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Understanding Pet Food Labels and Ingredients

We all want to feed our pets a quality food. But with the overwhelming selection, fancy packaging, marketing tactics and our busy schedules, that can sometimes be a challenge. Over the next few weeks we will continue to add to this post to help you understand some common marketing tactics, labeling tricks and misconceptions in the industry.

“Meat First Ingredient” 

 
We all want to feed our pets a quality food. But with the overwhelming selection, fancy packaging, marketing tactics and our busy schedules, that can sometimes be a challenge. Over the next few weeks we will continue to add to this post to help you understand some common marketing tactics, labeling tricks and misconceptions in the industry.
 
“Meat first ingredient” is widely advertised in the pet food industry. Just because meat is listed as the first ingredient, doesn’t guarantee the product is primarily meat-based. You need to dig a little further!
 
Ingredients are named in descending order of weight before processing – not as they exist in the finished product.
 
A pound of meat (or meat by-products) can end up being processed down to a couple ounces of protein but it gets listed first because it was a pound before processing.
 
The ingredients that follow the meat ingredients can actually be present in much higher amounts than you’re lead to believe. If a meat is listed first on the label, the next thing you see should be another meat protein source. Otherwise, it’s probably not a true meat-based pet food!
 
Orijen and Acana are great examples of “meat first” foods, see below.
 
Orijen Original: Fresh chicken meat (13%), fresh turkey meat (7%), fresh cage-free eggs (7%), fresh chicken liver (6%), fresh whole herring (6%), fresh whole flounder (5%), fresh turkey liver (5%), fresh chicken necks (4%), fresh chicken heart (4%), fresh turkey heart (4%), chicken (dehydrated, 4%), turkey (dehydrated, 4%), whole mackerel (dehydrated, 4%), whole sardine (dehydrated, 4%), whole herring (dehydrated, 4%)….etc
 
Acana Wild Prairie: Fresh chicken meat (8%), fresh turkey meat (8%), fresh chicken giblets (liver, heart, kidney) (8%), chicken meal (8%), turkey meal (8%), whole herring meal (8%)…
 
 
Next week…Ingredient Splitting
 
 

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