Should Pet Food Processors Invest in a Meat Shredder?
Shredded meat is making its way into the pet food world.
Dog and cat owners increasingly want to see recognizable meat and vegetable pieces in their pet’s food as part of a larger trend towards more natural, less processed pet food.
The uniformly shaped cubes traditionally found in wet pet food is not easily recognizeable (is that cube supposed to be chickn or beef?) and is often perceived by pet owners as over processed and unnatural — something pet food processors are trying to move away from.
Shredded meat, on the other hand, is seen as more natural and less processed due to its irregular shape and size. Pet owners are able to recognize meat shreds as actual meat, and are more willing to feed it to their pets.
With this growing trend towards natural pet food and, more specifically, shredded meat in wet pet food, innovative processors are already looking ahead at ways to optimize the shredding process.
Is a Meat Shredder Right for You?
Many human food processing companies around the world have already invested in some kind of meat shredder as a way to optimize their meat shredding process.
As shredded meat becomes more popular in the pet food industry, it’s time for pet food processors to start asking if they need a meat shredder to help in their food processing operation. Here are a few benefits to help determine if a meat shredder is right for your pet food processing facility.
Reduced Labor Expense
Most processors start shredding meat by hand. Get a large table and put a number of employees around it with forks and begin shredding away.
While this process works at first for small to medium sized processors, and can even be profitable, eventually the labor costs will eat away any profit you make.
As production scales up, labor costs will only increase if you continue shredding by hand. At some point on the production vs expense matrix, and that point is different for each company, shredding by hand will eventually cost you more than it makes you.
Employees need supervisors, breaks, vacation time, sick time, insurance, and pay increases – not to mention costs that arise from injuries, supplies need to do the job, and increased supplies like toliet paper, paper towels, and the like.
A meat shredder doesn’t need any of that.
Most models on the market require 1 or 2 operators to process anywhere from 200 – 10,000 pounds of meat per hour. That allows you to produce more shredded meat with a fraction of the labor expenses, resulting in greater profits.
Increased Product Output
As mentioned above, most meat shredder models can process anywhere from 200 – 10,000 pounds of meat per hour, much more than is economically possible when shredding by hand.
This increased capacity allows pet food processors to scale up output to keep up with increased product demand — in many cases with a minimal increase in operating expenses. Coupled with infeed and discharge conveyors to automate the shredding process, a meat shredder is the obvious choice for mass producing shredded pet food products.
Increased Employee Safety
Shredding meat by hand to include in wet pet food poses another potential cost: the risk of employee injury.
The constant stabbing, pulling, and tugging that comes with shredding cooked meat with shredding claws poses the risk of musculoskeletal disorders associated with repetitive motion and forceful exertion tasks.
The bent wrist angle and high force needed to effectively shred cooked meat can lead to issues like:
These injuries can be avoided by investing in a meat shredder.
When utilizing a meat shredder, employees aren’t exposed to the repetitive movements associated with shredding meat, which eliminates the risk and saves you from the high costs of employee injuries.
Invest in Your Product
When incorporating shredded meat into a wet pet food product, smart pet food processors choose to invest in a meat shredding machine.
The upfront cost of purchasing a meat shredder and any accessory equipment / upgrades is easily justified when considering the reduction in labor expenses, the reduction in employee injuries, and in the increase in product output.
Make an investment in your pet food product by investing in a meat shredder.