Horse treat packaging might be composed of materials such as plastic and paper that protect the product from the environment to improve shelf life. The objectives of this research, conducted at Southern Illinois University, were to assess the impact of packaging on shelf life of horse treats and to evaluate the impact of packaging on horse preferences.
Three packaging treatments were examined over a 12-month period. Treatments included a control (stored in solid-sheet polyethylene bags at -80° C), polyethylene bags (stored at ambient temperature and relative humidity), and paper bags (single ply paper bags at ambient temperature and relative humidity).
Moisture content and water activity increased in all treatments from month 0 to month 12, with paper packaging providing a greater fluctuation and containing visible mold at month 12. No difference was observed in horse preference. However, a trend for the number of treats consumed was observed, with treats stored in polyethylene bags increasing in preference while treats stored in paper bags decreased.
The researchers concluded that packaging type impacted shelf life and horse preference of treats.
For more information on this research, the abstract can be assessed from the Journal of Equine Veterinary Medicine.
Summarized by Krishona Martinson, PhD, of the University of Minnesota.