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Case Study: BSM Partners Increases Client’s Production Capability and Delivers Better Product with No Finished Product Cost Increase

February 5, 2024 Gregory Daniel

The challenge

Pet food brands face numerous challenges, some of which lead to great success. One of BSM Partner’s clients needed to increase their production capability on one of their best-selling extruded treats. It became necessary to consider a different contract manufacturer who could keep up with their growing needs. Before requesting support from BSM Partners Engineering’s Process Innovation team, product quality suffered during this transition. The biscuit became brittle, with moisture challenges, visible cracks, and inconsistent thickness (wedging) from one side of the treat to the other. The new contract manufacturing location had different production equipment compared to the first, and they had recommended reformulation, which would have:

The solution

BSM Partners Engineering’s Process Innovation team worked with the new contract manufacturer to change process parameters and eliminate product quality issues without changing the product formula. By optimizing extrusion process parameters, fine-tuning the oven baking process, and perfecting the extrusion die insert design, the following product improvements were observed: 

  1. Expansion during extrusion increased, improving biscuit strength and starch gelatinization (percent cook).
  2. Case hardening in the baking process was reduced, which reduced breakage.
  3. The extrudate flow of material through the die, during processing, was better balanced and reduced product fracture points. 

The result

These processing changes eliminated visible cracks in the biscuit, dramatically reduced or eliminated wedging, and led to better moisture and texture with less breakage. The formula for the treat was able to stay the same, providing a similar nutritional and improved physical profile to the original treat. Additionally, the palatability of the treat improved in comparison to the original treat product, leading to more positive reviews online and increased retailer orders, which was made possible for our client through partnering with a new, larger contract manufacturer. The original project scope only covered moving one treat to the new contract manufacturer; with these results, the client was happy and decided to switch their entire treat line over to the new contract manufacturer.


BSM Partners

BSM Partners is a leading consulting firm operating in the pet and human food industries. BSM Partners is a collective of professionals across a wide variety of industries, backgrounds, and life experiences. We leverage our shared expertise for our clients and draw on our deep connections in the industry to help you succeed. We are prepared for every challenge your business might face. From product development to replenishment, we have you covered. Our services include research, consumer insights, product innovation, food safety and quality, regulatory, nutrition, veterinary, transformation, operations support, and engineering.

BSM Partners Engineering Process Innovation

If you have a passion for finding creative and innovative ways to grow your business, then we are the team for you. We believe that nothing is impossible.

About the author: Gregory Daniel is the Director of Process Innovation within the Engineering group at BSM Partners. His technical expertise and a broad range of experiences, from plastic injection molding to over 25 years of pet food and pet treat development, allow him to bring a very unique and different approach to business challenges. In his role, he can combine technical problem-solving, Six Sigma Black Belt capabilities, and team development skills to drive solutions for any type of problem.

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