Deciphering the Pet Food Marketing Jargon

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An overview of some common marketing terms used on pet food labels and what they mean!

Along with attractive graphics, pet food labels typically use descriptive marketing terms to help sell the product. For the most part, these terms have no legal meaning. This article examines popular marketing terms and what they mean.

Common marketing terms

You’ve probably seen the following terms about your dog’s or cat’s favorite food, but they have no legal definition and aren’t regulated by the USDA or AAFCO:

  • Human quality: Products that are clean and safe for human consumption, qualified as “edible” by the USDA.
  • Low blood sugar: Food with less impact on blood sugar.
  • Prime: usually means food prepared with high quality ingredients.
  • cruelty free: A product that has not been tested on animals by the manufacturer.
  • Free range: Food made from animals with access to outdoor areas. This term is regulated by the USDA, but these regulations do not provide specifications on the size of outdoor space.
  • In good health: A healthy, complete and balanced diet.
  • Holistic: Composed mainly of natural ingredients.
  • Natural/all natural: Foods prepared without artificial flavors, colors and preservatives.
  • ORGANIC: Meets USDA National Organic Program guidelines
  • Biologically Appropriate: Food specially formulated for an animal’s biology, usually made from whole ingredients such as meat, fish, eggs and vegetables.
  • Vet approved: Involves a statistically sound survey of veterinarians supported food.
  • Consciously/responsibly source: implies that the ingredients have a limited or reduced effect on their local ecosystem.

Nutrition information with specific definitions

It is important to look for nutritional information that do have precise definitions. For example, AAFCO guarantees, calorie claims, and supplements all have guidelines provided by AAFCO or the FDA.

  • AAFCO Warranty: The AAFCO sets minimum standards for animal nutrition. A product without AAFCO certification may fail as the sole nutritional source for a dog or cat.

  • Calorie information and calculation: To compare a canned food to a dry food, use this calculation: multiply the number of canned foods by four to account for the higher water content of canned products compared to higher density kibble type products .
  • Calculation of the amount and basis of dry matter: It’s up to consumers to do the math to determine value when making comparison purchases. Foods of different types (eg, dry kibble and canned food) should be compared on a dry matter basis. Dry foods are about 10% water, while canned foods are usually about 75% water. Here’s how to calculate: check the label for the percentage of moisture in the food and subtract it from 100%. What remains is the percentage of dry matter. To find the dry matter percentage of another nutrient, such as fat, divide the fat percentage by the dry matter percentage.

The post Decoding Pet Food Marketing Jargon appeared first on Animal Wellness Magazine.

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