The billion-dollar, cutting-edge science of convincing dogs and cats to eat what’s in front of them.
Pet foods come in a variety of flavors because that’s what humans like, and we assume pets like what we like. We’re wrong.
“Despite the cryptic name and anonymous office-park architecture, the nature of the enterprise located at AFB International is clear the moment you sit down for a meeting. The conference room smells like kibble. One wall, entirely glass, looks onto a small-scale kibble-extrusion plant where men and women in lab coats and blue sanitary shoe covers tootle here and there pushing metal carts. AFB makes flavor coatings for dry pet foods. To test the coatings, the company needs to make small batches of plain kibble to put them on. The coated kibbles are then served to consumers: Spanky, Thomas, Skipper, Porkchop, Mohammid, Elvis, Sandi, Bela, Yankee, Fergie, Murphy, Limburger, and some 300 other dogs and cats that reside at the company’s Palatability Assessment Resource Center (PARC), about an hour’s drive from its St. Louis–area headquarters.
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