The Honest Kitchen - Part 2
(Continued from Part 1)
“In general, there’s lots of shadowy behavior in the pet food industry as a whole,” Postins said, in one example referring to the pet food recall in 2007 – the biggest pet food recall ever, during which thousands of cats and dogs met their untimely end.
“One of the reasons we named our company The Honest Kitchen was to call attention to some of the dishonest things that go on in the pet food industry,” Postins said. “People want something that’s a lot more transparent.”
And an honest company it is. One glance at The Honest Kitchen’s website shows that the company follows business standards that are much different from the big-brand names. It's not just about adding a known favored ingredient or using a current buzzword as an advertising gimmick aimed at dietary faddists, it's the whole kit and kaboodle. The Honest Kitchen's meats are hormone and antibiotic free (including free-range, sustainably farmed chicken), fruits and vegetables are certified non-GMO (no "Frankenfoods"), and grains are 100% Organic. The company also donates a percentage of profits to various animal-welfare, humanitarian and environmental causes, and offers a discount for non-profit animal rescue organizations and registered service animals.
All of The Honest Kitchen’s foods are made in human food producing, FDA inspected facilities in California and here in Illinois (i.e. they have to adhere to the much more stringent human food production standards and regulations) and are fit for human consumption. You won’t find any diseased meat or chicken beaks snuck into this food. Humans actually taste the raw ingredients and finished products as part of the Quality Control process!
Plus, the CEO agreed to grant an interview to a humble Examiner writer. That’s a big point for transparency in my book, even though I couldn’t get an answer as to how exactly the dehydration process is structured (presumably to keep the method from competitors) or exactly where production plants are located.
Despite recession woes and the company’s prices (at $1.67 per pound on a re-hydrated basis for Force, the most popular diet - that’s more than most kibble but less than most frozen raw diets), business is growing. Postins attributes some of this success to the growing awareness that diet has a large impact on health, for both people and pets, and the money spent on healthier food today will save on vet bills later.
Today, The Honest Kitchen produces over a hundred thousand pounds of dehydrated dog food every five weeks and their products can be found in about 1,600 to 1,700 stores around the country (but never at any stores that sell puppies and kittens, or are in any other way connected with ‘mass breeding’ or puppy mills).
To date, most of the company’s marketing has been a grass roots effort, using blogging, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and relying heavily on word of mouth to spread the word. Satisfied customers like to talk, and it doesn't hurt when much of the Honest Kitchen’s product development choices come directly from customer suggestions.
“A lot of animals have sensitivities to the more conventional meat sources, developing issues like itchy skin, and they tend to do a lot better on fish,” Postins said. “It’s one of the things our customers are asking for more frequently."
The company is currently working on developing a fish diet and expanding their line of medicinal teas and recently published a book: Made out of Love.
"It's a human style recipe book of meals that you can prepare for your dog and cat and some that you can actually share with them," Postins said.
If you live in Elgin, the nearest store that sells Honest Kitchen products is Pet Pals Natural Market in West Dundee, less than three miles away. If you live elsewhere, you can use their search engine to find one near you, or order online.
The Honest Kitchen is currently offering free samples through February 6th. Send your name and address to email@example.com.
For more information on dog nutrition: Not Fit for a Dog supplies a current view on the food debate and a very detailed look at the 2007 recalls. Feeding Your Dog For Life delves deeply into the specifics, with whole chapters on vitamins and minerals, plus an invaluable section on who regulates the pet food industry and how nutritional testing is accomplished. Both books are available at Elgin's Gail Borden Library.
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