I took a little field trip yesterday – to Walmart and paid a visit to the pet food aisle. It was one of the most discouraging field trips I’ve ever taken. I’m not going to mention any product names but wow do I have some interesting pet food sales tricks to share with you.
The number one interesting marketing technique – and I have changed the exact words to protect the identity of this pet food (gotta play nice)…Blazoned across one pet food was Crunchy Beefy Nuggets™. Did you catch it? Crunchy Beefy Nuggets is a trademark name – it’s a name! It has nothing to do with the pet food – it is literally just a name. Very slick.
The most common sales technique I found was pet foods that are ‘flavored’. The actual name of the pet food was ‘Steak and Vegetable Flavor’ or ‘Chicken and Fish Flavor’ – one even got very specific with the name mentioning Albacore Tuna and Yellow Fin Tuna FLAVOR. The trick there is the pet food is just FLAVORED with steak and vegetables or Albacore Tuna – that’s not really in the pet food!!! Again – it’s just the flavor. Most people do not get that – they see Albacore Tuna and Yellow Fin Tuna or they see Steak and Vegetable — they don’t see Flavor. Most pet owners just assume that since the front of the pet food bag – in big bold letters says Albacore Tuna on it – it’s got Albacore Tuna inside the bag. If the food actually had Steak and Albacore Tuna in it – it wouldn’t say ‘Flavor’ on the front – it would say ‘with Steak and Albacore Tuna’ and it would cost more (Albacore Tuna does cost more than Albacore Tuna Flavor).
One pet food proudly stated ‘No Fillers’ on the front of the bag – yet in the small print of the ingredient list – Ground Corn, Chicken by-products, Corn Gluten Meal were the first three ingredients. Sounds like fillers to me!
Another mentions “New Shapes and Colors”. Let’s see, does this mean this pet food is using more Red Dye now or more Yellow Dye? Very discouraging.
One pet food bragged that it contained Protein and Phosphorus for Strong Muscles. Phosphorus? Wikipedia provides us with the following “The most important commercial use of phosphorus-based chemicals is the production of fertilizers. Phosphorus compounds are also widely used in explosives, nerve agents, friction matches, fireworks, pesticides, toothpaste, and detergents. Among other uses these are used to improve the characteristics of processed meat and cheese.” I’m not sure I’d brag about that.
I found a lot of pictures of steaks and chicken on the front of the pet food bags, but I had a very challenging time finding any beef or chicken listed in the ingredients. Oh, but I did find a lot of BHA and BHT, Animal Fat, and Dyes.
I left the pet food aisle just shaking my head – actually more than a little blown away at how many by-products, meat and bone meals, and BHA/BHT pet foods that were there. In the 20 minutes or so I was looking at pet food and pet treat labels, probably five or six pet owners came in and purchased pet food. I kept my mouth shut – but it was very tough to do. To give Walmart a little credit – there were a couple of pet foods that were good (not great, but good). I understand that not everyone can afford to spend $25 for a 20 pound bag of pet food. But in my opinion, no one should spend a dime on pet foods that contain by-products, meat and bone meals, and BHA/BHT (or other chemical preservatives).
Just a reminder…Don’t let sticker shock steer you away from a better quality food. A pet food with a quality meat protein will cost more (a human grade of beef or chicken DOES cost more than cow intestines and chicken feet!!!) – but your pet (on average) will eat about 1/3 less of the higher quality food.
So let’s break it down to cost per meal…
Let’s say your pet currently eats 1 cup of food per day. A 20 pound bag of food will provide you with about 50 servings. If the food costs you $15.00 for a 20 pound bag – that equals about .30 per meal.
Now with a good quality pet food – feeding about 1/3 less – a 20 pound bag will provide you about 80 servings. If the better food costs $30.00 for a 20 pound bag – that breaks down to a little less than .38 cents a meal.
So even though the price tag of the food reads to be twice as expensive – it’s actually far from the truth. Using the above example, at .30 cents per meal, two meals a day, in one month you are spending around $18.00 per month to feed a pet with the inferior food. With the apparent twice as expensive higher quality pet food, at .38 cents per meal, two meals a day, in one month you are spending around $22.80 per month. Less than $5.00 per month difference in actual cost. You can probably imagine the health benefits to your pet from eating a human quality/grade meat protein pet food versus a by-product chicken feet and cow intestine protein pet food.
Please bother to read the ingredients of all products you give your pet. Learn where the ingredients come from (U.S. or China). Learn the shelf life so you understand how fresh the product is you are purchasing. And learn if the ingredients are a human grade or a pet grade (many ingredients themselves will tell you – as an example by-products – are not human grade). Knowing these things helps you find the right pet food and right treats to provide your pet.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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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