Enhancing feed palatability with sensory additives

Key ingredients in animal nutrition, and for livestock in particular, the aromatic properties of sensory additives help to enhance feed palatability. By extension, they also contribute to ration optimisation, in addition to cost control and animal well-being more generally. Herbarom, a French expert in natural ingredients for animal nutrition, has always understood the major role of plant extracts. The company thus develops a vast range of natural ingredients and solutions to meet the specific dietary needs of livestock (poultry, cattle and pigs). Plant extracts, tailor-made formulations and blends presented in solid and liquid form: the recognised properties of Herbarom’s ingredients and solutions contribute to animals’ general well-being while meeting the increasingly specific demands of end consumers.

Anne Manubens
Group Marketing Director and Sales Director
Herbarom Laboratoire

While appetence refers to the appeal of a feed ration, palatability implies a notion of taste and texture and is aimed at making feed tastier for livestock. In this regard, the use of plant-based ingredients to enhance both appetence and palatability plays a key role for several reasons.

It helps to optimise feed intake and the conversion rate from a dual perspective, i.e. meeting the nutritional needs of livestock and avoiding waste to thus optimise costs.

As components of an adapted, balanced diet, plant-based ingredients contribute both to animals’ well-being and their productivity. As feed constitutes the most significant cost in animal nutrition, it is also essential to avoid non-consumed rations and therefore waste. Animal feed can represent up to 70% of production costs for farmers.

Sensory additives are also a leading factor in regulatory compliance while providing breeders with solutions to optimise productivity and profitability. Herbarom has proven expertise in the animal feed market, thanks in particular to its know-how with regard to human nutrition and phytotherapy. A pioneer in plant extraction, distillation and the production of tailor-made ingredients, Herbarom offers a whole range of liquid and solid ingredients, such as essential oils, aromatic substances and plant extracts in liquid or solid form, which can be easily incorporated into food, as well as liquid and solid solutions to be added to compound, complementary or pre-mixed feed.

Among the most popular plants used in animal feed, Herbarom specialises notably in garlic, thyme, oregano, rosemary, mint and cinnamon.

Drawing on its dual expertise in liquids and solids, the company produces liquid solutions at its Aouste-sur-Sye plant, which can then be transformed into powder form at its Saint-Pierre site just five minutes away. Herbarom produces more than 750 tonnes of animal feed ingredients and solutions annually, and the company’s industrial capacity also enables it to subcontract certain operations for its customers.

In addition to optimising conversion rates, natural solutions also contribute to animals’ overall welfare, with proven benefits for stress, digestion, well-being and urinary comfort.

Stress can have harmful effects on animals’ physiology and behaviour (resulting in injuries, bites, etc.), which ultimately impacts yield and factors such as meat quality (colour, tenderness or pH). By helping to improve stress management, natural solutions thus contribute to animals’ overall well-being and maintain their performance levels.

Natural solutions also contribute to a healthy digestive system, by helping to stimulate rumination in cattle for example, improving the digestibility of feed and nutrient absorption, and thus resulting in healthy growth and optimised production.

Lastly, natural solutions are also a useful ally in managing heat periods in female animals and maximising fertility and reproduction, while ensuring proper livestock management and thus improved profitability and productivity.

Feeding livestock is a genuine challenge which requires a global approach from all players along the value chain leading to the end consumer. Preserving consumer trust is essential, and several factors come into play in pursuit of this goal.

Product quality is a primary concern. Natural solutions are currently highly sought after, coupled with an increasingly high level of requirements to be met. Natural sensory additives help to produce better-quality meat in organoleptic and nutritional terms, thus meeting consumer expectations. Consumers now eat less but better (in Europe, between 25% and 42% of consumers claim to be flexitarian) and are seeking to return to a more natural diet which offers greater reassurance with regard to product origin and traceability.

Guaranteed traceability and sourcing right up to the end product is thus key in choosing partners. As an ambassador for naturalness, working closely with the farming world, Herbarom is a reference in controlled sourcing and natural ingredients. This expertise ensures product effectiveness and safety as well as efficient supply chain management, for guaranteed ingredient traceability and compliance. Herbarom is also Feed Chain Alliance-certified.

Lastly, because working on value-creating projects is core to our approach, Herbarom co-develops tailored solutions with its client partners. These solutions meet the specific briefs, whether conventional or biological, of partners ranging from service companies to pre-mixers, distributors, animal feed producers and integrators.

While the aim of sensory additives is to enhance palatability and appeal, their naturalness also contributes to animal well-being, which in turn has a positive impact on consumers’ overall perception.

About Anne Manubens
With over 15 years’ experience in BtoBtoC marketing, Anne Manubens has worked successively for an organic cosmetics brand, in finance, in a communications agency and even for a seeds company, a career that naturally led her to Herbarom.
Manubens has acquired a 360° approach to customer issues and problems, placing customers at the heart of strategic thinking to offer them the best possible experience.
Her goal, developing solutions tailored for strategic markets like Animal Nutrition, Beauty & Fragrance and Flavours & Food.