If you have spent any time at all educating yourself about dog and cat food you have probably run into conflicting views regarding the pros and cons meals in the food. We spend a lot of time at The Critters & Me vetting our food manufacturers. We are concerned about how and where a manufacturer obtains the raw ingredients that go into their processed foods and how they process it. This applies to the majority of the raw food, canned food, kibble and treats that we sell and is how we maintain confidence in the food we sell. After all, all our foods are guaranteed. So we are thrilled when customers take the time to read the labels and ask questions about ingredients, protein levels, calories, etc. And one of the questions that we hear a lot these days is, “Oh, this food has meal in it, how can you sell a food that has meal?” Great question, we’re glad you asked!
It is true you will find the word meal in the ingredient list of many of the kibbles in the store. However, we are very particular about the adjectives used in junction with the word meal, and this is the important point. We have no problem when an ingredient list includes things like “beef meal,” “lamb meal,” “chicken meal,” etc. for several reasons. What we do have a problem with and try to avoid on the ingredient lists are things like “meat meal,” by-product meal,” “meat and bone meal.” Here are the reasons. A protein specific ingredient like “chicken” or “chicken meat” appearing as the first or second ingredient is great. But whole meat by itself is 70% water and only about 18% protein. So in order to obtain the appropriate levels of protein in foods, manufacturers would have to concentrate very large amounts of meat, making the foods very expensive indeed. In order to achieve the necessary protein levels manufacturers turn to other parts of the animal like bones and sinew which are more like 65% protein. Not only do the meals contain higher concentrations of protein, they also contain other vital nutrients that are not obtained just from the meaty flesh, which increases the nutrient value of a food. Using a protein specific meal like beef meal or chicken meal in conjunction with the beef or chicken is a more efficient way of achieving the necessary protein levels in a food than using plant proteins like peas which is quite common.
The attached article appeared online at BullyMax.com in November 2016. The article does a very good job of explaining the difference between meat, meal and protein specific meat meals. It also explains what to look for in your dog food and lists which meals are actually very healthy and which ones to avoid. If you are at all confused about a protein specific meal, an animal meal, or a by-product meal please read the article below.
The Truth About “Meal Meal” In Your Dog Food