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Can you Spot the Pet Food Marketing Tactic?

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    1. Ann*

      And what the heck is a “vegetable accent”? I have never seen a vegetable accent in my grocery produce section.

  1. Barby

    All they are talking about is flavour, not the ingredients that use to create that flavour. More flavour does not equal more meat.

  2. Denise Thress

    Meatier, Meaty…..

  3. Kenneth

    Just a bunch of vague meaningsless words?

    “meatier” means nothing.

    Includes protein… protein from what?

    Chicken flavor.? Or actual chicken, and if so from what part of the chicken.

    “With chicken”.. what part? Beaks and feathers?

    Etc.. standard fare from petfood companies, trust their marketing spiels like a dead snake.

    1. Jude

      Just about all of it. Gearing the pet food to what “pet parents” will like; “tasty difference that pet parents will see – and their dogs will taste.” Emphasizing “healthy.”

  4. Jessica

    Meaty flavor? Give me a break why don’t they just say guess what “meat(s)” we used.

  5. Donna Borton Chicone

    It is all flavor and no meat or any other protein. The average person gets duped by the psychological ploy that this is actually good for their dog. It is intentionally deceitful.

  6. Barbara

    Meaty Flavor 🙁 What happened to the meat if all they are adding is FLAVOR??

  7. Jude

    Explain that to my 13 y.o. rescue male Rottie that has chronic kidney failure and to my 12 y.o. rescue female Rottie that has oral malignant melanomia

  8. karen

    “Flavor” is the key word here. It says nothing about more “meat” because there isn’t any! by product meal 7th ingredient on the list…disgraceful to call this “Really Good Food” :((


  9. Elizabeth

    Only more “meat flavor” is mentioned, not how that flavor is attained. They may not not be adding one more iota of actual meat to the food–perhaps just fat or broth (or worse) for flavoring. My favorite is the food that actually says “with chicken.”

    So, it’s s dog food, and it has many ingredients, but they’ve added “with chicken” because there’s only a tiny amount of chicken in there? It just sounds so bad–it reminds me of when a famous actor plays a cameo role in a movie for 10 seconds–the movie is not all about that actor, but they can say “with Robert DeNiro (or whoever)” because he’ll be in the film for s few seconds.

    I see people buying Pedigree at a major warehouse store all the time and I want to say, “If you love your dog, don’t feed them that stuff.” Sadly, it flies off the shelves.

    1. Sage

      As Elizabeth and others have stated – Meaty FLAVOR does NOT equate to higher protein as Pedigree has tried to suggest. Meaty FLAVOR is featured because there is NO REAL MEAT in any Pedigree pet “feeds”

      AND I totally AGREE with Elizabeth – every time I’m in a Costco, I see many shopping carts with huge bags of Pedigree dog food. I walk in Target or a local grocery chain store and there is Pedigree on an end cap with the cheapest possible price – LESS than 50 cents a lb. I so wish people would care enough to be informed and STOP buying these disgusting products. Makes me very SAD!

  10. Nora

    I agree with all the other posters….meat …real meat….from what source? Dead, dying and deceased animals? “Flavour” can b injected into anything to make it what you want it to taste like. Spray a dead squirrel with a flavour like a cooked steak and dogs will just gobble it up. Very sad that consumers don’t know what they are feeding their pets.

  11. Denise

    You have taught all your followers well Susan!
    Those of us that are educated on this picked up on
    It right away. Sad for those who don’t know.

  12. Jean-Pierre

    “twice the amount of meaty flavor ” = twice the amount of toxic chemicals.

  13. Dianne

    Thanks to your efforts to educate us and the overuse of the word flavor, it was hard to miss that they are talking flavor not actual meat. Except for the last one, and as Kenneth said, what parts of the chicken.

  14. Jose Carmona

    I agree with everyone.
    To top it all off though, my dogs wouldn’t even be able to eat it. Huskies shouldn’t have any wheat, corn and soy, and this new food has it all. Wow!

  15. Robyn Kassie

    In addition to the “flavor” everyone has already mentioned, what does “accents” of vegetables mean? More marketing tactics.

  16. Ellen

    I agree with all the previous responders: promoted as meat, but the reality is flavor!

  17. Dorothy Mayfield

    Just talking about “flavor”… not real, human consumable meat.

  18. Patricia

    New meatier taste?…How about giving your dogs some real meat (like chicken breast, lean beef and lean cuts of other meats ….how would you like to eat a bowl of cereal every single day and nothing else. Dogs need real meat and real vegis, and real fruit, whole eggs , non fat dairy. Use the dry dog food as a supplement to their diet and give your dogs some “real” food every day….you will see a big difference in your dogs health.

  19. Kathryn

    implies ‘meat’ and mentions proteins in the same sentence – no reason to believe the protein is derived from an animal source – more likely peas, tapioca, or other non-animal based product.
    ‘Flavor’ would probably be ‘sprayed’ on concoction of some fats/chemicals that would stimulate the scent receptors. Has nothing to do with actual ‘flavor/taste’.
    more crap to entrap

  20. Patricia Lindner

    Meatier.. What does that mean ?…accents of vegetables….what a marketing ad spin..

  21. Jude

    pet enjoyment is key to pet parents’ dog food choice,

    1. Sage

      Jude – enjoyment maybe BUT combined with the lowest possible price which surely is the determining factor for many pet food purchases – especially those choosing Pedigree or Beneful.

      I think larger breeds are at a greater disadvantage because they need a lot of food and when some new dog or puppy adopters realize just how much all that food costs, they begin looking for cheaper and cheaper alternatives with little thought to ingredients. Adopting can be Free but food is not!

      1. Jude

        I should have put quotation marks on my comment, as I had copied the comment from the text of the article. I was responding to Susan’s question.

        We spend a fortune on our dogs’s food and vet bills. We always adopt and expect that the dogs will most likely come with physical and emotional issues, as most were dumped like trash when their owners no longer wanted them. Our younger female, 9, was seized by the state for physical abuse and medical neglect. We’ve had her for 4 1/2 years and she still has her freaking-out days. Anything can set off a panic attack, but she is otherwise one of the nicest, sweetest dogs we’ve ever had. We love and care well for all of our dogs.

      2. Trouble

        I agree with your statement, Sage, that cost is important to a lot of people. I’ve been in the pet industry for almost seven years now (it’ll be seven years this July, actually), and I’ve cringed over the years, watching people buy foods like this – Pedigree, Beneful (this one is probably the worst, in my opinion, for being deceitful), Puppy & Dog Chow, etc. But, cost is actually not as important as most people think, when it comes to how people choose the foods they buy. When I see people buying these foods (well, any food, actually), when I strike up a conversation with them, more often than not, I ask them, “So, I’m just curious, but… What makes you choose this particular pet food?” And people are pretty honest with me about it (I don’t ask if I don’t feel the person would be comfortable with me asking), and very seldom do they ever say it’s about cost. The most common answer I receive, regarding these particular foods is, “Well, that’s what he was on when I got him [from the rescue, from the foster parents, etc]”, or the other common answer is, “Isn’t this a good food?? I thought it was. Why do you ask? What’s wrong with it?!” <— Those are the parents that I know are just waiting (whether they know it or not) for someone to come along and educate them. They're the ones that would feed a better food to their pets….if they knew they had to. But sadly, most frequently, when I talk to people about the truth with pet food, I hear this: "Thank you so much, I didn't even know about any of this. I never would have thought to even ask about this!" Or something along those lines. How can other people ask the questions that we – the ones with so many frequent flying miles on this website, lol – already know and are aware of, if they don't know that the questions even need to be asked? I try to educate every single person I see that's buying pretty much any brand of food, because no matter what they're feeding, if they don't know the truth, then when it comes time to make certain decisions, they won't know how to make an informed decision (even if they again, don't realize it). I helped a lady just the other day, she was buying Blue Buffalo Wilderness (which, isn't something I'd recommend, but she had done some homework on pet food and had the most common mentality of, "no corn, wheat, soy, by-products, etc". Buuuut… she didn't know that all wet foods were created differently, as well. (And to be fair, to the normal consumer…if they're all in a pate form, then they all look the same, so how could they be much different?) But as soon as she asked if we sold a particular product, I said, "Oh, we don't carry that particular item, as we have found that they make their stuff over in China and other similar places." She was shocked by this, then asked me about every other food item she had in her cart. And… I educated her about wet cat food. And she immediately put the Fancy Feast cans back on the shelf (I hate that we even carry those, as they're complete garbage), but I told her about quality of ingredients, and showed her how deceiving these things can be.

        In any case… Cost is a factor at times, but I think that, from my overall experience dealing with the general public on this, that once people are shown the truth, and shown that it is not cost effective to buy these cheaper foods, then they are quite willing to make a change to something better. And thankfully for me… those people that only look at cost… they stick out like sore thumbs, and I know them immediately and will offer my assistance, in the hopes I can reach them and make them aware of what they're buying, but… most of them have a certain attitude towards me, or "people like me", because they assume that people in my position are just looking to get people to buy the most expensive products we have, so we can make the most money. And that is not a mentality that is easily broken through, unfortunately. :/

        1. Jude

          I live in Maine, which is a poor state, and what I’ve run into is people who truly can’t afford anything except the cheapest food, people who don’t care what they feed their dogs, people who feel that dogs should get only scraps, people who know better but still won’t put their money where their mouth is, and people who truly love their pets, learn as much as they can about “all things dog”and feed them nutritious food.

          I have a good friend who sometimes supplements her dog’s inexpensive food with a butcher’s bone, and sometimes she feeds him a little of what she is eating and feels that with the butcher’s bone is sufficient. She has heard me talk to her about quality dog food and how important it is for her dog’s wellbeing. She knows better, but she still will not change the way she feeds her dog. A few peas, flavored and sugary oatmeal and a bone does not equal a decent diet make. It makes me ill to think about what her dog is eating, but I’ve said all I can and have had to just let it go.

          I think you’re in an ideal situation to make a big difference in how people feed their pets, and you’re to be commended for your efforts. Keep up the great job you’re doing.

  22. Laurie Matson

    The marketing buzz word here is FLAVOR!!! Not more protein, just flavor. how long are they going to think we are all stupid?

  23. Tim W Carney

    This is the same selling tactic used to sicken and fatten people of low awareness.
    To lazy to cook, and so lazy that even chewing junk food is too hard.
    The people who are swayed by this kind of advertising are more ignorant than the poor animals in their care.

    1. Jeanette Owen

      Yes, the ignorant people. They supply low income people with pet food. It’s cheap. The cheapest. They are all over the place with their dog stuff (food)- dog shows – oh the banners! etc. Oh brother! What show breeder actually feeds their dogs this garbage. Some of them??? How do they get in like flint? AKC??? They like handouts.

      1. dawn

        Jeanette, it’s not just “low income ignorant” folks that buy that crap. Folks from all walks of life buy it. I work in a vet hospital and part of our pre exam intake is to ask what is fed. It’s amazing how many well heeled, intelligent people feed that crap. A LOT of Kibbles & Bits is also a shockingly fed by the same ilk of folk.

        1. dawn

          So thank you, thank you, thank you for what you do Susan.

    2. dawn

      But Tim, the majority of folks buy this BS hook, line and sinker. Look at the majority of prepackaged foods, the mfg’ers are constantly “new and improving” their products. Redesigning their packaging so it’s more colorful, eye catching etc. and sheeples flock to it like a moth to a flame. we live in a nation of non thinkers, drinking the kool-aid daily. Exactly how the puppeteers planned it. Smh……..

  24. Brenda Boutin

    Yeah, meatier flavor. Sort of like when I bought fudge brownie mix and didn’t read ingredient list until I got it home. There was no chocolate in the mix. It had “natural flavors” I believe someday that humans are going to be eating kibble too.

    1. Trouble

      Heyyyy, come on now… What’s wrong with that?? Maybe Purina, Mars, Del Monte, etc. can make our pet’s food AND our food!! Oh wait…. they already do…. Ahahah. That’s so sad to think about, that I have to laugh, so I don’t get upset by it. Because these companies don’t honestly make foods any better for people than what they make for our pets. They make products that are filled with unhealthy ingredients, but…people buy them, because they’re cheaper and taste good. Even though our food is set to higher standards… they’re still giving us the lowest crap possible.

      You’re absolutely right though, someday, these companies will just make all our foods in one place, the “kibble plant”, and we can all share bowls of kibble with our dogs, and…. Yuck. At least then we could feed comfortable feeding a kibble that has human grade ingredients in it, right?? Lol.

  25. Kristi Johnson

    Twice as much more meatier flavor!

  26. Peter

    What can you expect from a business (Mars Petcare) that actually has a patent on a “METHOD OF USING OFFALS FOR PET FOOD MANUFACTURE,” (US 7, 575, 771 B2: August, 2009). Among the dictionary definition of offal is “rubbish,” “refuse,” and “garbage.”

    1. Trouble

      Can you possibly give a link to this information?? I’m curious to see what their “method” is, and if there’s any information on what this “rubbish” and “refuse” contains? And I just like knowing as much as I can… Lol.

  27. barbara m.

    After corn, corn gluten meal, and “meat” and bone meal, fat, there is the soybean meal, which is probably the main source of protein. It’s inexpensive, of course, as well as linked as the cause of deadly bloat in dogs…and it is deadly. Soy is also the cause of other numerous ailments in dogs.

  28. Linda Horn

    “Meatier flavor” does not equal more meat. And “protein” doesn’t mean meat, either. It sounds like they just increased the amount of “meat” flavoring in their vegetable protein-based garbage.

  29. debbie

    nutritious (not!)

  30. Colleen

    Wow! How blatantly misleading! They sure throw the word “flavor” around a lot without telling you what that “flavor” consists of! Tells me there’s nothing but garbage in the food as well as garbage in the verbiage. You would have to be an idiot to miss what’s “missing” here.

  31. Diane Rise

    Flavor, flavor, flavor?….not even “taste”. And who the heck knows what “flavor” means to a dog? What if a dog loves the taste of rotten meat ….. would that be a healthy “meat flavor” they can add?

  32. Gitta

    All they have added is most likely a chemical cocktail to produce that increased “meaty flavor”. A whole industry is devoted to creating chemicals that mimic the scent of real food. Even to the point of deliberately creating chemical aromas to trick the human into believing they are feeding top quality food. Dogs are being tricked into gobbling up junk. If pet parents can “see” the “tasty difference”, they have probably added coloring and perhaps new shapes to the kibble. The nonsense of being able to “see” a “tasty difference” shows how ignorant Mars believes pet parents are. And maybe they are right.

    “Accents of vegetables” probably means a rotten carott or pea has been dipped into the soup once.

    The sad truth: this will work.Too many pet parents seem to be that ignorant.

  33. Nora

    Oh! How sad! Honestly, do they think we are that gullible???? Accents of vegetables…..what in the world does that mean???? Probably waved an unopened can of veggies over the whole unpalatable and phony mess and expected us to buy it. Really!!!! This is so unacceptable a marketing ploy. Give me a break!

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