This month sees the arrival in the UK of Tiana cat food – thought to be the world’s first halal-approved cat food range made with human-grade ingredients using freeze-dried technology.
Tiana is the brainchild of senior petfood buyer Pankaj Hurria, who became intrigued when a family friend asked if any halal-friendly cat food might become available in the foreseeable future because the current void meant that she and her friends had to spend countless hours either tracking down fish-themed brands or creating home-cooked recipes that might unintentionally be light in essential feline nutrients.
Pankaj, only too aware of the current explosion in cat ownership did a little digging around and realised that even by his most conservative estimates, there were more than 500,000 Muslim cat owners not being accommodated.
Working alongside his friend, Umar, a devout Muslim and owner of full-service communications agency Pie Analysis, which has an unrivalled understanding in the distinct needs of ‘well-educated, millennial/professional Muslim women with moderate religious leanings’ it soon became clear that Pankaj had unearthed a pet food niche when a four-week teaser campaign conducted over Ramadan quickly generated 5,000 followers.
Initially, Tiana will be available in three distinct trial packs (35gm packs/makes 3.5 meals): Chicken, Fish and a particularly popular Goat, quickly followed by 250g/500gm retail packs that quadruple their volume when water is reapplied. Shrimp will be available from the autumn.
“It makes sense,” said Pankaj, “that a ‘pet humanisation’ movement that already encompasses every conceivable ‘food minority’ interest from grain-free, bio-organic, BARF, vegan…plus a number of dietary specific offerings, (hypoallergenic, joint & teeth health) would ultimately crave a first mover in halal-friendly meals.
“It’s also worth noting that Tiana embraces planet-friendly, freeze-dried thinking that not only ensures that each recipe retains a lion’s share of its taste cues and ‘nutritional worth’ vs old-school heat pasteurisation, it also ensures that 70% moisture isn’t needlessly trundled around the world, using up increasingly scarce resources. As a result Tiana has enviable export potential.”
Tiana says it is already in advanced talks with a number of the UK’s leading nationwide pet food providers.