dream.

“Shoppers need an all-natural product, they need clear labels, they need entire meals on product labels,” Allphin mentioned. “We take this grass and all we do is grind it, after which your pet eats the entire thing. MFiber is a product that meets the expectations of consumers.”

Learn extra in regards to the formulating with fiber.