The reason why Mars employees eat the company’s pet food

Mars employees eat the cat food because they are hungry….just kidding, please read on…

Taste testing cat and dog food. Note: this is a joke and these guys are not Mars employees. "Rhett & Link Eat a Variety of Pet Foods"
Taste testing cat and dog food. Note: this is a joke and these guys are not Mars employees. “Rhett & Link Eat a Variety of Pet Foods”
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Certain employees working for the giant pet food manufacturer, Mars, eat the company’s wet cat food as part of their job. The Daily Mail website says that they do this to make sure that it tastes nice for cats and dogs. It has to be wet food only because I can’t see employees eating dry cat food pellets to test it. Can you imagine that?!

The interesting aspect of employees eating cat food is how they decide that it tastes nice or not. The fundamental problem is that you have to know what tastes nice to a cat and dog. This can only be achieved by trial and error because you can’t ask cats and dogs. Then you have to train your employees to be able to pick out a certain taste which you have established that cats and dogs like. The employee will decide whether what they’re tasting is similar to what they know dogs and cats like. That is a very basic taste test.

However, it does not leave the door open for any alternative tastes that cats and dogs might like. The point I’m making is that it is very difficult for a human to taste test cat and dog food because you don’t know accurately what range of tastes cats and dogs like.

This is made pretty clear in the story on the Daily Mail website because Joe Leveridge, one of the taste test panel members, tells us that he does a panel test every day to check the look and smell of the products. He eats the pet food to show the public that it is safe to eat. It’s about as basic as that. He doesn’t enjoy eating it. He has worked for Mars for 20 years and says that the food taste like offal. He also says that it tastes a bit like liver or kidney which he is not a great fan of.

He claims that it is quite rich in taste. If the product smells bad he has to block it from leaving the factory and then they do an investigation to find out what went wrong.

It’s an interesting little insight into how manufacturers design and manufacture pet food which is hopefully very palatable to cats and dogs. As mentioned, it must be based on trial and error. There must be lots of testing, not with people but with cats and dogs. The humans simply do the basic stuff which is to see whether it is edible at the most basic of levels.

I wonder if they are insured. You know cat food is made from all kinds of rubbishy raw materials such as diseased cows and road kill. It is made edible because all the dangerous stuff is cooked off at high temperatures which kills the taste. The taste is added artificially later. Dead rescue cats are sometimes used as a raw ingredient.

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4 thoughts on “The reason why Mars employees eat the company’s pet food”

  1. I tried tasting a dry cat food pellet. It was out of a bag of Nature’s Variety Instinct (85% freeze-dried chicken, 15% fruits and vegetables, according to the ingredients list). It tasted… like chicken. No salt, herbs, or spices, of course, but it was reasonably fresh and there was no manky flavour.

    I imagine taste-testers could easily determine if a batch were off or smelled bad. Beyond that, it would indeed be a matter of somehow knowing what cats and dogs prefer. I assume they really like liver and kidney, even if many humans do not.

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