Under the guidance of a clinical veterinarian, Pet Foodit has developed a unique pet food rating system that evaluates food using essential metrics such as ingredient quality, history recall, price, and much more.
We were able to apply this approach to our extensive pet food database. We have analyzed over 5,000 ingredients and thousands of recipes.
Let’s take a deeper look at what’s going on here. We evaluate how the system works.
This rating is based on our database’s AAFCO standard and the nutritional content of the food in comparison to other foods.
A food’s healthy value score will be higher if it includes more protein and other beneficial nutrients when compared to AAFCO standards and other foods in the database.
After consulting with a veterinary nutrition expert, we created a 4-point ingredient rating system that categorizes ingredients into different categories.
Ingredients are classified as follows:
We believe that these ingredients have no effect on the nutritional value of food. The ingredients that fall into this category include mostly synthetic additives, natural preservatives, and water.
0 points (does not affect rating)
While no commercial food can legally contain toxic ingredients, there are some ingredients that identify our system as harmful. These include artificial colors, sweets like beet molasses and cane sherbet, and artificial preservatives like BHA and BHT.
Ingredients flagged as low-quality include animal and plant derivatives as well as some artificial ingredients, such as artificial cheese flavors and other flavor additives.
Like neutral classification, harmful ingredients may have negligible health benefits and present no known health risks. These ingredients include ascorbic acid, barley grass, and animal flavors.
The ingredients in this category are highly nutritious for pets. These include chicken breasts, turkey legs, and animal proteins such as venison, as well as nutritional supplements such as salmon oil and probiotics.
After scoring all of its components, our system adds these values to create a score for the food as a whole. The greater concentration of high-value components produces a higher overall score.
Withdrawal once or twice does not mean that a brand is insecure. A history of repeated withdrawals may indicate that a brand is struggling with quality and safety controls.
We look through the FDA’s database and rank each brand based on the number of recalls it has had in the past. Brands and foods with low withdrawals get higher ratings.
To evaluate the value of food, you need to compare it with other foods in the same category.
By dividing food by type and comparing the price of each meal with other similar products in our database, we determine which food segment is above or below the market average price.
Because most of us are looking for lower-priced products, lower-priced foods get higher ratings.
To understand how consumers feel about food, our system collects customer ratings from various online retailers, including Chewy and Amazon.
By combining these customer ratings, we are able to identify the average rating and provide a picture of the general customer experience. High-rated food in this category is available from popular retailers and offers great taste.
Our rating system evaluates each food production method on a 100-point scale, providing high ratings on manufacturing processes that promote higher nutritional value. For example, fresh and dehydrated foods get higher scores than dried foods.
Although the temperature and exact methods vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, the cable is made using a high-pressure extrusion process. The food goes into the extruder at 200 – 250 degrees Fahrenheit and is subjected to extreme pressure and intense heat,
which can cause the food to be cooked in 15 to 30 seconds. The effects of extraction on the nutritional value of pet food demand further research, but limited evidence that it can degrade certain nutrients, combined with the fact that it is a low-moisture production method, reduces the rate of dry foods in this category.
Whether it’s in a can, a pouch, or a tray, wet cat food is mixed and prepared, then cooked in a hermetically-sealed container. Temperatures vary from producer to manufacturer, but foods are usually processed somewhere near 250 degrees Fahrenheit until the meal achieves a minimum temperature of 185 degrees Fahrenheit.
This production process allows the food to retain moisture and nutrients. In this category, we give a medium-high rating to food in this manufacturing method.
Fresh food is made using moderate amounts of heat and is usually like homemade food. Since this process helps the food retain moisture and nutritional integrity, the foods prepared using this method get high ratings in this category.
Compared to extruded dry foods, dehydrated foods seem to maintain greater nutritional integrity and maybe a more nutritious alternative. Foods made using this method get high ratings in this category.
Fridge-dried and frozen raw foods retain the underlying nutritional value of fresh meat and other ingredients, so they get the highest rating in this category.
As new foods enter our database, the pet food sherpa pet food rating system becomes stronger and more accurate.
In Pet Food Sherpa, continuous growth translates into continuous improvement. As we continue to gather information on a growing number of foods, Our system can learn more about the pet food industry. And make more accurate assessments.
Whether you focus on the price, the quality of the ingredients, or the well-priced food in each case, we hope this rating system will help you make more informed decisions about what to put in your pet’s bowl.