They’re both processed, flavored, wrapped in brightly colored packaging, and have shelf lives that seem pretty much infinite. So are there any similarities between the recipes used to make your go-to fast-food chicken sandwich, and your cat’s favorite bowl of chicken kibble or jelly?
Why the comparison?
Both fast food and pet food brands market their products as containing fresh, premium quality chicken, when most of the time, we know this just can’t be the case. Unless a restaurant is having its chicken delivered fresh on a regular basis (as some franchises do) these businesses require their meat to be processed in order to last through transport, cooking, packaging, and sales.
To make processed chicken products for both humans and animals, meat needs to go through several preservation processes that can include the addition of salts and the removal of moisture. As a method of keeping costs down, meat is often reconstituted from multiple sources and more than one animal, in what the fast food industry calls Restructured Products.
Restructured products are basically small pieces of meat that have been collected from multiple sources, ground down, then bound together with other ingredients to improve shelf life and taste—you’ll find them in some pet foods and some fast foods.