Akita: Seasoning to sprinkle over pet food helps keep fluffy friends healthy

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Takalabo Produce President Kenichi Suzuki holds Ato-nose Natto Furikake in Daisen, Akita Prefecture

DAISEN, Akita — A food company in Daisen, Akita Prefecture, has developed furikake — a Japanese seasoning usually sprinkled over steamed rice — for cats and dogs to prevent constipation and improve intestinal health.

Since February, Takalabo Produce has been selling Ato-nose Natto Furikake, freeze-dried domestic hikiwari (crushed) fermented soybeans, for dogs and cats online. The product is rich in dietary fiber and free from preservatives and coloring agents. And 1 to 3 grams can be sprinkled over pet food.

Takalabo began developing healthy food for pets last year, taking a cue from the pandemic trend of more people getting pets, as many of them are staying at home. The company wanted to use fermented food that is a specialty of the prefecture in order to help pets be healthier.

In November, it conducted a market survey and designed a package whose thickness is at most 2.5 centimeters, so that it can be dropped into a mailbox. The product comes in three sizes: a trial size of 25 grams for ¥470, a regular size of 50 grams for ¥777 and a large size of 100 grams for ¥1,380.

In addition to online sales, the company hopes to sell the product at drug stores nationwide.

“Owners these days are more conscious of their pets’ health,” Takalabo Produce President Kenichi Suzuki said. “We want to deliver products from Akita to the whole country that will delight both owners and pets.”