ST. HENRY, OHIO — Family-owned and -operated meat manufacturer Cooper Farms announced Feb. 21 an expansion of its pet food offerings to include human-grade turkey ingredients. The company will leverage its vertically integrated supply chain to provide a variety of sustainably sourced turkey ingredients to dog and cat food manufacturers.

The expansion was initiated by a current Cooper Farms customer, who was seeking a turkey byproduct blend but was having trouble sourcing due to foreign material contamination with turkey gizzards. According to the company, Cooper Farms’ engineering and fabrication team solved this problem by developing equipment that could split and clean gizzards before mixing them in with hearts and livers. The resulting blend is a natural proportion mix of turkey livers, hearts and gizzards for pet nutrition formulations.

“Listening to the customer has enabled Cooper Farms to offer some unique products, such as bone cake and bone residue,” said Lynn DeArmond, new business development manager at Cooper Farms. “I love to task our research and development department with a customer’s request as they’re always up to the challenge.”

This is not the first time Cooper Farms has applied customer feedback to transform its business. In fact, the company’s first foray into pet food ingredients began with a customer request.

“Cooper Farms’ venture into pet food ingredient sales began about five years ago,” DeArmond said. “We had a major pet food manufacturer contact us looking for someone who would produce ingredients to their specs and, almost immediately, we found a niche market other suppliers were not filling with a giblet blend.”  

According to Cooper Farms, the company currently offers several turkey ingredients, including mechanically separated turkey (MST), giblets (hearts and livers), thigh trim, boneless and skinless wing meat, skin, neck meat, breast meat, and tendon straps. The company typically ships 2,000 lbs at a time fresh, and will occasionally send product to a third-party partner to have it frozen before shipping, if needed.

The company is encouraging customers to tour its plant in Northwest Ohio.

“We’re wide open to customers’ ideas and often new product concepts are generated by something a customer sees while touring our facility,” Cooper Farms stated.

Read more news from pet food and treat industry suppliers.