Research & Development

As soon as you become a partner, you will gain access to some of the world’s finest Research and Development facilities. The R&D Department work continuously to create unique, innovative solutions.

Research & Development is part of the DNA at GA Pet Food Partners. As a company, we strive to push the boundaries both in terms of nutrition and manufacturing capabilities.

Our R&D team works in collaboration with expert teams in Nutrition, Production, Quality, and other key departments to deliver ground-breaking and innovative solutions.

Innovation & New Product Development (NPD)

Protein Hydrolysis/HDP

Since introducing Freshtrusion®, GA Pet Food Partners has led the way in manufacturing diets that contain increasing amounts of freshly prepared meat and fish protein sources.

At GA, we are proud to be at the forefront of advances in pet food manufacturing. We never rest when it comes to innovation, and we are constantly striving for ways to offer our Partners (and pets) even better products. We are extremely excited to offer our latest innovation, which we call ‘HDP’ – Highly Digestible Protein.

By using controlled enzymatic hydrolysis (conditions determined in collaboration with experts at Nofima, a leading independent institute for applied food research), we can digest protein into small peptides (this process occurs naturally in the digestive tract). HDP increases the digestibility & bioavailability of the protein, improves palatability and produces a protein with low allergenic potential.

For more information on HDP, please get in touch with your dedicated Account Manager.

HDP – Highly Digestible Protein Report

You can view and download for free GA’s report on the development of the protein hydrolysis approach to increase the nutritional benefits of freshly prepared meat and fish, written by Dr Adrian Hewson-Hughes. This report details our research and development in our efforts to improve the nutritional value of the protein within our fresh meat and fish ingredients by converting the protein into small peptides, which are more easily absorbed by the pets eating it. We are calling this process HDP (Highly Digestible Protein).

Highly Digestible Protein Report

Collagen & Collagen Peptides in Pet Food

A unique feature of GA Pet Food Partners is collecting the finest meat and fish ingredients at the source. We know that these ingredients naturally contain collagen, although the amounts vary between different types of animal tissues.

Suppose we test different parts of a whole chicken, for example. In that case, we see that collagen is most abundant in the skin, followed by the carcass (from the bones and cartilage), with lower amounts in skeletal meat and internal organs (viscera).

Kibbles made with natural collagen-containing ingredients, such as Freshly Prepared meat and fish materials, will be digested and absorbed by the pet. This provides the building blocks (particularly the amino acids glycine and proline) for the body to make more collagen, which can help maintain healthy bones, joints and skin.

Thanks to our latest Research and development work on protein hydrolysis, alongside the introduction of an innovative ‘Highly Digestible Protein’ (HDP) process, we can ‘pre-digest’ the collagen within our selected meat and fish ingredients into collagen peptides using GA’s carefully controlled enzymatic hydrolysis before incorporating them into a delicious kibble.

Collagen & Collagen Peptides In Pet Food Report

You can view and download for free GA Pet Food Partners report on collagen and collagen peptides in pet food by Dr Adrian Hewson-Hughes, containing beneficial information on what collagen is, what it does, how it is made and how the R&D department at GA have made considerable innovations in HDP and collagen absorption.

Collagen & Collagen Peptides In Pet Food Report

Connoisseur Cat

When it comes to food, cats are notoriously difficult to please!

With this in mind, we have spent several years working with different organisations and our expert nutritionists to formulate recipes using a variety of ingredients and combinations of coatings on the kibbles. In addition, we have conducted extensive palatability trials to discover what makes fussy cats happy!

We are now pleased to announce that we have developed three fantastic new products (1 adult and 2 sterilised) that we know cats will love. These recipes are now available via our MyLabel portfolio.

In addition to the great taste, all products are formulated to support urinary tract health and have been shown to maintain urine pH within an optimal range to minimise the risk of urinary crystals or stones forming.

All research and development carried out at GA benefits every one of our partners. Any exciting R&D developments are offered to all of our valued partners, as our expertise is your success.

For more information on the Connoisseur Cat range, please contact your dedicated Account Manager.


Our Nutrition team have expertly formulated more than 800 recipes. Our team uses animal biology and nutrition knowledge to offer expert support and advice throughout the journey and crucially ensure that recipes comply with the latest pet food legislation. While working with our R&D Department, the Nutritionists help create new recipes using the most innovative solutions and select the most suitable raw materials before the recipe is trialled. Then, working with our Lab Technicians, they analyse the results in detail before the new recipe is sent to be produced.

Sophia Parkinson, our Pet Food Claims Expert, has compiled some informative articles below on why we formulate not just for the life stages of the pets we feed or the species but also the lifestyles.

Puppy Recipes

Puppies require an appropriately high protein level to support growth and development through this crucial phase in life. This is usually higher than an adult’s requirement, as this is the fastest development phase within a dog’s lifetime.

During this phase, they also require an appropriate and controlled Calcium and Phosphorus level to ensure correct skeletal development, which is especially important for large breed puppies.

Adult Dog Recipes

Our Adult Dog recipes are formulated to be complete and balanced to provide all the nutrients that a dog needs to live a healthy and happy life. They are formulated using various combinations of highly digestible proteins, carbohydrates and functional ingredients. There are plenty of delicious recipes to choose from to please dogs and their owners alike.

Small Breed Dog Recipes

Small breeds have a faster metabolic rate than large breeds, meaning they have much higher energy requirements per kilogram of body weight. Therefore, our Small Breed recipes are formulated to have a higher calorie content that is nutrient-dense which is packed into a smaller kibble size specifically designed to suit smaller mouths.

Large Breed Dog Recipes

Our large breed recipes are nutritionally complete and balanced and come in a larger kibble size to promote chewing and prevent gorging or fast food consumption, which could lead to bloating and digestive upset. The size and weight of large breed dogs can put more strain on their joints, so we’ve added a combination of glucosamine, chondroitin & methylsulfonylmethane to support cartilage metabolism and help maintain healthy joints.

Light* Recipes

Our light recipes have added L-carnitine – derived from the amino acid lysine – which promotes fat oxidation that helps maintain a healthy weight and lean muscle mass.
Our light recipes are 15% lower in fat than standard adult products to aid weight reduction. However, as it is the calories that are reduced, this does not mean that a pet has to eat less, and they can still consume a normal amount of food.

* FEDIAF guidelines state that if you declare a Recipe as Light, Metabolisable Energy or kcal must be declared on your product packaging.

Senior Dog Recipes

Senior recipes are designed to be suitable for those dogs over seven years old. A senior diet is designed to help support the joints, have higher fibre content to help ‘keep things moving’, and have reduced energy content to help prevent weight gain in those golden years. A careful blend of Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM helps support cartilage for healthy joints. These recipes include L-Carnitine, an essential amino acid that can help maintain a healthy weight and lean muscle mass.

Kitten Recipes

Kittens grow quickly; within six months, they will have reached approximately 75% of their adult body weight, and so getting their diet right is vital to help them grow from a kitten into a healthy cat.

Our complete kitten recipes are formulated to provide young cats with the balanced nutrition and increased energy content they require during growth. This includes a higher protein level, rich in essential amino acids to support healthy muscle growth and added vitamin E to help support the immune system. The smaller kibble size of a kitten recipe also helps to make mealtimes easily manageable.

Adult Cat Recipes

Unlike dogs, cats cannot synthesize all amino acids within their body, and so it is essential that these are provided in the diet to maintain their health. Our adult cat recipes are excellent sources of quality protein, rich in essential amino acids, including taurine and vitamin A, to help support the heart & vision and omega 3, promoting good coat & skin condition. This complete diet provides the confidence that the cat has everything they require to lead a happy and healthy life.

Senior Cat Recipes

As felines become older (7+ years), their nutritional requirements can change as they may become less active, spend more time indoors or develop a slower metabolism. Our complete senior recipes are formulated to provide high-quality protein, fewer calories and added l-carnitine to help your cat maintain their optimum weight and healthy lean muscles as they mature. It’s also enriched with our joint care pack to help support ageing joints and maintain good mobility. This means that senior cats can continue enjoying mealtimes to the full without compromising taste.

Sterilised / Neutered Cat Recipes

Sterilisation/neutering is recommended for pet cats; however, it is known to be a risk factor for obesity, as it may lead to an increased appetite and reduced activity level. Our recipes have been specifically formulated to help balance against these changes.

Indoor Cat Recipes

Increased city living has led to more cats living indoors, but this environment can limit their amount of exercise. To counteract the risk of unwanted weight gain, our recipes have been formulated with a lower energy content to help indoor cats maintain a normal weight.

Fussy Cat Recipes

It’s well known that cats can be rather particular about what’s in their food bowl. With this in mind, our recipes have been carefully formulated to ensure that it is especially palatable to cats so that mealtimes continue to be a source of enjoyment for even the fussiest felines.

Active Cat Recipes

Extremely playful cats may require a recipe that can complement their active lifestyle. Our recipes have been formulated with a high energy content that can help meet the increased energy demands of active cats. It is also rich in high-quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids to help maintain strong muscles and keep active joints healthy.

Colleague Spotlight: R&D

Alex Tebay

Product Innovation and Process Development Manager

Alex graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2004 with a BSc (Hons) in Food Science & Technology. He then went on to gain 11 years of experience in roles in the Human Food Industry covering both Quality and New Product Development, with various products from cereals, to dairy and fruit.

Before Joining GA in 2017, Alex was the Head of NPD for a manufacturer of sugar-based jams and fillings and was responsible for launching over 100 products into the bakery sector, supplying all major supermarkets. He had overall responsibility for the formulation, costing and drawing up of specifications for all of these products, managing the process from ‘Concept to Launch’.

Since Joining GA in 2017, Alex has been at the forefront of the many technical innovations that we have introduced to the dry pet food sector, be it equipment, manufacturing techniques, or new raw materials. Alex also oversees the processing side of NPD within the company and plays a large part in assisting the partner’s journey by introducing new products that change the pet food sector and keep it moving forward.