Here is the deal,
There are some raw pet food brands they claim the meat in their product is grass-fed. For example: Raw Bistro or Darwin’s Natural Selections.
Their retail price is about $5-7 per lb. (http://wetnose.com/products/raw-bistro-frozen-beef#.VLXb6orF_60) How do they afford putting grass-fed beef into their products? Average wholesale price of grass-fed beef is around $3.50 – $4.50 per lb. considering their big volume purchases. Let’s say their muscle meat ratio is about %60. That brings their muscle meat cost between $2.10 $2.70 alone. Let’s add organ meat, vegetable other ingredient and all other production cost, I am going to assume it should be close to $4 per lb. without any markup. Their markup, distributor markup, retail markup… It just doesn’t add up.
here is average wholesale meat prices published by usda.
Product cost $4 per lb.
Manf. Markup 100% = $8 per lb.
Dist. Markup 40% = $3.2 + $8 = $11.2 per lb.
Ret. Markup 40% = $4.48 = $15.68 per lb.
Product cost $4 per lb.
Man markup 50% = $6 per lb.
Dist. Markup 40% = $2.4 + $6 = $8.4 per lb.
Ret. Markup 40% = $3.36 = $11.76 per lb.
How come they can sell grass-fed beef product that low? It just doesn’t add up unless they keep their cost per lb around $2.
So… What am I missing?
I’m bumping you up. I’m sorry I don’t have an answer. Aimee, another user on DFA, does a lot of research about companies on whether or not their nutrition “adds up.” She could probably help with this situation too. While I don’t agree with all of what she says, I appreciate the time that she puts into researching these companies, and that she is always willing to explain things. Hopefully she can come by and help.
Based on the ingredient list, most of it is offal- beef parts that aren’t highly desired. Grass fed beef especially doesn’t have a huge market here, and the organ meats in the, are very likely unused. My grocery stores only have the most popular of cuts, and part of the reason grass fed beef is so expensive is because less of it gets used. I get less than 10 requests a year for grass fed beef,and when I get it, it’s usually sirloin or tenderloin. That’s alot of unused beef
I don’t know if all these things are the answer to your question, but it may play a part.
I was thinking that too. Raw Bistro listed beef heart is the #1 ingredient in their product. But it still doesn’t add up properly. Even beef hearts are not that cheap when they are grassfed. Aunt Jeni’s says they get their meats from grass-fed farms.
Here is an article a farmer shares his cost http://www.humaneitarian.org/uncategorized/why-grass-fed-beef-costs-so-much/#.VLYAeorF_60
Still quite interesting how come they keep their production cost under $2 per pound while offering all these “quality” products.
I have no input on Raw Bistro, but Darwin’s is only available on their own site through an auto subscription. They have no need for distributors or retail shop fees or retail facilities. Maybe that’s how they keep their costs in check. Also they have reduced their protein levels in some of their foods and raised the fat levels. It’s the reason I stopped feeding Darwins. I’ve never fed Raw Bistro so I no nothing about them.
My other 2 thoughts-
1. It’s grass finished and not full grass fed. That’s out there as well
2. Most food service doesn’t quite do that high of a manufacturer markup, but I’m not sure about pet food, but I do know about retail pet food markup and it’s usually closer to 30%. Now, lower margins would be worth it if the contribution were good, but on this one, it wouldn’t be I don’t think. I’m really not positive
Grass finished may be another explanation but then it doesn’t fit their “humanely raised” claim.
you are right, retail margin is usually 30%-40% for the premium pet food line but I am not sure if manufacturers can survive anything under 100% since they need scalability to meet the future demand.
Our Premium Line
•Complete, balanced nutrition
•No grains or fillers
I consider free range to be humanely raised, even if it is fed GMO grains/feed while free ranging. What is your standard for humanely raised.
Free range is a small part of it.
I don’t think it is humane to force animals to eat something they are not suppose eat to gain more body weight fastest possible to get ready for slaughter.
for me, humanely raised means:
– proper animal husbandry
– have access to grass and open pastures
– not given antibiotics or hormones
– must travel less than an hour to the slaughterhouse not in a crowded truck
– slaughterhouses must be committed to humane slaughter practices.
I believe the pet food industry is one of the biggest contributor of animal abuse since they are all trying to source their meat cheapest possible. We all count ourselves animal lover and most of us are participating this practice too even when we buy premium brands without even knowing it. I am not criticizing anyone though, it’s just what it is.
I was wondering if any raw food brand are paying attention any of these or they are just new members of the industry using touchy marketing words…
- This reply was modified 4 years, 9 months ago by simmy.
I totally agree about dog food manufacturer being a big contributor to inhumane housing practices with food animals!!
I don’t consider feeding practices that the animals don’t understand or feel harmed by to be inhumane, but they may be unethical, which is a whole different, but relevant, issue. I, also, wouldn’t consider over 1 hour travel time to be inhumane anymore than I think it’s inhumane for my kids and myself to travel in the car for more than 1 hour, but there are limits, and travel conditions are another matter, definitely inhumane sometimes.
I don’t think from reading what is stated about Darwin’s that you can assume that they aren’t humanely raised, by your standards. Feeding cattle feed while on range doesn’t mean there isn’t grass, etc., but it may mean that it isn’t enough grass for them to be totally grass fed. They don’t say anything about antibiotics, hormones, travel time, etc., so I don’t know what the practices are.
I don’t know of any raw dog food manufacturers that are up to your standards. But you might want to check out Hare Today and see if you might think they are close enough. They aren’t complete foods though. Good luck in your quest!
Sorry, this has nothing to do with the discussion, but why are all my alert emails from this topic going into Junk? Is this happening to anyone else?
While I admire your desire for all of that, I will agree with Bcn here. It’s the same as human food, unless you buy it yourself from a place you’ve been, you have no guarantees. Even the “natural” stuff out there is all marketing ploys. We cater for a company that sort of claims all that, large company with a lot of marketing power, and they won’t let us use our compost able products (our standard) they make us by the clear plastic…makes me wonder about the company, and I know some of their other brands and it’s certainly not natural. The same concepts go into pet food, so you somewhat have to pick your battles. If it’s a big concern of yours (good for you-I mean that) then homemade from local farms is the way to go, imo
I have no idea why, but on my device, if I want it to quit doing that, I have to get into the email and tell my device to transfer it to my inbox. Then open it in my inbox. Telling it you want stuff from that sender to go into your inbox should reset it.
Thanks! I’m using apple mail, so I don’t know how to make it do that. I dragged the most recent message into my inbox, so maybe that’ll fix it.
One of my devices has a “Move” button that when I click on it, it gives me options on where I can move it to. The other has a folder with a down arrow on it, and if I click on it, it gives me my options.
Dragging it didn’t work. 🙁 I tried right-clicked it and realized there was a “move to” opinion on this too, so maybe that will help. Try posting again and I’ll see.
Noo… 🙁 I’m gonna unsubscribe and then resubscribe.
I hope that works for you.
sk you may want to look into some of these companies. Many of them are free range or grass fed, some grass finished.
Primal… certified humane with high GAP (Global Animal Partership, same system Whole Food uses) ratings. You can contact certifiedhumane.org to see other pet foods they rate.
Stella and Chewys (grassfed beef and lamb and I think grass finished)
Ziwi Peak, Real Meat Food Company and K9 Natural use grass fed beef and lamb I believe.
Dogs for the Earth says their animals are raised above and beyond humane standards.
Healthy Pet Foods (healthypetdiet.com) raises organic, pasture raised beef. One of my dogs’ favorite foods. Owner is a top cavalier breeder, not doing it for money, sells mostly to breeders. He’s been doing it for over 20 years and says his food has been tweaked to perfection, and his dogs live well beyond breed standard.
Orijen says their food is pasture raised.
Addiction uses a lot of free range but I stopped using when I found out their canola oil is not organic…they said they are trying to change to organic canola oil.
I just added Trudog to their rotation. It’s grass fed but I need to call them to see if it’s grass finished. I’m sure there are more companies out there but haven’t had the time to look into it.
BTW many of these companies use cage free chicken but not range fed so I try to buy chicken from Whole Foods and feed with a premix. The only way to know about travel time to slaughter, conditions and how much time spent in feed lots is to speak with companies directly. This is my understanding anyway.
sk, thank you for pointing out that billions of animals, as deserving of compassion as our pets, are raised in brutal conditions. It would be very helpful to have another section here called ‘HUMANE OPTIONS’. It could also cover the issue of hormones, GMO’s and anti-biotics since the GAP rating from CertifiedHumane.org covers that as well.
I agree with others that best choice for humane is to buy from local farms where you can directly see conditions….kudos to those who do. Not all of us have that option…and the reason a ‘HUMANE OPTIONS’ would be so appreciated.
DogObsessed: this has been happening to me for a couple months.
It works now! It didn’t work for the first post that BCnut did, but now it does.
Thank you very much for all these brand recommendations and information. Because 100% grass-fed beef is something really expensive comparing to the beef raised in a crowded commercial farm. I talked with a couple of local farmers (ny) and they say the buying volume doesn’t really mean much to them since they are unable to raise a lot because of the space required for the animals.
Maybe I am just digging too much.
It’s an admirable pursuit, s k! Keeping digging! 🙂
Noo…It’s back in junk. 🙁
About the actual topic though, I agree with DogFoodie. It’s smart to be skeptical and dig for information.
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