A product must appeal to the senses to encourage one to eat it. Humans can be convinced verbally that something is good for them to eat even if it doesn’t taste so good. However, livestock can be very selective about what they decide to eat, and we can’t talk them into anything.
There are two potentially different perceptions of palatability, one being that of the producer or owner and the second being that of the animal. Owners tend to focus on smell and looks, while animals focus more on smell and taste.
Simply put, if the animal won’t eat the product, it doesn’t do the animal, the owner, the dealer or BioZyme® any good. As a BioZyme dealer, you should feel confident that you are representing products that have been tested and evaluated on an on-going basis for palatability and consumption.
Perhaps the most unique aspect of BioZyme’s testing of product palatability and consumption occurs at the company’s research farm, Winding River. Since its purchase in 2012, we have been able to utilize our own cattle, horses, sheep, pigs and goats to test products. This allows us to see first-hand how animals react to our products before they go into the field.
This type of testing is going on right now with the Concept•Aid® Goat mineral. After receiving some feedback about low consumption, our team reformulated the product. Simultaneously, the Farm purchased a small herd of goats. The new formulation is now being fed to each goat, and consumption is being tracked daily. After three weeks we will either know the new formulation’s consumption is on track, or we will need to reformulate and start the test over again. Either way, the product won’t go into the field until it passes the Farm test. While testing does take some time to accomplish, we believe it is time well spent.
The next way consumption and palatability are monitored comes straight from the field. All of our Area Sales Managers submit weekly call logs that report the details of each call they make. In these logs, product information is routinely reported back to us from dealers and producers. The nutrition team reads these reports each week looking for any palatability or consumption issues. We take these findings very seriously and follow all up with a phone call if there is any concern or education needed. In addition, a company database houses these call logs. This allows our nutritionist team to search for key words in the database like consumption, intake and palatability in a six-month period to look for any trends that might need to be addressed.
When it comes to making a palatable product, the company does have a few trade secrets. We reserve space in the product formulas for specie specific palatability. Sheep, goats and swine do not like dried distillers grains but cattle love DDGs. So, we use dried distillers grains for cattle formulas, and for sheep, we use soybean meal and extruded soy.
Salt is a dynamic ingredient for palatability in sheep, goats and cattle. We also use high-intensity sweeteners to change and mask bitter flavors. Licorice is a good example of a flavor that will entice the animal away from green grass and lead the animal to consume mineral. Swine and equine products are more commonly hand-fed so we might use fruit, berry and vanilla flavors to make the product more palatable for them.
The bottom line is that BioZyme focuses on palatability. No matter what, the animal still has to want to eat it or there’s no point in putting the product in the feeder. When you open a bag, jar or container you have to like the smell. The animal wants the same thing.