Grandma Mae’s vs. Corporate or Investor-Owned Brands
Grandma Mae’s Country Naturals is a small, 10 year-old company belonging to a group of pet store owners. We’ve devoted our lives to researching and selecting the best products for our own and our customers’ pets. Our company culture requires and our small size allows us to produce only the highest quality foods.
What Constitutes Quality in Pet Foods?
- First is ingredients! Grandma Mae’s uses only the highest-quality ingredients that are only available in smaller quantities that could never satisfy the needs of large corporate or investor-owned brands. Not every ingredient with the same name is of the same quality: e.g. chicken meal could be either 60% protein or 70% protein .Grandma Mae’s only uses the best. Many other brands shop on the “spot” market for what is available at the cheapest price the time they are producing; Grandma Mae’s works only on long-term contacts
- Next is processing. Grandma Mae’s uses a unique, low-temperature slow-cook process that retains a higher proportion of nutrients that the high-temperature fast-cook processes used by large corporate brands. We also supplement our foods with DL-Methoionine, a key building block of Taurine, to prevent Taurine deficiency.
- The difference is a food with higher-quality protein with more nutrients available to the pet than with large corporate-owned brands, a food that will help prevent amino acid deficiencies
- Finally there is quality control, which includes storage protocols to test ingredients and finished products for purity and nutritional adequacy, to prevent cross-contamination, and thorough cleaning of equipment between every run. We use all the procedures required by the Food Safety Modernization Act and other regulations, and many others that exceed those requirements
Large corporate pet food brands would have you believe that when smaller brands “co-pack” production, i.e. use independent facilities to produce, this compromises quality. The facts disprove this myth: nearly all pet food recalls in the past ten years were by brands that own their production. On the contrary, using an outside facility means an extra layer of quality control. If a brand owner wanted to cut corners on quality the co-packer, whose reputation in the industry is very important, would simply refuse. If top execs at a large corporation wanted to reduce quality to save costs, it is unlikely that production managers or ingredients buyers would refuse as they might lose their jobs. Grandma Mae’s co-packer is a huge asset: it too is a small company run by a family that has been making pet food over three generations. It’s the most highly certified facility in the country, with certifications most large-corporate facilities don’t have
Expertise on Staff
Grandma Mae’s employs two consultants who are among the most experienced and distinguished pet nutritionists in the world: Dr. Tom Willard and Dr. David Dzanis. Dr. Willard has a PhD in Animal Nutrition from North Carolina State and has been the full-time in-house nutritionist for manufacturers including the Iams Corp and Performance Foods. Dr. Dzanis has a DVM from Purdue and a PhD in Veterinary nutrition from Cornell, and is a Diplomate and past chair of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition. Dr. Willard is instrumental in formulating our foods, with Dr. Dzanis reviewing them before the formulas are finalized. These individuals are more experienced and distinguished in the field than the full-time, more junior, in-house nutritionists typically employed by brands owned by large corporations.
All key actual nutrient percentages and calories for every Grandma Mae’s product is readily accessible on the website.
What is AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) and how does it relate to pet food?
Every state has officials who implement standards established by their association, AAFCO. AAFCO’s nutritional standards are set at minimal levels, allowing very low-cost foods to pass. Their feeding trials ar also of little value as they measure only unintentional weight loss.
Research Conducted by Pet Food Companies
In general research funded by pet food companies is aimed at promoting the types of food they sell. This is true of research they do in-house and even some done at universities. There is independent research conducted at some top universities, however.