Wilsons Pet Food, a Perthshire-based pet food company that can trace its heritage back well over a hundred years, has just launched a range of exciting cold press recipes for dogs. The company has also announced plans today to invest in the growing raw food sector of the market by building a plant to manufacture the recipes so that they can take advantage of the increasing popularity in high meat content premium pet food diets and the growing trend to feed raw.
Wilsons Pet Food, which is now owned by Craig Wallace and his family, can trace its origins right back to the time of the Crimean War.
Fed up of toiling in a seed crushing mill and going out and selling animal feed from the back of his horse and cart, John Wilson, the original owner of the business, managed to set up his own feed mill in Dundee in the 1880s. He was able to introduce labour saving machinery from the United States and the advent of electricity in the 19th century led to the increased productivity of the mill.
During World War Two the mill was taken over by the Ministry of Food producing animal feeds for the war effort. In the 1980s the business moved to state-of the-art facilities in Dundee to concentrate fully on the working dog feed market which Wilsons Pet Food still specialises in to this day.
As well as working dog foods, the company produces an expanded range of products to cater for an ever-demanding consumer and continues to innovate within the pet food sector. They source only the best quality ingredients and produce top quality, appetising foods which help to maintain the health and vitality of any dog.
“It was a philosophy actively embraced by John Wilson, and we are proud to continue that long tradition” says Craig Wallace.
Craig himself has a strong background in manufacturing having spent the last decade working in the food industry from both the manufacturing and consultancy side of the business.
When he bought Wilsons Pet Food he was looking for a business that he could call his own and having seen what he saw as the poor quality of dog food being sold in the market, he believed that there was a better way and felt fortunate when Wilsons came up for sale and that he could take over an established brand.
Craig has been brought up around dogs all his life owning a Springer Spaniel when he was younger and now being the proud owner of a Dogue de Bordeuax. He has made it his mission to produce some of the best pet food on the market and to make Wilsons Pet Food one of the best premium food manufacturing companies in the UK.
With the only purpose built factory in the UK to produce cold press food, Wilsons are hoping to expand their customer base even further. They want to establish the Wilsons brand even more in the pet food market as well as maintaining their presence in their more traditional markets of working dog and agriculture.
“Our cold press food has been designed from the scientific data to have the correct level of protein as well as the right balance of fat to protein. Our range was developed with the help of pet nutritionists Milka and Damir Tesla who organise the Nordic Pet Food Conference and are experts in the field of cold press pet food.”
Cold Press Dog Food is a dry dog food which is pressed at a lower temperature of 55 - 65°C compared to ‘kibbled’ dry dog food which is extruded at a temperature of approximately 145°C.
High temperatures result in the denaturing of proteins and complexing of starches (sugars) reducing digestibility and thus absorption within the gut. Cold pressing minimises the impact of temperature damage and produces a food with greater digestibility and superior nutritional value.
The lower temperatures used with Cold Press Technology allow a greater range of beneficial raw materials to be added, including fragile herbs which have significant health benefits for dogs and are sources of essential vitamins and antioxidants. These cannot be used effectively in traditional extruded ‘kibble’ as they would be almost entirely destroyed in the high temperature process.
The natural pressing and blending of materials create a high density, high nutrient, high digestibility product that breaks down naturally and quickly in the digestion process; releasing all the value and goodness as it does so. Whereas, traditional kibble can remain intact and partially digested for hours.
“The Cold Press process itself brings a number of benefits” says Craig, “however, at Wilsons we are mindful that a well-rounded product needs good quality ingredients and a well-balanced, nutritional recipe. We have worked with the top nutritionists specialising in Cold Press products, who have, based on scientific studies, created a complete dog food with all 6 of the major nutrient groups: Carbohydrate, Protein, Fat, Vitamins, Minerals and Water.
“Achieving a good balance of vitamins and minerals is important and we have ensured that our product adheres to the “golden ratio” for 1 part Phosphorous to 2 parts Calcium to aid bone development.
“The Cold Press technique has also allowed us to incorporate super foods which provide additional vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, including: Seaweed, Ginger, Turmeric, Thyme, Cranberry, Dandelion Root and Merry Gold Yellow .
“Starch is an essential part of a balanced diet. The domestic dog has evolved/adapted to a starch rich diet but is only able to digest cooked starch. We pre-cook all our starch (particularly peas) to break down the cell walls and aid digestion.
“An important trend in today’s market is the prevalence of “Grain Free” foods, with key emphasis on the removal of Wheat Gluten from products. We have designed two of products to be completely grain free with our other product using a low allergenicity gluten source, rice.
“Our recipes have been designed with a limited ingredient ethos with single source protein. It was essential for us to keep the product as natural as possible and so we have prioritised achieving nutritional balance through ingredients. Wherever possible we use all UK ingredients. We have had to source the best rice from abroad but even our seaweed is sourced from UK coastal waters; supporting UK industry and minimising the carbon foot-print of our product. Not having to import product is a cost saving for us also, which we can pass on to the customers.”
The Wilsons cold press food is currently available in three varieties, Mountain Stream which is Scottish Salmon and Sweet Potato, Secret Pasture which is British Lamb and Brown Rice and Sunrise Song which is Chicken and Vegetables. The recipes can be purchased in 2.5 and 10 kg bags.
Wilsons currently has a factory being commissioned in Blairgowrie, after removing their small pilot line, which will be purpose built for the cold press manufacturing process and the project is being supported by the Scottish Government. The second unit Wilsons are getting is for raw frozen food and has been built by the Perth Council. This unit has its own solar farm.
Wilsons are currently being stocked by Vital Pet Food, Broomhall Wholesalers, Harbo, Pets at Home and Tarff Valley to name but a few. They are looking to expand their stockists further south and work with retailers who specialise in stocking premium and raw food diets, especially independent and grouped pet stores.
For further information on Wilsons Pets Foods visit: www.wilsonspetfood.co.uk. If you are interested in becoming a stockist visit: www.wilsonspetfood.co.uk/become-a-stockist/ or Tel: 01250 798298 email firstname.lastname@example.org