Natural Balance Sold to Del Monte

119 Comments

From a Wall Street Journal Press Release:

Del Monte Foods and Natural Balance Pet Foods(R) , Inc. Announce Merger Agreement
Merger to expand Del Monte’s presence in fast-growing pet specialty channel; sets the stage for Natural Balance’s continued growth

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–May 22, 2013–

Del Monte Foods and Natural Balance Pet Foods(R) , Inc. announced today that the companies have signed a merger agreement. Natural Balance Pet Foods(R) , makers of super-premium pet food for dogs and cats sold throughout North America and also in Europe and Asia, will join Del Monte’s robust pet products portfolio.

“Natural Balance was created nearly 25 years ago to give pet parents the best super-premium pet food on the market,” said Joey Herrick, president and founder, Natural Balance Pet Foods(R) , Inc. “After careful consideration, we believe we’ve found the perfect partner to help the business grow for the next 25 years. Not only does Del Monte care about pets as much as we do, they have a complementary culture and set of values, their respected brands are found in eight out of 10 U.S. households and they have been a trusted name for healthy, quality consumer food for more than 100 years. Natural Balance looks forward to working hand-in-hand with Del Monte to leverage their strong distribution, supply chain and innovation resources that will help the brand achieve its next level of growth.”

“Natural Balance will continue to offer pet parents super-premium, high quality formulas that they have come to know and expect, and we look forward to continuing to nurture our valued relationships with our customers and other partners,” continued Herrick.

“Del Monte Foods is proud to welcome Natural Balance(R) into the Del Monte family of brands,” said Dave West, CEO, Del Monte Foods. “Natural Balance is well-positioned in the super-premium pet specialty channel and Del Monte looks forward to supporting and further strengthening that position, while honoring the brand’s esteemed culture and history.”

Continued West, “This merger is consistent with our long-term strategy for Del Monte to further strengthen our pet food and snacks brand portfolio and accelerate growth by expanding in the pet specialty channel. This offers us exciting prospects for continued growth, particularly in terms of strengthening our reach to independent pet retailers.”

The merger includes the equity interest held by private equity firm VMG Partners. “We are very proud to have worked side by side with Joey and the Natural Balance team in building one of the strongest brands in the pet specialty channel. We are excited about passing the baton to Del Monte Foods, who we believe will continue to grow and strengthen the Natural Balance brand,” said David Baram, VMG Managing Director.

Natural Balance Pet Foods(R) , Inc. was founded in 1989 by Dick Van Patten and Joey Herrick. Today, the brand includes both dog and cat formulas and spans wet food, dry food and treats. Natural Balance is headquartered in Pacoima, CA.

The purchase price and financial terms are not disclosed. The merger includes all Natural Balance(R) brands, products and other trademarks. The companies anticipate the merger will close in mid-June, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory clearances.

About Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Pet Foods(R)

Natural Balance(R) Pet Foods, created in 1989 by Dick Van Patten and Joey Herrick, is a leading premium pet food brand, offering more than 225 dog and cat products. Natural Balance products include Original Ultra(R) Ultra Premium Pet Foods, L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets(R) Formulas, ALPHA(R) Grain-Free Formulas, Delectable Delights(TM) Stews for dogs and cats and many more.

About Del Monte Foods

Del Monte Foods is one of the country’s largest producers, distributors and marketers of premium quality, branded pet products and food products for the U.S. retail market, generating approximately $3.7 billion in net sales in fiscal 2012. With a powerful portfolio of brands, Del Monte products are found in eight out of ten U.S. households. Pet food and pet snacks brands include Meow Mix(R) , Kibbles ‘n Bits(R) , Milk-Bone(R) , 9Lives(R) , Pup-Peroni(R) , Gravy Train(R) , Nature’s Recipe(R) , Canine Carry Outs(R), Milo’s Kitchen(R) and other brand names. Food product brands include Del Monte(R) , Contadina(R) , S&W(R) , College Inn(R) and other brand names. The Company also produces and distributes private label pet products and food products.

For more information on Del Monte Foods, visit the Company’s website at www.delmontefoods.com.

Del Monte. Nourishing Families. Enriching Lives. Every Day.(R)

CONTACT: Del Monte Foods
Chrissy Trampedach, 415-247-3420
media.relations@delmonte.com

or

Coyne PR for Del Monte Foods
Joanna DiNizio, 973-588-2000
jdinizio@coynepr.com

or

RBCPR for Natural Balance Pet Foods(R) , Inc.
Rob Bailey, 201-760-0200 ext. 101
rbailey@rbcpr.com

 

Many thanks to Cheryl at Dogstuff for sending this news!

 

Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
TruthaboutPetFood.com
Association for Truth in Pet Food
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible

What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
Is your dog or cat eating risk ingredients?  Chinese imports?  Petsumer Report tells the ‘rest of the story’ on over 2500 cat foods, dog foods,  and pet treats.  30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee. www.PetsumerReport.com

 

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119 Comments

  1. Susan MERCER

    There goes the neighborhood. Continue to be glad I found the sense in a raw food diet for my pets. I will never ever go back to a commercially prepared pet food.

    • Default

      None of you know what you’re talking about. But you can feed whatever you want. You only get your “facts” from chat forums and biased internet sites and make terrible assumptions without knowing any of the truth.

      It is a “wait-and-see” situation but instead of waiting you automatically demonize Natural Balance for making a sound investment in their own future.

      Did you know that non of the reps have been fired and the company ladder is still the same? Did you know that Del Monte is offering each person in the company benefits that most people dream of? Did you know that now NB has access to the fund to make new formulas and increase their productivity? Did you know that now NB can use the sourcing on packaging and shipping lines to make sure that the food is never going to run out?… No… none of you knew that.

      • Susan Thixton

        I’ve actually been told by an insider with the company that some management has changed. And as far as us knowing more inside information about the sale…how can we unless the company itself makes this public information?

      • Robert

        And what dreamy benefits might those be for those reps who had their weekly hours chopped in half as soon as DM waltzed in?

      • Sherrie

        It’s all bull. I worked for Kraft Foods and when we merged with Nabisco several years ago, everyone took a pay cut, there were no raises. Management was cut, it was really bad. When they took first took over, everything stayed the same, a few months later it got really, really, bad.
        I look for the employees here to get screwed.

        • Sherrie

          Also I have friends who currently work for Del Monte. A few of these people have been there for years, Del Monte cuts benefits like the rest of them. It’s not all that great.

  2. Michelle

    No more Natural Balance for my fur-babies….

    • Concerned Dane Owner

      No more for my babies either, can’t trust any of their other brands how can I trust they will continue with this one or change it to ingredients purchased from China.

      • Kathy

        Same here, I’ve fed it for many years and both cats love it, but I will find something else. Looking at the list of what Del Monte previously offers in the way of pet foods and snacks, it all looks like real crap. Shame on Natural Balance for selling to them.

        • Denise

          I agree – their LID line is one of two I have been able to use for my dogs GI system. Guess now I am down to one and it is not Natural Balance! Interesting how their cans say profits are donated to animal charities – and yet now they are selling out to Del Monte – something doesn’t make sense here.

          • Steve

            Denise, I’m interested as I feed this brand. What is the other LID line you use? Thanks

          • Denise

            Steve –

            The other brand I use is Holistic Select. It is a really good food that agrees with my dog. I use both dry and a little canned for a topper. It is sometimes a bit harder to find – so I would pick up the Natural Balance when I wasn’t near our independent pet food store.

      • Michelle

        I was under the impression they already sourced their vitamin/mineral pre-mix from China

      • Mandy Barre

        Agree!

    • Sally

      Oh, jeez. I came here because I just bought a Natural Balance dog food duck/turkey roll – it was really poor quality. VERY dry and crumbly. I returned to the store. I used it to stuff my dog’s kongs. Guess I will be going back to putting a chicken in the crock pot. How sad, a company with such a good rep, gone.

      • Patricia Knudsen

        I have used Natural Balance vegan dog food for years. I have noticed recently since the sale that the food is paler and not rich like before. I will no longer be feeding it to my beautiful companion animals. Please check my site …. testimonials of healing with whole food plant-based diet, humans and animals. Even stage iv cancers are being reversed with diet and positive mind. Trish Knudsen

  3. Tracey

    Natural Balance is hardly a super premium food- I would say it has found a good (and appropriate) new home with the meow mix and milk bones!

  4. Pamela C

    Thanks for the 2nd email today. I have very mixed feelings about this, I buy the only type they carry that is NOT mfg by Diamond.

    • kim

      I was not aware they produced any of their products via diamond. I used their dry cat low cal for years until last year when there was a continual package sealing issue.

  5. Sandy

    Oh well, no more Natural Balance for my pups.

  6. Trish

    Hmmmm so if that is “super-premium” where do you go from there? “super-super-premium”?

    I’d be interested in how much cheapening of the product to expect from Del Monte

  7. cheryl

    Let’s see how long it takes until Natural Balance ends up like Natura Pet Foods. Sold to Proctor + Gambel + within a year an almost total recall of their products. Something is wrong when you sell dish soap + pet food. Look at the other brands under Del Monte. Either recalled or really not worth feeding your pet. Thank goodness there are still small USA made pet foods where their ONLY products are high quality pet food. Will not be carrying Natural Balance in my store!!

    • Laurie Raymond

      I don’t trust the behemoths — don’t get me wrong. But Natura was sold to P&G 2 1/2 years before this recall, and it maintained its formula integrity and its own manufacturing facilities after its purchase. I don’t think it’s as simple as it was when P&G acquired Iams all those years ago. Now, our concerns about safety are going to be used against us to justify these silly salmonella recalls and the resort, I fear, to irradiation and other unwholesome measures to “improve” product safety. Consumers have got to shake off their dependence on industrial products — both to feed ourselves and our pets. That means taking responsibility for learning nutritional basics and giving up some convenience in favor of simple, home prepared meals. Don’t assume buzzwords like “natural” and “organic” convey adequate information. It’s not rocket science, but more like basic home cooking: it’s what you have to learn the basics of to be a functional grown up.

      • Jean Hofve DVM

        Indeed, the neighborhood has taken a serious dive!

        I must disagree that Iams/Natura maintained *any* kind of integrity. Yes, the ingredient list stayed the same, but that’s exactly how Diamond and friends fool consumers into thinking their products are decent foods. While Iams promised to maintain the same “formulas,” that’s just window dressing. They never said the *quality* of the ingredients would remain the same; and I guar-on-tee that by the time that agreement was signed, ships from China had come and gone, and trainloads of Chinese “chicken meal” (and other ingredients for which US alternatives were more expensive) were already headed for Natura’s manufacturing plants.

        Successful pet food brands get bought by bigger companies solely because those “big fish” believe there is a massive profit to be made. That kind of profit without cutting costs. Because most other manufacturing costs are not very amenable to downward pressure (wages, utilities, taxes, distribution, transportation, warehousing, shelf space, etc.), the best way to save big bucks is by buying cheaper ingredients.

        Note how this announcement was as carefully worded as Iams’ announcement of the Natura buy-out: “Natural Balance will continue to offer pet parents super-premium, high quality formulas.” Formulas, not ingredients. Caveat emptor!

        • Laurie Raymond

          Actually, Natura, after it was sold to P&G nearly 3 years ago, developed the most transparent program in the industry, known as “beyond the bag” where a consumer could go to the website, enter the product codes from his bag or can, and get to see everything about where each and every ingredient was sourced. I’m not saying super-gigumbous companies are trust worthy. I know it is all about profit. But I still think it’s important to be strictly accurate in our accusations. The veterinary nutritionists at Natura subscribe to the beliefs of “traditional” vets that a synthetic compound is the same as a natural one, and that it is possible to make kibble that is wholesome and healthful.. They have not degraded their products but have repeatedly raised their prices. To keep up profit margins you have to do one or the other — or both. Natura has always catered to “informed and picky” consumers, and recognized that to degrade products, or greedily try to do both, would cook their goose with that segment.

        • Peter

          I agree, and the “formulas” for Natural Balance had already been reformulated some time ago. Guess that should be expected again, once Del Monte puts them straight on how to maximize their profit metrics. Calling emphasis to the “carefully worded statement” is important: thanks for that!

    • STEVIE

      They also made food for exotic animals so that will now be crap…Plus word on the street is that they are firing all the employees who have been with NB since day 1… Nice going Del Monte… stick with you lousy tomato sauce!

    • Sherrie

      I am feeding my four dogs Blue Buffalo, but you mentioned there are a few dog foods still made in the USA with good quality products. Can you email me and please help me out by telling be the names of these foods so I can get a good quality food for my dogs? Or if Blue Buffalo is one of these foods. It is so confusing what to feed your dog, there are so many brands out there and so many bad dog foods. I would really appreciate your help. Thank you to anyone who has some ideas.

      • Leilani

        Not trying to hijack the answer, but I feed my FC Honest Kitchen “Thrive”. Took him a few days to get used to it, but he has been eating it now for over a year. It’s a small company (for now anyway), and they are very open to any and all questions.

        Tried it with my cats, but……. That’s for another post. :)

        • Sherrie

          Thank you for getting back to me. I will look up this food and maybe give it a try. There are so many foods out there and it’s so confusing which ones to try.

          • Leilani

            Sherrie, HK is based in California, but they also sell through Amazon. Google them; they always run specials and if you live in the continental US, the shipping must be reasonable. Not so here.

          • TaffyTS

            I changed my dog’s food to Honest Kitchen’s “Embark” (grain free dehydrated turkey, veggies and fruits) about a month ago. She loves it!! I have seen a big difference in her breath (so much better!). I used to feed her NB dry with a little NB Fish & SP canned food. [Dry food only in the a.m., and the mix at dinner.] No more NB canned food. BTW: The lining in NB’s 13 oz cans is STILL not BPA free and the shelf life on NB canned dog food is like 2 years! In my opinion, too long for food to be sitting in a can “chock-full-of-BPA!”

  8. Debra

    Unfortunately for those who feed Natural Balance, Del Monte is one of the companies who oppose labeling of GMO foods. In fact, they contributed $674,000 to defeat the labeling initiative in California. They stand with Monsanto to hide GMO ingredients from consumers.

    • Elizabeth

      That news alone should be reason enough to Boycott the entire brand.

      • Julie

        Agreed. We need to speak with our $$ and boycott these companies.

  9. Michael Dym, VMD

    Any pet food company that merges with huge corporate companies go south in terms of quality and honesty in my opinion as mergers with proctor and gambles, Nestle, Heinz, etc have shown.

    • PAUX

      Natural Balance went south prior to this merger. Look at all the recalls of their products within the last five years, the complaints, the sick and dying companion animals. It is not a quality food and will be less so after this buy out. Make your own food or feed raw, know what your animals are getting.

  10. Nancy

    I stopped using Natural Balance a while ago when it was involved in one of the recalls. Hello GMO’s.

  11. Gabe

    Good night and good luck, Natural Balance. I’m so grateful that my furry wonders are thriving on raw and higher quality food.

  12. Kathryn Smith

    Another one bites the dust — not that I even know what this food is, but P&G is not a harbinger of good things

  13. Melinda O

    Not so sure this is a good thing. Very dissapointed.

  14. Laurie Raymond

    I read this as evidence for the industry consolidation that has been made inevitable by the “salmonella recalls.” Natura was only able to survive the destruction of hundreds of thousands of tons of food, the damage to reputation and good will, and the need to upgrade an already first-rate manufacturing facility, because it belongs to P&G. Small and mid-size companies are going to be looking to sell to the behemoths, and if they can’t before a salmonella recall hits them, they will go under. As a retailer, I have decided not to stock Natura’s dry foods post recall — not because I think the food quality has diminished, but because I can’t afford to devote so much space in my store to dry foods. I now carry Orijen, Acana and Nature’s Logic only (in kibbles) — and I have been advising my customers to find at least 2 and preferably more top quality kibbles that their pets like and tolerate, and to rotate among them so they will be able to switch seamlessly if one of them is recalled. Beyond that, I am increasing my raw inventory, teaching more classes in home preparing pet foods, and developing local sources of grass fed, properly proportioned meats and poultry, encouraging everyone to at least incorporate some fresh, whole food into their pets’ diets. We can’t count on USDA/FDA, and we CERTAINLY can’t put our trust in manufacturers. Everyone with a dog or cat needs to know how to feed him from basic whole foods, even if they use commercial products.

    • Kathy

      I sure wish someone would help educate people (like me) in my town on how to prepare your own food – I worry about not giving my cats everything they need by making my own. Thanks for doing that.

      • Laurie Raymond

        Kathy, the most helpful source of nutrition info for the cat owner wanting to make her own food is Dr Lisa Pierson’s website: http://www.catinfo.org. She is a vet who covers everything from the basic ingredients and how to mix and serve the food to how to convert sometimes reluctant felines away from their bad habits and the “happy meals” to which they are addicted. She has info on modifying diets for specific health issues, and her own story about how she was converted from Science Diet. Far more info than one can absorb at one go, but it’s all there and very readable. Some of my customers like my classes because they learn best hands-on, and we make food together, but others like to read first, and all of those have loved Dr Pierson’s website.

        • Kathy

          Thank you for that, Laurie! I have bookmarked the website and will start looking it over this long weekend when I have lots of time to start taking it in. I’m done trying to guess at what foods are safe to feed my best friends, time to take it into my own hands.

        • TaffyTS

          Laurie: Does Dr. Pierson have a dog website too, or is she just focused on cats? [I checked out her cat website and did not see any reference to dogs.] I want to start feeding my dog more of a raw diet and would like a recommendation. I know I can endlessly search the web, but would prefer a little help in the right direction from consumers who are devotees of Susan Thixton’s wonderful webwork! Thanks for your feedback.
          Taffy

          • Laurie Raymond

            Dr Pierson does specialize in cats! For Dogs, check out Dr Karen Becker’s website: http://www.healthypets.mercola.com. Her book is available there, and it is excellent for both dogs and cats. I subscribe to her newsletter online, which is endlessly helpful. Her book title is Healthy Food for Healthy Pets, and it has recipes, but even better, I think, is the way she explains the nutritional imperatives so clearly and concisely. Once you have the basics down,you can check out other sites and have a basis for judging their content. There are some other good ones, but every so often in them, you’ll come across something really questionable. With Drs Becker and Pierson, you really won’t go wrong — but neither of them makes the subject needlessly complicated.

          • Leilani

            Well said Laurie. Dr. Lisa and Dr. Becker provide a world of information on nutrition, etc.

          • TaffyTS

            FYI: The website to view Dr. Becker’s info is http://healthypets.mercola.com (the link provided in Laurie Raymond’s response, below, did not go to the website).

        • Leilani

          Excellent website.

      • BC

        Go on line to Dr. Lisa Pierson- she has a wealth of knowledge on raw for cats.
        I buy my raw already ground and ready to go using Dr. Pierson’s formula.
        I don’t have time running a rescue to grind- for 50+ at a time in quantity.

        • Kathy

          Thank you, you’re the second person with this recommendation so it must be good! I’ve put the website in my favorites to peruse over the weekend.

    • Natalie

      Laurie, I wish there was a pet store like yours in Tacoma, WA.

      • Laurie Raymond

        Natalie, why don’t you start one? I’m in the process of converting my store, which is an S corp., into a cooperative. One of our objectives is to enable members to purchase the ingredients of healthy diets for their pets once they know how to make them. We are hammering out deals with local organic and pastured (grass-fed) beef and poultry farmers and processors to get the meats in the correct ratios of muscle meat, organ meat and fat. We’re working on member-risk-pooling for major veterinary medical care, too — to avoid the pitfalls of pet health insurance, which, just like human health insurance, takes your money then tries not to pay when you need it. Pet owners can create food and service co-ops on the model of other food and service coops. When we finally get it that no company trapped in the “growth is everything” mentality is going to put our, much less our pets’, interests first, co-ops are a way to organize in our own interest. It isn’t that hard — good information is available through the National Cooperative Business Association, and they have a great website. It’s time to get over our dependency on big companies and learn to do more for ourselves and our pets. There are lots of knowledgeable pet owners in the Seattle-Tacoma area. I bet you could start a terrific co-op.

        • Belinda

          Hi Laura,
          I am also interested in high and good quality food for my furkids. What is your store and where is it located, I am in Sumner and shop at Mudd Bay currently?

          • Laurie Raymond

            Hi Belinda,
            I’m in Colorado — Glenwood Springs, a small mountain town between Aspen and Grand Junction. Kinda far for you. But forming up a coop to buy meats, either already processed by local processors buying locally and ground with the correct ratio of muscle/organs/fat would let you buy the basic element of a raw diet (and if you get it without ground bone, it could also be cooked). There are recipes in Dr Becker’s book, and on Dr Pierson’s website that will let people get the other necessaries from common local sources. I lived for many years in Seattle and know the city to be progressive on food issues, including for pets, so you could probably recruit someone to teach home-made food making classes if you wanted. The key piece is to get local, clean, pasture-raised meat and poultry ground in the righ ratios. You can’t just buy hamburger or ground turkey. And you have to have a calcium source, but this is easy to find. Animal Essentials makes a lovely sea calcium supplement and you can find it at most independent pet stores. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Mud Bay has some knowledgeable folks on staff. There are also some excellent commercial frozen raw offerings — the cost per pound goes up as the convenience factor increases, but Primal, Bravo!, Nature’s Variety, Radcat are some companies that give consumers tons of information and support and are ethical and independent. I often use the Primal canine and feline formula 1 ounce nuggets to introduce people to raw, because they are so easy to feed.

  15. Judy

    Won’t be long until it’s all Diamond or giant food companies w/ingredients from China to choose from. Great.

  16. cherie holverson

    Has anyone been trying the organic dry dog food? I am trying “by nature” organic. Sounds great. Hope so!

    • Brenda

      I have started using this two weeks ago, so far so good, it not the best but its very good and affordable.

      • cherie holverson

        By nature , is a 5 star organic dry dog food. There are only 3 organic dry dog foods. They have to be certified by usda national organics regulations. One of them is Oregon tilth,in Corvallis, Oregon. It is expensive food, but we all want safe dog foods. What are some thoughts on this.

    • lettucehavewhirledpeas7

      We buy the By Nature canned cat food, (turkey & chicken variety), when we run out of raw meat or Honest Kitchen. It is USDA ORGANIC, the only one in our health food store that has that “sticker”. Our cats love it. I think that they have a dog food variety, too.

    • Claudia Loomis

      Hi Cherie,
      I own a small chain of holistic pet stores in NJ. We have had not had much success with each of the dry organic foods we carried, the issue is palatabilty and cost. The cost of the dry organic food is about 30%more then the all natural and holistic foods we carry, coupled with the fact that pets do not like the taste means customers never buy a second bag.
      Most of the organic cans we carry do OK, cost is still a factor but pets like the taste.
      Consider switching to Raw- it is the best of all foods. You can even get freeze dried raw or dehydrated raw so it removes the “inconvenience” feeding raw can present.

  17. ellie

    Another one bites the dust. I never used the brand but at least they make an attempt to look “natural.”

  18. Leilani

    Well, their list of cat and dog food they currently sell reads like a primer for what not to feed your animals. Hmm. I have never fed my animals Natural Balance so cannot comment on the quality.

  19. Sally Roberts

    The bigger they get,the worse it gets !! And any more the smaller companies,compared say to this one cannot be trusted either, You never know where the ingredients are coming from ! It is all about the $$$$$$ . So sad what this country has become and many others too !

  20. Georgia

    Here we go again. I guess we’ll be shopping for something else for the fur kids. I won’t feed them Del-Monte’ized GMO laden foods.

  21. Rose

    I look forward to each email from you. The one bag of Natural Balance i purchased ended up in a recall and my dog ended up at the vet sick from it but $200.00 and luck saved her. She is doing good on Merrick senior and just turned 16.

  22. James Hayward

    I agree; a long time Natural Balance feeder, I will now look elsewhere.

    Del Monte will figure out how to put cheaper ingredients in the food while having a total disregard for our pet’s health.

  23. Diane H.

    “…that will help the brand achieve its next level of growth.”

    Why do these companies think they have to keep growing and growing in order to survive? Why can’t they be content with providing a good product at a good profit margin and leave it at that? Natural Balance canned foods used to say “Made in USA” on the label. When I went to pick one up the other day, that phrase was nowhere to be found. Guess I know why, now.

    • Regina

      Excellent point, Diane. Natural Balance filled a niche for folks who want to avoid the big conglomerates, and were willing to pay more for the food because it was better. I think that the same folks who stopped using Natura when P&G bought it will now stop using Natural Balance.

      Wasn’t anyone at Natural Balance paying attention to the recall of Natura products after P&G bought them?

      There are still people out there who are willing to pay more for their pets’ foods, knowing that it is created by folks who care more about the health of pets than they do the profit margins.

  24. Tom Harper

    Just buy a copy of Susan’s personal choices and buy from there. Carni4 is top grade dry food and Honest Kitchen is human grade dehydrated raw. They form the basis of my feeding regimen and I add other things for flavor, variety and nutrition as available. There’s no reason to buy this crap from these soulless thieves.

  25. Cheryll Forge

    I don’t support big pharma, or big grocery. The goal is to have only a couple of companies control everything in America, as you no doubt already know if you look at the meat industry. Gotta vote with our feet.

    Nothing is better than raw for both cats & dogs. It is simple, but not as simple as just feeding hamburger. Lots of great information in books and on-line. Best bet is to find a mentor!

  26. Lisa Parker

    Omigosh, what do I do now? We are down to only 3 flavors that our cats will eat and 2 of them are Natural Balance. I am not well enough to be able to stand up and make raw food for 5 cats. I don’t know what we’ll do. We have an excellent store here in Orlando, FL that sells only the best grade food and they even still carry Evanger’s which I think was bought out by P&G if I recall. I told them they better start keeping up. Oh, this is so distressing.

    • kim

      When I stopped using Natural Balance last year, I started using the one by Bench and Field sold at Trader Joes and my Cat loves it! I have talked/grilled them by phone twice and they do not source their ingredients, as well I think they said they have their own plant for manufacturing. I may be wrong on that but they don’t make it at any of these suspect places. They have never been involved in any recalls. Give it a try.

  27. VIkki Cahill

    Well now I’ll have to find another limited ingredient dog food, can’t believe they sold out, money talks and we the consumer that try our best to give our dogs and cats the best food possible have to shift through all this crap to find good food for our pets. So long Natural Balance, before long we’ll be reading about your recall.

  28. Allison

    I actually run a small pet rescue and was feeding the Natural Balance Vegetarian Dog Food to my rats. The ingredients were far better than any ‘rodent block’ out there. This is sad to hear. Anyone else heard of the Del Monte banana scandal? I avoid this company all the time so I will definitely be avoiding this food. Guess I will just have to make all their food on my own too! The dogs are doing great on the raw :)

  29. Ingi Raikes

    Can anybody tell me what they think of Champion Foods products, Orijen and Acana?

    • Kathy R

      I have been feeding Acana to my dogs for one meal (the other meal is raw) for a few years now and have bene very happy with it. Orijen was too high in protein for my guys and messed up the blood chemistry (creatinine, BUN and Total Protein).

      • Ingi Raikes

        Thank you Kathy R, l really appreciate your input. X

  30. Angelis

    If I recall, pardon the pun, wasn’t Milo’s Kitchen pulled for poisoning pets recently?

  31. ESKIMODAD

    Hello,
    Can anyone give me reasons to advise a close friend to stop feeding her dog ceasers dog food?
    I feel at 0.89. a can it can’t be great.
    I’ve tried to talk her into feeding her 2 year old poodle/yorki mix, the same human grade I’m feeding my Eski but it isn’t affordable for many. Her Pup is always hungry she told me and is not active, she’s a 14 lb house dog and doesn’t get out much because the owner has MS. The 2 year old is very much loved.
    I really just want her to have an educated opinnion, that I can share with her
    Thank you so much,
    EskimoDad

    • TaffyTS

      E-Dad:
      I assume you are referring to Cesar dog food? It is manufactured by Mars (like M&M’s!). For one thing, it doesn’t have enough protein to be the only source of food your neighbor feeds her dog and as a result, her dog is probably always hungry! Plus, they don’t use quality ingredients (meat by-products? What meat? Mystery meat? Horse meat? Dead/diseased/disabled (the 3 D’s) meat?) Wheat gluten? Where in the wild would a dog get wheat gluten? Would you see a dog munching on wheat in the wild?
      Some of the Cesar formulas have plasma (a/k/a blood) in them. From what animal? They never define it.
      Many Cesar formulas are 85% water. Really?
      It is difficult to get people to “see the light” and stop feeding a pet food that the dog loves to eat. Some people are not doing their pets a service by feeding yummy, sugar-laden, meat by-product filled foods! It is like giving candy to a child! They love the candy, but you wouldn’t feed a child candy all day long, would you?
      Ask your neighbor if the dog drinks a lot of water too! Diabetes is very prevalent in elder pets that have been fed a diet high in sugars and fillers!
      Good luck! Getting pet parents to change their pets’ food (when the pet scarfs it up) is a challenge. I have six years of experience in the industry trying to get pet owners to look to more natural foods and it has been difficult to get many pet owners to change their habits!
      Taffy Twoshoes

      • ESKIMODAD

        Thank you, so much Taffy Twoshoes,

        I printed a copy of your reply and showed it to my friend and she was so very grateful and actually returned the case of Ceaser Dog Food she had.
        She is going to try a food recommended by someone on this site and I am Greatful for that recommendation.

        Eceyrthing you had to say is what I so desperately wanted to know and share with others…

        You’re 100% correct, she advised me that her dog is always hungrey and drinks bowls of water daily. Now she understands why that is.

        Again, Thank you, so very much
        EskimoD…

    • Laurie Raymond

      I would suggest switching the little dog to raw by trying either the Bravo! balance burgers or the Primal canine formula nuggets. If 14 lbs is her ideal weight (she’s not over- or under-weight) she would eat between 1 1/2 and 2 patties per day of the Bravo! or 3 – 6 1-oz nuggets per day of the Primal. The Bravo! is a bit less expensive. But for small dogs, the biggest immediate benefit is in preventing dental placque and periodontal disease, which little poodles are notorious for having trouble with. Both products have serving sizes that will thaw at room temp in 15 minutes, or in the fridge from one meal time to the next, and all you have to do is put it in a bowl. There is minimal handling. The Primal nuggets would be easier if hand strength and coordination trouble the owner with MS. She would never need to touch the food. Other benefits include the easy digestion, small odorless stool, the relish with which they eat it, the sweet breath, and the excellent all-round health they enjoy. This is what I would recommend if the owner came to my store.

      • Leilani

        I feed my Flat Coated Ret. “Thrive” from Honest Kitchen. He also gets a raw meaty bone 2x a day.

        I buy my food (including meat for my husband) as well as free range chicken from a Co-op that buys directly from a ranch here on the island. The cattle are grass raised w/o antibiotics, etc. The animals are allowed to live like animals until slaughter. It is a win-win for the ranch as a lot of the animal deemed “not for human consumption” was ending up in the landfill. Now it’s used for dog/cat food.

      • ESKIMODAD

        Hi Laurie,

        Thank you, so much for your reply,
        My friend feels your suggestion is the best for her little girl.

        It was very thoughtful and considerate of you to consider her issues about her hand’s and coordination.

        This site really is the best and filled with people like yourself that LOVE and care about our pets.
        Thank you, so very much

        EskimoDad

  32. KB

    My aunt worked for Delmonte and she always told us not to eat anything by them, so there is no way I would give this to my pets. I have heard of some pretty nasty things going into their food.

  33. Liz

    When pets food is oontrolled by big companies, they don’t care of the products they sell, just profit, so certain that they will want to create cheaper food to make more money. I am so glad my girls are on raw, they are 11 but act as if they are 4. Very healthy. Wouldn’t be in this shape if feed these low end food.

    • Cheryll Forge

      Totally agree with you. Our raw fed dogs live longer and we have NO vet bills!

    • ellie

      I feed raw also. It is easy and healthy, not to mention less expensive. My pets have never needed to have their teeth cleaned nor have they had any health problems.
      Kibble of any kind is still an unnatural product. Even if they use the finest ingredients the high temperatures needed to create kibble kills the natural nutrients that was once in them. Kibble is convenient for humans but it is not what our pet’s bodies are made to digest. Those synthetic vitamins at the end of every kibble ingredient list are what the pet is depending on for survival.

  34. Pam E

    Natural Balance just lost their reputation. I like that article that talks about how great the Del Monte products are! REALLY?

    • Kathy

      I wrote to Del Monte asking when they would be taking over – what I got back were basically quotes from the article above telling me how fabulous they are and how happy I’ll be. Oh, and “we can’t give you a timeline yet”…of course.

  35. Twaddler Belafonte

    Such a shame! I switched my cats to Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Chicken/Duck canned food a couple of months ago from a diet of mainly Wellness Core dry and it really perked them up, much better looks coats, their poop looks healthier, etc. It’s nice how when you smell that canned food it actually smells like delicious meat instead of like pet food.

    Oh well, I suppose now is a good a time as any to find try raw or at least some human grade high quality canned food. :)

    • kim

      I use the Castor and Pullox Natural Ultra Mix canned and my Cat likes it pretty much exclusively. Give it a try if you haven’t. I find it at Whole Foods only now.

      • TaffyTS

        Castor & Pollux (Natural Petworks) was purchased by Merrick Petcare Inc. (headquartered in Amarillo, TX) in April 2012. Castor & Pollux can be purchased at Petco.

  36. jane

    I was horrified ! Del Monte imports Fruit in Cans from Cina ?
    We have All the Fruit in The World here in U.S.A. ! Why do we import it from China. ???
    This country is doooomed !It woun;t be long, The Chinese Flag will replace the Star’s and Stripes ! I can see it clearly now.
    God Bless America that once was The Best Country in the World. No more.
    I have just lost My Dear Cat from Cancer, I will never get a Pet a gain. It’s been Hell, watching your Dear Cat, eating what you thought was good for Him, it Killed Him instead.
    I hate them All.

  37. TaffyTS

    The “Wall Street Journal” reported yesterday that a Chinese food-related company is trying to buy Smithfield Farms, which the WSJ reports would be “the biggest Chinese takeover of an American company…” A couple years ago I emailed Del Monte’s customer service via the net and asked why the fruit cups (that you usually see in the produce department of grocery stores) indicated “produced in China” when we have plenty of fruit and processing plants here in America! Their response was that they try to bring the best food products to America’s table with the cost to produce and deliver being a factor. So…. whoever said “it is all about money” was right on target! Sometimes the companies will get the produce or food source from the U.S. and ship it to China because it is cheaper to process, pack and ship it from China than to process it in the U.S.! Crazy!

    • ellie

      One of the problems is that China undercuts the prices charged by US companies. Recently China got a huge contract to process fish. The US companies that processed fish did it for around $1.00 a pound, I think it was, while China would do it for about 20 cents for the same amount. That is how they can afford to do things even through companies have to transport items all the way over there and back. It’s sickening and our government refuses to do anything about the imbalance in pricing.
      Our country loses businesses and jobs while China continues to grow rich off the backs of their low paid laborers. They are also major offenders where pollution is concerned.
      The companies in our country have to spend millions to cut down on pollution while China and other countries like India are puffing out all kinds of pollution into the world.

  38. Lisette

    Del Monte is the company that makes certain treats that landed my pet in the vet’s office. IV fluids and $300+ in vet bills later, my Maltese is thankfully better. This is a shame.

  39. Trina

    Wow, was not aware of all of this. I have only ever bought their treats but when they changed the shape of their milkbones one of my dogs refused to eat them anymore and the consistency of them no longer was a solid treat. I will be taking them out of their treat box when I get home and tossing them in the garbage!

  40. Sharon

    My Westie is 5 years old and my pride and joy. She has a lot of food allergies. Natural Balance was the only food I have found that didn’t cause her allergies to flare up. I am ready to buy new food for her and haven’t a clue what I should buy. Raw is not feasible for me. I 72 years old and can’t do a lot of extra.

    • Laurie Raymond

      Hi Sharon,
      On Dr Karen Becker’s list of 13 pet foods, from best to worst, homemade raw complete diets are #1 (best) and a close #2 are top quality commercially prepared raw. If you came in to my store, I would suggest you switch to Primal canine formula nuggets. If your Westie weighs 15 lbs – average for the breed — you would feed her 1/3 of a pound per day, which would be 4 nuggets pet day. It is almost as easy as feeding kibble, as you just thaw the next meal in a baggie in the fridge. Each nugget is one ounce. All vitamins and minerals are food-sourced (no synthetics). They come in 3 pound bags (48 nuggets each) so each bag would feed your dog for 12 days. For a more accurate feeding guideline if your dog is lighter or heavier than 15 pounds, the formula is: multiply her ideal weight by .02. That gives you the daily amount. You can fine-tune it for her individual metabolism if she needs slightly more or less than that. And Primal comes in a variety of proteins so that you can avoid known allergens. Honestly, the results you will see are well worth overcoming hesitancy about raw. There is just no better way to feed a dog — and this is one of the very best formulas. Good luck!

    • Ellie

      I feed my Yorkie Stella & Chewy’s frozen raw. It’s one of the few foods she will eat. Many of the frozen raw companies also make a freeze dried variety. Freeze dried might be a little easier for you to feed. When we started our dog on raw we used the freeze dried and she loved it. We switched her to frozen because it was a bit less expensive.
      As long as you are careful about washing your hands and keeping things really clean it is not difficult to feed commercial raw.

      • Taffy

        I have been feeding my dog The Honest Kitchen “Endure” formula of dehydrated raw food. It is a grain free Turkey formula. I use 1/4 cup of the Honest Kitchen, mix with 1/3 cup of warm water, let it sit for 5 minutes, and then feed. It is very easy to work with and I think it lasts a very long time! I get it at a doggie day care/specialty pet products store (NOT sold in the Big Box pet stores). You can order it online and have it delivered to your home! Whatever you do, do a transition where you are feeding 1/4 of new food for 2-3 days; days 4-5 use half and half (new formular/old formula); and then days 6-7, use 1/4 of old formula and 3/4 of new formula. The theory is to introduce the food slowly. If your dog(s) has loose stools, then you are transitioning to the new food too fast.

  41. Sherrie

    I four dogs, one with ear problems, bad ear problems. I have to put medicine in his ears all the time. They get red and crusty. Two of my dogs are overweight, can anyone recommend a dog food for overweight dogs? And one for dogs with bad ear problems. Next question, I feed my dogs “Greenies” every morning as a treat to help clean their teeth. What’s the word on “Greenies”. Thank you for your help.

    • Taffy

      Look at the ingredients on the box/package of Greenies. I cannot find it on the web, but I personally know that Greenies contain wheat (which is a grain) and/or wheat gluten and other ingredients that exacerbate yeast issues in dogs (which is the most probable reason for constant ear problems).
      There are plenty of GRAIN FREE dog food formulas on the market. I would go with a Limited Ingredient, Grain Free food with a lower protein and carbohydrate content (for the “diet” dog). Try to stay away from white potatoes too (because the starch turns to sugar and feeds yeast in the gut), and definitely NO CORN (corn is a grain, not a vegetable, and is a starchy grain at that). NB has a new line of reduced fat dry dog foods, but you will have to look on the packaging to see if it is limited ingredients and grain free. Have you ever seen JJ Virgin and other human nutritionists (like Tana and Dr. Amen) say that for 2-3 weeks, take “gluten (i.e., in wheat and grains), eggs, soy, corn, peanuts, dairy, sugar” and other things out of a human diet to determine food allergies as well as reduce incidences of “leaky gut” and yeast issues? Follow that concept with your dogs too. Deer Antlers are a good substitute for Greenies. They are all natural, last a long time, are a natural source of things for joint health and not full of unnatural ingredients and preservatives like Greenies. There are also sprays and gels for dog’s teeth on the market now that are very helpful in reducing plaque and tartar.

  42. Mitzy

    It’s a pity the company sold out, sold its’ reputation. They are willing to sacrifice their base of customers for the masses who won’t care or know who owns it and won’t ask tough questions. Natural Balance is the house brand of Petco. One of the general managers of Petco said a handful of general managers and other higher-ups visited one of the Del Monte plants where the food is manufactured and it was not a pretty sight, to the extent that some of these managers no longer want to recommend the food to customers, per Petco’s Intranet blog.

    So there you have it folks, that’s the reality. But when these things happen it’s an opportunity to learn how to better feed our pets, look for species appropriate and nutrient dense diets – nix the kibble, there is no cereal in the wild.

  43. dog mom

    I’m SO disappointed in Natural Balance. I’ve been feeding my dog their Limited Ingredients Diet, bison & sweet potato. For the first time in years I finally had his stomach problem under control and his stool was perfect.

    Tonight I opened a new bag and the color of the food was completely different. I checked the ingredients and they’ve changed the formula. They added pea protein, which my dog does not do well on, and they increased the fiber.

    They also removed the statement from the bag that said “Our high plains bison are raised on an all-natural diet without antibiotics or hormones”, so I assume that their bison now contains antibiotics and/or hormones.

    • Buenos Nachos

      The color of the LID Chicken/Duck dry cat food has changed color also. It is very light in color now, anemic-looking even.

    • dog mom

      I contacted Natural Balance via email and they tried to convince me that the formula hasn’t changed. Hmmmm…. The new bag shows pea protein. The old bag doesn’t. The new bag shows higher fiber content. The new bag shows different amounts of the Omega acids. The new bag shows an increased serving size. And they try to tell me nothing has changed.

  44. Patricia Knudsen

    I have been buying Natural Balance vegan formula for years. In recent months, I noticed the color is much lighter. I do mix it in with half human food, vegetable scrappings from juicing, etc. All dogs had beautiful skin. Now, they are starting to develop problems.

    No more Natural Balance for me! Once a reputation is lost, it’s very difficult to restore. Natural Balance has failed me. I do not trust Del Monte.

    Also, my pet food store used to offer a free bag for every 10 purchased. They just changed it to every 12 purchased.

  45. LAS

    If you read the label on Dick Van Patten’s New Balance Stew Meat dog food it is a Product of Thailand and Not made in the USA Petco has stated it is only going to provide USA made products with this being one of them which is not actually made in the USA.

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