What's in your dog's or cat's food? Maybe you feed your dog or cat a kibble food with chicken. Do you know exactly how much chicken there’s in the food? For example, is "enriched with" better than "rich in"? We would like to explain to you what these texts on packaging mean.
Manufacturers often use so-called nutrition claims on packaging to indicate that a food has a particular taste or contains a particular ingredient. These claims are bound by rules.
What are they allowed to say?
What statements you can make as a manufacturer on a package depend on how high the percentage of the ingredient in the food is. The manufacturer must therefore mention the ingredient and the percentage in the composition on the packaging. For example, do you want to say "Rich in chicken!" on a package? That’s only allowed if there’s more than 14 percent chicken in the food and if it’s also stated in the composition on the packaging.
What’s in the food of your dog or cat?
Below you can see how much of an ingredient a dog or cat food must contain if you want to use these claims:
- 'Enriched with...': less than 4 percent of the named ingredient.
- 'Contains...': more than 4 percent of the named ingredient.
- 'Containing...': between 4 and 14 percent of the named ingredient.
- 'Rich in...': more than 14 percent of the named ingredient.
- 'Menu of...': 26 to 100 percent of the named ingredient.
And if you want to say a food is 100 percent of ……., it must be 100 percent.
Sounds good... or doesn't it?
'Enriched with'? That sounds good, but it means there’s less than 4 percent of that ingredient in the food. If you're looking for a food with a lot of chicken and think a food 'enriched with chicken' contains a lot of chicken, you're wrong: it's at least 96 percent something else.
A food 'enriched with chicken' is at least 96 percent something else
Just because there’s 'only' 4 percent of an ingredient in a food, doesn’t mean it’s not good. You need very little of some ingredients to be effective. For example, our Prins NatureCare Turkey cat foods are 'enriched with rosemary', which contributes to the immune system. That means there’s less than 4 percent rosemary in it. In fact, there’s only 0.1 percent rosemary in this food. But that's just enough to a. let this ingredient do its job and b. make sure the food doesn't taste too strong, because cats then wouldn't like to eat the meat anymore.
The ingredient that’s most present in the food is mentioned first in the composition text on the packaging. For example, in our Prins ProCare Super Active pressed kibble, poultry (chicken and turkey) is the number one ingredient at 25 percent. A food with a high content of animal ingredients is not necessarily a better food. To ensure that a kibble becomes and remains a kibble, carbohydrates such as grains and vegetables are always needed for binding. But owners often find it appealing if the first named ingredient on the package is an animal protein source, such as chicken.
Still, it’s important not to focus on the meat content or certain ingredients when choosing your dog's or cat's food, but to look closely at the overall product. It’s important that you feed a balanced diet. What your dog or cat needs differs per animal.
There are several ways to include meat on the package as the main ingredient. For example, instead of one carbohydrate source, you can choose multiple carbohydrate sources, each of which is less present in a food than, say, chicken. Another option is to add the meat to a food not dried in flour form, but as fresh meat. In fact, you may state the total fresh meat content before the drying process on the package. Because fresh meat contains a lot of moisture, which disappears during the production process, it provides a high meat percentage on the packaging. Even though it literally and figuratively evaporates to a large extent.
Good to know
Meat flour contains very little moisture and is therefore rich in nutrients.
- 1 kg of dried meat contains 950 grams of high-quality nutrients
- 1 kg of not dried meat contains only 300 grams of nutrients
Kibble feeds differently than meat!
To get the same amount of nutrients, you need to add more fresh meat than meat flour. Therefore, you cannot simply compare a meat food with a kibble food. A meat food contains more moisture so your animal must eat more of it to get the required amount of nutrients.
This is what we choose
We use meat flour for our kibble feeds from suppliers who meet our high-quality standards, with whom we have worked for many years and that we trust. Do you want to know more about meat in your dog or cat's diet? You should also read our article "Lots of meat and protein: is that necessary?"