Cargill’s latest Feed4Thought survey, which polled more than 1,000 people in the US in December 2017, found 62% of millennials wanted the protein they ate to be raised with the same health supplements used in humans, such as probiotics, plant extracts and essential oils.
It found that consumers in general were three times more likely to prefer proteins that were fed those natural feed additives to improve the animal’s digestive health and overall well-being.
Chuck Warta, president of Cargill premix and nutrition, said: “We’ve seen a rise in the popularity of digestive health supplements for humans, which is echoed in the demand for protein raised with natural supplements. People want natural, wholesome and sustainable ingredients. In turn, they are increasingly seeking out protein options in line with their values and personal natural health routines.”
The survey also found that probiotics were the most well-recognised natural supplement for animals and that almost three-quarters (72%) of respondents were aware of the availability of natural health products to feed animals. More than 80% of respondents also reported adjusting or supplementing their diet to achieve better gut health.
“It’s important for the animal agriculture community to remain in touch with food trends, so that we can continue to provide the choices consumers demand,” said Hannah Thompson-Weeman, vice-president of communications at the Animal Agriculture Alliance. “Just as human health supplement offerings expand and improve, so do the options to raise animals with natural supplements. Consumers can now find the meat, milk and eggs raised with the same natural health supplements they personally use.”
Warta added that Cargill was already making moves towards natural supplements for its protein division.
“Cargill is expanding its efforts in healthy, naturally supplemented protein,” he said. "We are doing that through our acquisition of Diamond V and equity investment in Delacon. These two global businesses are leading the way in the production of sustainable and wholesome food that consumers want.”
Iowa-based Diamond V produces natural immune support products for animal feed, contributing to an overall safer and more sustainable food supply, while Austria-based Delacon makes phytogenic feed additives, which use ingredients like herbs, spices, and other plants to improve animal performance.
“Our mission is to develop products that are natural, research-proven solutions that help optimise animal health and productivity,” said Diamond V president Jeff Cannon. “Our technology works naturally with the biology of the animal to strengthen the immune system, which supports benefits beyond health and performance.”