Monday, June 15, 2009

The greening of pet foods

Greenopia is an online directory that purports to help people make 'green' choices in their every day living. They have just posted a rating of 30 pet foods, with the most green being Karma (made by Natura brands) and Raw Advantage.

I found it very difficult to determine how they rated the products as the website doesn't appear to post their criteria. Pet food Industry magazine reports:

"Greenopia collected data from manufacturers and independent sources about each brand's ingredients, packaging, sustainability reporting, supply chain, animal testing policies and green building design. Companies were given additional points for their adoption of environmental initiatives. One-third of the brands evaluated earned zero-leaf ratings, revealing them to be below Greenopia's minimum green threshold."

You can see the entire listing here:


  1. I agree that much of the pet industry is surrounded by standards and criteria that are often vague, often misunderstood (and often not documented). I have learned so much about dog and cat nutrition, and I wish I could help everyone learn what I know. So many websites that claim to evaluate foods, for example, use undocumented criteria, or they misunderstand pet food ingredients. So many people don't know the AAFCO definitions of ingredients, so they react to how the ingredients sound rather than to what they really are.

    There is so much to know. I'm sure my learning process will always continue. But I do wish I could help people understand about the chicanery that is practiced widely in this industry to sell--as premium, green, and healthy products--things that use low-quality ingredients, poor production and packaging, and more.

    There are some reliable companies that make responsible decisions about ingredients, packaging, etc. They're just hard to differentiate from all the other companies that are behaving much less responsibly!

  2. Rebecca, you are very right. Two examples - a major company uses "chicken by-products" which sounds bad, but in fact is what paleolithic feeders would appreciate because it is actually the entire chicken carcass (let's not get into the processing and the amount of meat actually there - I'm just focusing on the limitations of the language in AAFCO ingredient definitions).

    In another example, there is a company out there completely dedicated to use of organic ingredients and ethically farmed animals. Yet they are associated with one of the big pet food companies and so they were using formulation principles that would not attract most pet owners interested in organic and ethical foods, including low levels of meat and objectionable carbs like refined wheat. I've actually heard from them recently and they've had their eyes opened that educated pet owners are looking for more from them.

    It's important not just to read labels. We really need to know the companies.