Posted at 11 May 2021

Cats‘ sense of smell is very powerful and strongly influences their feeding behavior. In cats, the sense of smell is involved in the detection and selection of food, as well as the initiation and continuation of feeding. Several studies already demonstrated that cats have individual olfactory preferences that can be innate or acquired. Food aromas can be perceived through inhalation - orthonasal delivery - and through consumption - retronasal delivery. A comprehensive approach was used to assess retronasal olfactory preferences of cats.

Different flavors were added to super premium cat kibbles through palatants which are traditionally applied on dry pet food to improve palatability. Individual preferences toward flavored and unflavored kibbles were assessed by a panel of expert cats.

When considered globally, the data show no impact of flavor on food consumption ratios. However, the study highlights the existence of individual preference clusters, with cats preferring certain flavors, cats indifferent to flavors, and other cats always preferring unflavored kibbles.
Individual segmentation in terms of olfactory preferences is a hot topic in Human food. Pet food companies use product differentiation based on various food sensory attributes such as smell, appearance, and texture. Knowing cat olfactory preferences will help the pet food industry design food adapted to the individual preferences of cats, and thereby answering the hyper segmentation trend in the pet food market.


Presented at WEURMAN 2021

Authors: P. Delime, P. Pachot @Diana Pet Food, Elven, France


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