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Diet Diversity: What’s Driving Today’s Popular Pet Food Brands

Glenn Polyn//July 1, 2023//

Diet Diversity: What’s Driving Today’s Popular Pet Food Brands

Glenn Polyn //July 1, 2023//

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The humanization of pets and premiumization of products appear to have gone hand in hand for several years. As humans have learned more about their own health and how their food is made, those concerns have begun to extend to their pets. Pet foods that are nutritious and sustainable remain at the top of the list of most consumers. In addition, premium pet food is showing persistent growth even as economic conditions are forcing some consumers to tighten their spending budgets. 

Founded by Ira Slovin, Fauna Foods Corporation is a New York-based wholesale distributor that’s been serving the independent pet channel since 1975. Sam Slovin, Fauna Foods vice president of sales and son of the company founder, says the wholesale distributor follows strict guidelines when it comes to evaluating pet food brands before deciding whether to bring them on board. 

“As a pet food distributor, we seek products that prioritize transparency when it comes to the ingredient panel, offer innovation and differentiate from products on the market,” Sam Slovin noted. “We believe it’s essential to demonstrate to our customers a genuine commitment to pet health and well-being.” 

That commitment to pet health and well-being is at the top of the list for many of today’s most popular pet food brands. When it comes to pet nutrition, more pet food manufacturers, including the following brands, are emphasizing life-stage diets, solutions-focused recipes and science-backed formulas. 



Annamaet Petfoods Inc., a family-owned and operated company located in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, has been providing optimum nutrition to dogs and cats for over 35 years. Annamaet has two nutritionists on staff, one being our founder and CEO and the other a board-certified veterinary nutritionist, who carefully work together to formulate each Annamaet dog and cat diet. Annamaet’s mission is to maximize the health and well-being of pets while preserving our environment and natural resources for future generations. 

A grain-free senior dog food formula, Annamaet Re-juvenate is a higher protein diet that contains turmeric, which is one of the most potent and natural anti-inflammatories available. Re-juvenate also contains coconut oil, a rich source of Medium Chain Triglycerides, which has been long known to help improve mental sharpness by increasing brain energy metabolism. One of the most intriguing aspects of Annamaet Re-juvenate will be the use of wild caught silver carp as a novel protein source. Silver carp are “filter feeders” that feed on algae (high in Omega-3 fatty acids) and plankton. This is a very important distinction, as many other species of fish are “bottom feeders” and have higher containment levels (since PCBs and mercury are heavier and sink in the water). Silver carp are clean fish, the meat of which is rich in protein and low in fat. Annamaet Re-juvenate is formulated to meet all the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for Adult and Senior Maintenance. 



Founded in a small town in Alberta, Canada, Champion Petfoods has been a pioneer in crafting premium food for dogs and cats since 1985. Maker of ORIJEN and ACANA foods, the manufacturer starts with “WholePrey” ingredients – meaning they incorporate meat, organs and bone from meat, poultry and fish to reflect a dog’s natural diet – from both fresh and raw animal sources. 

ORIJEN AMAZING GRAINS is a premium dog food that delivers a special blend of grains, including oats, quinoa and chia sourced from non-GMO crops. These whole grains are a source of essential vitamins, minerals, b-glucans and fiber. The grain-inclusive dry dog food is Biologically Appropriate, meaning it mirrors the quantity, freshness and variety of animal ingredients dogs are evolved to eat. Like other ORIJEN diets, the first five ingredients are always fresh or raw animal protein. At 38 percent protein, it boasts one of the highest percentages of protein in a grain-inclusive food, and approximately 90 percent of that protein is delivered from animal ingredients. 

The scientifically tested and validated ORIJEN AMAZING GRAINS diets have prebiotics, probiotics and soluble and insoluble fiber to help support digestion. Additionally, the food also helps to support key health benefits, like immune function and healthy skin and coat through Omega-3 rich oil from wild-caught pollock. Because of its concentration of animal ingredients, ORIJEN AMAZING GRAINS kibble also helps to support dogs’ muscle maintenance. 



Diamond Pet Foods began in 1970 on the idea that every pet deserves great nutrition at an affordable price. Diamond CARE dog and cat foods were developed by veterinarians to provide specialized diets for pets with such health issues as sensitive stomachs, sensitive skin, weight management, urinary issues and acute or chronic kidney disease. These formulas also provide complete nutrition, so they can be fed to a pet for as long as it needs it. All Diamond CARE formulas follow the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines for complete and balanced pet foods.  

Launched in 2019, Diamond CARE Urinary Support Formula for Adult Cats was developed by veterinarians and nutritionists to meet the increasing number of feline lower urinary tract (FLUTD) cases among house cats. FLUTD is an all-encompassing term used to describe infections, crystals, stones and inflammation (known as idiopathic cystitis) of the lower urinary tract – the bladder and the urethra. Large amounts of certain minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, can contribute to crystal formation in the urine. The composition and characteristics of cat urine are directly related to diet, which is why nutrition is important to FLUTD management. In fact, a key aspect of cat urine that is influenced by the food is the acidity, indicated by the pH of the urine. Diamond CARE Urinary Support Formula for Adult Cats supports a healthy urinary tract by reducing urine pH. 



Fromm Family Foods is a fifth-generation family-owned and operated business dedicated to the health and nutrition of animals. Each Fromm product is made in one of three family-owned manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin and sold exclusively at neighborhood pet stores across North America. One of several product lines, Fromm FourStar offers dogs a variety of entrées to choose from, each carefully prepared in controlled batches using meat, fish, fruits, vegetables and Wisconsin cheese. 

In 2021, Fromm Family Foods introduced Four-Star Trout & Whitefish, a dog food recipe that features a grain-inclusive blend of trout and whitefish. The Four-Star Trout & Whitefish recipe features a blend of whole grains including whole barley and whole oats, nutrient-rich ingredients that, together with select fruits and vegetables, can also act as gut health-supporting prebiotics. The recipe features premium proteins that include trout, whitefish, salmon, egg and menhaden fish meal as the first five ingredients and is both chicken and potato-free.  

Trout & Whitefish Recipe is the first Four-Star dog food to include Miscanthus grass, a gut-health promoting nutrient. This alternate, functional fiber is an excellent source of insoluble fiber that helps to promote consistent stools and bowel regularity. The recipe also includes canola and salmon oils to provide beneficial fatty acids for healthy skin and hair coat. The recipe is an excellent nutritional option for less active dogs, since whitefish and trout are naturally lower in fat and calories. 



Founded 75 years ago with a commitment to science-led pet nutrition, Hill’s Pet Nutrition is dedicated to pioneering research for dogs and cats using a scientific understanding of their specific needs. The pet food brand boasts 220+ veterinarians, PhD nutritionists and food scientists working to develop breakthrough innovations in pet health. Hill’s Prescription Diet therapeutic nutrition plus its everyday foods — Hill’s Science Diet, Hill’s Healthy Advantage and Hill’s Bioactive Recipe — are sold at veterinary clinics and pet specialty retailers worldwide.  

Science Diet foods are made for the various needs of healthy pets across all life stages, such as supporting mobility for dogs and helping cats prone to hairballs. For pets with specialized nutritional needs — weight management, urinary conditions, kidney health and more — Hill’s Prescription Diet foods based on a veterinarian’s recommendation offer a step in the right direction towards happier, healthier lives.  

A recent innovation is focused on helping pets achieve a healthy gut. Hill’s Science Diet Perfect Digestion promotes overall health, regularity and a healthy stool for healthy dogs and cats with digestive concerns. This unique recipe uses a special blend of prebiotics, plus whole grain oats and pumpkin, to support pets with digestive upsets. The brand’s exclusive blend of prebiotics, called ActivBiome+, supports each pet’s unique microbiome for healthy digestion and overall well-being.  



Northwest Naturals is a brand with a rich history in quality meats and frozen products. A family-owned and operated company that is part of Morasch Meats of Portland, Northwest Naturals entered the pet industry in 2004. Producing its pet food in a human-grade, USDA-run facility, and all Northwest Naturals products are inspected by a USDA inspector who is on-site for every production run.  

Northwest Naturals makes both raw frozen and raw freeze-dried diets for dogs and cats in multiple proteins to satisfy any picky eater. Its pet foods are made with high-pressure and minimal processing, and they are complete and balanced with nutritionally beneficial supplements like vitamins and minerals and locally sourced fruits and vegetables. The brand’s website even includes a feeding calculator to offer guidelines to pet parents, including when transitioning a pet to a raw diet. 

Called “The Original Raw Nugget Diet,” the brand’s Raw Frozen Nuggets for dogs contains individually quick-frozen nuggets that weigh approximately .20 ounces each (80 per pound). The formulas are ground, formed and then quick-frozen at -30° F for 10 minutes. Complete and balanced, the diet is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for all life stages. 



NutriSource is a Minnesota-based manufacturer where the focus is on health and nutrition. Launched in 2021, NutriSource’s Element Series offers an advanced diet for canine companions created with nutrition in mind. Element is available in several animal protein-packed recipes, each containing at least 83 percent animal protein in response to consumers’ desire for a high quality, high animal protein option, while still maintaining the company’s focus on gut health with Good 4 Life Plus. 

The company’s Good 4 Life mineral, prebiotic and probiotic supplement system focuses on the gut with the goal of improved digestion, nutrition utilization, cognitive and brain function, and skin and coat health. Developed specifically for high animal protein diets. Good 4 Life Plus features Alltech Animal Nutrition’s NVGEN, a proprietary blend which includes prebiotics specifically formulated to feed the gut microbiome. It combines mannan-rich fractions, yucca schidigera and yeast extracts designed to optimize the microbiome necessary for full utilization of a high animal protein diet. 



California-based Petaluma, which offers a plant-based dog food, was founded by Garrett Wymore and Caroline Buck in 2019. The mission-driven brand replaces resource-intensive animal ingredients with plant-based alternatives that require far less land, water and greenhouse gas emissions. Backed by science, Petaluma is formulated by veterinarians. The brand’s lead formulator is Dr. Blake Hawley, a veterinarian who possesses 25 years of experience developing scientific diets and pharmaceutical delivery products for pets.  

Instead of following the traditional kibble route of pressure cooking its food, the brand’s toasted clusters are mixed into dough, rolled into bites and baked for over 20 minutes in a convection oven. According to Petaluma, each baked bite has visible chunks of carrots, oats, parsley and seeds accompanied by a pleasant roasted peanut butter aroma. In addition, the baking process also protects essential nutrients that are lost in traditional kibble extrusion, including preservation of Omega-3 fats and a lower glycemic index. 

Petaluma’s Baked Pumpkin and Peanut Butter Flavor dog food is filled with superfood ingredients and the unique nutritional benefits that mature dogs need to thrive. While this formula is appropriate for all adult dogs, it is tailored to dogs reaching their senior phase of life. Each gently baked serving contains high-quality supplements, including DHA Omega-3 from algae oil, curcumin extract from turmeric, dietary fiber from pumpkin and plant-based

glucosamine. The formula is rich in long-chain Omega-3 fat — DHA fat has been shown to slow age-related cognitive decline and reduce inflammation — while limiting other high-calorie fat sources.  



Solid Gold dog food was invented nearly 50 years ago by Sissy Harrington McGill, a longtime breeder of champion Great Danes. While traveling to Europe to purchase a dog with world-champion bloodlines, she noticed the Great Danes she saw in Germany lived longer, healthier lives than those in America. She launched what would become the flagship of the Solid Gold brand in 1974 — a real meat and whole grain dry dog food formula she named Hund-N-Flocken — loosely translated, German for “dog flakes.” 

Widely recognized as the first holistic pet food brand, Solid Gold remains a driving force in the world of pet nutrition, offering a broad range of pet food for both dogs and cats. Every formula is made with premium natural ingredients and a focus on promoting digestive health, which the brand cites as the key to a healthy immune system and overall well-being. 

In 2021, Solid Gold launched Solid Gold NutrientBoost, a premium line of recipes created specifically to improve gut health in cats and dogs. NutrientBoost formulas contain both animal proteins and added plasma, a natural, nutrient-rich liquid that helps boost immunity and overall gut health in dogs and cats. Plasma is a blood by-product — essentially the fluid that carries red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets throughout the body of all animals. When blood cells and platelets are removed from the blood, plasma is what remains, along with plenty of health-boosting essential minerals, amino acids, antibodies, and vital proteins. 



SquarePet Nutrition is driven by a commitment to continuous improvement and innovation. The brand is unique in that it has built its brand around the notion of solution-based nutrition. The brand recently introduced a new line of premium solution-based nutritional diet options called VFS (Veterinarian Formulated Solutions). Designed and created by SquarePet’s team of veterinary professionals, including a board-certified veterinary nutritionist and PhD animal nutritionists, VFS provides a portfolio of premium and all-natural solutions-based diet options to help support a dog’s individual needs. 

SquarePet’s VFS (Veterinarian Formulated Solutions) line has been designed and created by SquarePet’s team of veterinary professionals, including board-certified veterinary nutritionists and PhD animal nutritionists, to provide a portfolio of premium and all-natural solutions-based diet options to help support a dog’s individual needs. For dogs, VFS POWERHOUND is energy dense, high protein canine nutrition with guaranteed ultra-low carbohydrates tailored for performance. The high meat-based protein nutrition found in VFS POWERHOUND supports energy demands, strong muscles and bones, and promotes lean body mass for optimum body condition and weight control. On the cat side, VFS POWERCAT is an obligate carnivore diet that is specifically formulated to match the needs of the unique feline metabolism. High meat-based protein paired with ultra-low carbohydrates provide the carnivorous amino acids required by hypercarnivores to help promote strong muscles and a lean and fit body condition.   



A mainstay in the small animal market, Supreme Petfoods works with a network of experts in veterinary medicine and nutritionists, which enables the brand to be up to date on the latest scientific findings regarding an optimal diet for small herbivores and omnivores. This contributes to the formulation of recipes, which use only the finest natural ingredients. 

Using veterinary and nutrition expertise, Supreme was the first company to make species-specific small animal diets that reflected the unique nutritional requirements of each type of small pet. The product range has continued to evolve, and Science Selective now has the widest range of veterinary recommended species-specific foods that support optimum digestive health and meet the unique nutritional needs of small pets.  

Science Selective House Rabbit has a formulation that contains a high-fiber mix of forages that more closely reflects natural grazing patterns of wild rabbits, offering both nutrition and a variety of tastes to enjoy. Fiber sources include timothy hay, grass and the herb thyme to help meet that need for variety. While the whole Selective range contains a balanced additional of vitamins and minerals that matches the specific species need, House Rabbit is specially fortified with essential vitamins A and D. Rabbits kept indoors don’t always get sufficient vitamin D, which is a vitamin that is made when they are exposed to sunlight. Having access to this additional supply removes the uncertainty over whether enough is being produced by the pet and will help keep them healthy. 



Launched in 2005, Tiki Pets offers a range of naturally nutritious, minimally processed dog and cat foods and treats. Carnivores benefit from protein-rich wet foods made with shredded chicken, hand-flaked fish, organ meat and delicate prawns. Supplemental hydration from a high-protein wet diet is complemented with a selection of baked kibble formulas made with fresh meat and superfoods.  

In 2020, Tiki Cat relaunched its Born Carnivore dry food line with formulas that are 100 percent GMO-free, while offering the high animal protein-based, low-carbohydrate diet that felines require and derive from their natural prey. Appealing to cats’ carnivorous cravings. Tiki Cat Born Carnivore’s baked kibble is made with real chicken, turkey, herring and/or salmon. With real meat or fish as its number one ingredient, Born Carnivore contains more than 47 percent protein, (46 percent for the kitten variety), 80 percent of which comes from animal sources. This high-protein, low carb formulation is important because cats in nature are true carnivores, relying on animal protein from their prey for their essential nutrients such as taurine, arachidonic acid and vitamin A. Unlike dogs, cats are unable to efficiently process and derive nutrients from plants and require meat to survive. 

Tiki Cat Born Carnivore has another feature that sets it apart from traditional dry cat foods in that it is baked, rather than extruded, giving it a crunchy texture and enhanced flavor that are highly appealing to cats. No artificial colors or flavors are used in Born Carnivore, which is also very low in fiber and ash, similar to a cat’s natural prey diet. The Born Carnivore product line also includes a variety of toppers, called Flavor Boosters, Broths, Functions and Complements. 



Vital Essentials is the flagship brand of Carnivore Meat Company, an award-winning manufacturer of premium raw frozen and freeze-dried pet food and treats. Each diet from Vital Essentials is complete, balanced and formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog and Cat Food Nutrient Profiles for all life stages.  

Felines naturally thrive on a raw diet, which promotes vitality and supports health and wellness in all breeds and life stages. Raw cat food makes essential nutrients easier to absorb, and it can soothe a sensitive stomach and even lessen the amount of waste a cat produces. Therefore, Vital Essentials set out to create a freeze-dried feline food that is simple, nutritious and gives cats the proteins they need. The result is Vital Essentials Freeze-Dried Raw Food For Cats, which is minimally processed, crafted from limited ingredients and is made and packaged in the U.S.A. It contains no fillers, grain or artificial ingredients, just a wholesome meat-based recipe that’s nutritious and meets a cat’s instinctive cravings. 

The raw cat food from Vital Essentials is frozen then dried using a 48-hour slow freeze-drying process that ensures the proteins and nutrients remain intact. Because they are foundationally raw meals, they are grain- and gluten-free. In addition, Vital Essentials does not add any preservatives, making it an excellent choice for cats with sensitive stomachs or allergies. Whole-animal protein is the No. 1 ingredient in each diet, which is formulated without wheat, corn, soy or artificial ingredients. The protein-rich formula, like the diet cats would eat in nature, is boosted with a rich amino acid, vitamin and mineral complex that includes vitamin E, iron and zinc. These added nutrients are often lacking in raw meat diets, so this raw food from Vital Essential is an excellent way to ensure cats are getting the balanced diet they need. 



ZIWI, the New Zealand-based innovator of air-dried pet nutrition, crafts its high meat recipes that are inspired by the nutrition of raw diets, while offering the convenience and safety of dry foods. ZIWI modernized and refined the centuries-old technique of naturally preserving meats to create an innovative new product known as air-dried, which creates a diet that is simple and all-natural, with no artificial preservatives, additives, growth promotants or antibiotics. The brand’s proprietary twin-stage, natural preservation process eliminates pathogens while preserving the nutritional integrity of the food, resulting in an extremely nutrient-dense and palatable food that closely mirrors the whole-prey, biologically appropriate ancestral diet of dogs and cats. 

Made up of 96 percent meat, organs and bone, including 3 percent New Zealand green-lipped mussel for natural glucosamine and chondroitin, and 7 percent species-specific tripe for added palatability and digestive benefits, ZIWI Peak is air-dried slowly and gently to preserve all the nutrients of the raw ingredients, but without the need to freeze, refrigerate or prepare. And with at least a 10 percent blend of superfoods in each recipe, pets are guaranteed to receive the nutrients they need to thrive.  

All ZIWI recipes are complete and balanced for all breeds and all life stages, and they are 95 percent digestible, which means pets will be able to absorb all the nutrients they need and will feel satisfied longer.