November 9, 2022
What Is a Meat Meal and What Are the Benefits for Cats?
You may have noticed when reading the back of the packaging of some of our GO! SOLUTIONS recipes that one of the first ingredients on the list is a meat meal. These can be seen as chicken meal, salmon meal, or turkey meal for example.
Now you might be wondering, what’s the difference between fresh meat and a meat meal? Well, fresh meat includes muscle meat and naturally present amounts of accompanying fat. You’ll notice that on many GO! SOLUTIONS cat food recipes that deboned meats like deboned chicken are listed. Unlike the ingredient “chicken”, “deboned chicken” has had the bones removed.
Fresh meat is not as concentrated of a protein source as meat meals.
What is a meat meal?
Meat meals tend to be the primary ingredient in many of our cat foods. Meat meals are created by using fresh meat and nutrient-rich bones and cartilage. Using a cooking process, called rendering, the meat is converted into a dry ingredient that we at GO! SOLUTIONS can use in our recipes. This creates a protein-rich, dry ingredient.
What is rendering?
Rendering is a cooking process used to make many useful ingredients for use in pet foods. The process involves the application of heat, the extraction of moisture, and the separation of fat. Once the fat is separated from the cooked meat, the remaining high protein material is further processed to remove additional moisture and then ground into a meal.
Examples of meat meals include:
- Duck Meal
- Chicken Meal
- Lamb Meal
- Turkey Meal
- Salmon Meal
- Venison Meal
Really you can have a meal out of almost any animal or fish that is processed on a large scale, including cod, whitefish, beef, or pork.
There are many benefits of using meat meals in pet food some of which include:
- It’s low moisture content
- Meal meals are a more concentrated source of protein than fresh meat, due to reduced moisture content. Pound for pound meat meals contain increased protein as compared to fresh meat.
- Appeal to the carnivore's palate
Meat meals also have an increased shelf life compared to fresh meat. Meat meals provide a concentrated source of protein and increased naturally occurring mineral content, relatively speaking, due to their reduced moisture content.
What’s the difference between by-product meals, un-named meat meals, and named meat meals?
Well, by-product meals such as poultry-by-product meal, for example, may include unwanted ingredients such as heads and feet. On the other hand, Un-named meat meals such as poultry-meal may include meats from many different unknown animal sources. Named meat meals are created with a single animal source.
GO! SOLUTIONS does not use any alternative meat meal sources, such as by-product meals and un-named meat meals, in any of our products; these alternative meat meals are considered lower-quality sources of protein.
GO! SOLUTIONS uses premium quality 'named' meat meals such as chicken meal and salmon meal in our GO! SOLUTIONS original cat food recipes, as they provide a high quality and concentrated source of protein. We use named ingredients to ensure our recipes are high in protein and more nutrient-dense than recipes with only fresh meat. Since it takes 3 to 5 pounds of fresh meat to produce 1 pound of meal, this ensures that your cat gets the most nutrients possible from the least amount of food.
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