INDEPENDENCE, IOWA —Tyson Pet Products Inc. (T.P.P.), a subsidiary of Tyson Foods Inc., is launching a line of 100% natural True Chews dog treats to meet consumer demand for American-made, natural pet treats, company officials announced on Feb. 5.

T.P.P. is part of Tyson’s Renewable Products Division, which is focused on increasing the value of meat and poultry by-products in such areas as renewable energy, pet products, nutraceuticals and biotechnology. These products are being made at a recently-reopened plant in Independence, Iowa. Varieties of chews include ham bone, chicken fillet, pork ear and beef bully stick.

“The chews segment of the U.S. pet treat market is a $1.2 billion business growing at a rate of 8% a year and we believe there is significant untapped opportunity,” said Jeff Webster, group vice-president of Renewable Products for Tyson Foods. “Our research has confirmed dog owners prefer the benefits ‘True Chews’ treats provide their dogs. Our products are 100% natural and are proudly made in America’s heartland using a unique approach based on our in-depth protein knowledge.”

Chicken, beef and pork used in ‘True Chews’ treats are sourced from various Tyson locations in the U.S. and delivered to Independence. Raw materials used are slow-roasted and have a natural hickory aroma. The finished products are protein-rich and rawhide-free, with no fillers.

Tyson has historically been involved in supplying raw materials for pet foods, but the Independence plant is the first Tyson facility involved in producing finished, retail-ready pet treats.

‘True Chews’ products are being distributed nationally to pet specialty stores and other retail outlets. The company has also developed the website, which will be active early in March to help communicate product and promotional information to retailers and consumers.

Tyson’s Independence plant reopened on Jan. 18, 2010, after being closed since early 2006. Within the next several years, the size of the workforce at that facility is expected to grow to more than 100.