Trick of the Pet Food Trade
How does Big Pet Feed make extra millions? By luring unknowing consumers into spending hundreds of dollars more a year buying higher priced pet food that is basically the same as a lower cost pet food.
Big Pet Food (Big Pet Feed) offers multiple lines of pet foods, often making consumers believe one brand is higher quality than the other. More often than not, all of the different lines of pet food (from the same manufacturer) – the lower cost and the higher cost – are made at the same pet food plant using the exact same feed quality ingredients. Marketing helps steer consumers to the higher priced food (with almost identical ingredients as the lower cost) making millions in added profits for the manufacturer.
When you visit the Purina One website – a simple website greets the consumer making the claim “We were the first brand in grocery and mass retail stores to offer pet food with real meat, poultry, or fish as the #1 ingredient, starting in 1987.”
But when you visit the Purina Pro Plan website, consumers are greeted with a stunning website with video of beautiful, vibrant looking pets. In big bold letters the website claims “Powerful Breakthroughs that can lead to Breakthrough Nutrition.”
Is Pro Plan really a “powerful breakthrough”?
Both of these pet foods sell on the Petsmart website, but sell in slightly different sizes…
Notice that the bags are even shaped different. The Purina One bag is taller and thinner. The Pro Plan bag is wider giving the appearance of being equal in size to the consumer. Pet food manufacturers count on consumers not looking at the fine print of net weight. When we look at the sale price of the two pet foods, the price appears to be similar…
The Pro Plan dog food is only $0.83 more…and it contains “shredded pieces for taste and texture dogs love” (per the Pro Plan website). $0.83 more seems worth it for “breakthrough nutrition” right?
Let’s examine the ingredients of the two pet foods (minus supplements). Ingredients in bold are the included in both foods…
Minus some subtle differences, these two pet foods are VERY similar. Within the first five ingredients (the majority of the pet food by weight) – both have two animal protein ingredients (beef and poultry by-product meal) and both have 3 grains; the difference in grains is Purina One has whole grain corn, Purina Pro Plan has whole grain wheat. The Purina Pro Plan has added soy (2 ingredients) and glycerin – that’s needed to fabricate the “shredded pieces for taste and texture dogs love”. These ‘shredded pieces are NOT shredded meat – they are “shredded blend” or fabricated (pretend) meat pieces.
Now let’s look at the price per pound of these two dog foods…
Both of these pet foods are feed grade, most likely made from the exact same feed grade quality of ingredients from the same supplier. Minus some very subtle difference – these are basically the same dog food in different packages. But the ProPlan dog food is priced $0.69 higher per pound.
Fancy websites and shredded fake meat costs a lot more money.
Using the 8 pound size, if a pet owner purchased two bags a month (24 eight pound bags – 192 pounds of pet food) of Purina One the cost would be $315.84 for one year. With the smaller size ProPlan, the small dog owner would need to purchase 32 six pound bags (192 pounds of pet food) over a year costing $447.68.
A pet owner purchasing Pro Plan would spend $131.84 more per year for almost the exact same dog food.
It is not just dog food. Same two brands from Purina: Purina One and Purina ProPlan, but this time cat food. On the Petsmart website, both products are in same size bags but are priced very different…
For the more than $5.50 price difference, one would assume these two cat foods have very different ingredients…but…
The first four ingredients (majority by weight) of these two pet foods are identical. The difference of price per pound…
Two almost identical cat foods – yet the Pro Plan cat food sells for $0.80 more per pound.
What does that cost a pet owner? Two bags of pet food a month = $133.44 more spent for the ProPlan cat food over one year.
It’s not just Purina and it’s not just Petsmart. Two cat food varieties from Blue Buffalo: Wilderness and Freedom. Chewy.com offers these cat foods in different size bags, prices vary per pound, but the first six ingredients of this pet food (the majority of the food) are identical…
Recommended feeding for both Nutro Max and Nutro is about 3 cans per day for a 10 pound cat. A pet owner would spend $339.45 (over a year – 3 cans a day) for the Nutro food versus the Nutro Max.
When you notice a pet food has dozens and dozens of different varieties, watch for the tricks. Closely compare ingredients, and compare price per pound. You could end up saving yourself hundreds of dollars each year.
It’s one thing if the higher priced pet food uses human grade ingredients and the lesser expensive uses feed grade. But the above is not the case, all of the above are feed grade pet foods. More than likely the quality of ingredients in both the lower and higher priced foods are identical – purchased from the very same supplier. Shame, shame Big Pet Feed.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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