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Primal Pet Foods to Launch Industry-Changing Product Innovation for Dogs, Kibble in the Raw

By Pet Age Staff//December 19, 2023//

Primal Pet Foods to Launch Industry-Changing Product Innovation for Dogs, Kibble in the Raw

By: Pet Age Staff//December 19, 2023//

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Press release: Primal Pet Group

Primal Pet Foods, a leading brand in the Primal Pet Group portfolio, is introducing an innovative line of recipes for dogs that combines the benefits of raw nutrition with the convenience of kibble. With the launch of Kibble in the Raw, which is available to ship January 2024, Primal reimagines what the industry expects from a kibble product to deliver a new format that nourishes pets the way nature intended. The five complete and balanced recipes are crafted with freeze-dried raw protein and no synthetic vitamins and minerals to deliver optimal nutrition and digestibility that helps keep dogs in their prime.

Primal Pet Foods was founded by Matt Koss in 2001 with a mission to improve the overall health of pets by getting more raw and fresh foods into their bowls. Over the last 20 years, Primal successfully pioneered a new category of pet food by championing the benefits of raw nutrition and establishing the freezer as a permanent fixture in neighborhood pet stores.

“For more than two decades, our team has remained committed to feeding pets the way nature intended and has continued to look for ways to reach more dogs and cats with our mission,” said Jon Balousek, chief executive officer of Primal Pet Group.

With Kibble in the Raw, Primal is setting out to make raw nutrition more convenient and accessible for the 55 million households that currently feed their dog an extruded kibble diet or other food formats that aren’t raw.

“It took three years of innovating to develop a convenient new product format that is deserving of the Primal name,” said Matt Koss, founder and chief product development officer for Primal Pet Foods. “With the launch of Kibble in the Raw, we have the unique opportunity to deliver the proven benefits of raw nutrition to kibble consumers with diets that meet the ancestral, biological needs of their dogs.”


Individually Prepared Ingredients

With Kibble in the Raw, Primal uniquely prepares each ingredient to maximize its nutritional value and digestibility. This approach is in complete contrast to the standard kibble extrusion process where all the ingredients are mixed into a slurry and cooked together under the same high heat. Primal combines raw meat, fish or poultry with steam-cooked sorghum, cold pressed fish oils and air-dried organic produce; all the ingredients are cold processed in small batches and freeze-dried into bite-sized pieces that can be easily served like kibble.

“We are putting nearly 13 pounds of raw beef, pork, fish, or chicken into every 9-pound bag of Kibble in the Raw,” said Koss. “After freeze-drying, the digestibility and performance of the new Kibble in the Raw diets is in line with other Primal Raw Frozen and Freeze-Dried formats.”

Long considered the gold standard when it comes to preserving the nutrients and flavor of raw meat, fish, and poultry ingredients, the freeze-drying process has been used by the Primal team since 2011. Building on this experience, the company spent the last three years researching and developing a new process that could bring freeze-dried raw protein to the kibble aisle without baking, extruding, dehydrating, or exposing the raw protein to high heat.

Koss added, “While this new and unique food format mimics the feeding experience of kibble, it doesn’t look anything like the highly processed pellets we expect from a traditional kibble; rather pieces of the wholesome, raw ingredients included in our new Kibble in the Raw recipes are visible in the kibble-sized bites.


Innovation Backed By Research

As a leading manufacturer of raw and freeze-dried diets, Primal has been taking the lead on a collaborative research project with the University of Illinois, led by Dr. Kelly Swanson and his research laboratory, to help further understanding of alternative formats of feeding including the new Kibble in the Raw product. In the first phase of research, Primal assessed the amino acid digestibility and caloric density of the brand’s canine adult chicken formulas across three formats: Kibble in the Raw, Primal Raw Frozen Nuggets, and Primal Freeze-Dried Nuggets. The results of the first study were published in Journal of Animal Science in September 2023 and indicated that the average digestibility of the essential amino acids across the three formats was 92-percent. It also showed that the processing methods used by Primal effectively retain the nutritional integrity and bioavailability of the ingredients.

“This study confirmed that Kibble in the Raw performs just as well as our existing frozen raw and freeze-dried diets from a digestibility and performance standpoint,” said Dr. James Templeman, director of nutrition and formulation for Primal Pet Foods. “Our research further demonstrates that freeze-drying is a highly effective method for preserving the critical nutrients found in our raw diets and validates our ability to develop nutritionally balanced and calorically dense formulas without sacrificing quality or digestibility.”


Complete & Balanced Nutrition

Kibble In the Raw will be available in five recipes for dogs – Chicken, Beef, Fish & Pork, Puppy and Small Breed – and three bag sizes: Small (1.5-pounds), Medium (4-pound for Small Breed only) or Large (9-pounds for Chicken, Beef, Fish & Pork, and Puppy). Like kibble, the scoop and serve format is designed to be convenient and easy to feed.

The new product line is produced in the company’s state-of-the-art facility in Abilene, Texas. By using the freeze-drying processing method, Kibble in the Raw is lighter in weight and more nutritionally dense than traditional kibble. However, the volumetric feeding guidelines are in line with a kibble diet; a 9-pound bag of Kibble in the Raw provides four weeks of feeding for an average 35-pound adult dog fed 2.25-cups per day.

In January 2024, Kibble in the Raw will launch within the neighborhood pet retail channel.