"We're very committed to being able to stick to our own path, even if that path takes us on the road less traveled," says Lucy Postins, who founded The Honest Kitchen with her husband, Charlie.
In 2001, after experimenting in her San Diego, California,
USA, kitchen making home-cooked and raw petfoods for her
Rhodesian Ridgeback, Mosi, Lucy Postins began formulating
recipes of her own. Her interest in proper nutrition and the
raw food diet -- prior to founding the company in 2002, Postins
served as the equine and canine nutritionist for a Southern
California petfood manufacturer -- led Postins to investigate
ways to make this form of feeding more convenient and
economical, which eventually resulted in the creation (along with her husband, Charlie) of her
own holistic petfood company,
The Honest Kitchen.
"Our company was originally founded from a quest to find a
solution to a problem, not as a money-making venture," says
Postins. "We maintain a very strong focus on personal,
individualized customer service and on education."
But what makes The Honest Kitchen's start-up story different
from similar holistic or natural petfood companies with
grassroots beginnings? "The main thing that sets us apart from
the competition is the fact that The Honest Kitchen's products
are made in a human food production facility and not in a
petfood plant," Postins explains. This allows The Kitchen to
use the term "human grade" legally on all of their product
The Honest Kitchen began offering products in 2002 that
combine the health benefits of a raw diet with the ease and
convenience of dry food. The company claims to only use
certified organic grains, hormone and antibiotic-free meats,
non-GMO fruits and vegetables and certified fair-trade quinoa.
Their comprehensive line includes food and treats for both dogs
and cats, grain-free recipes, low-gluten diets, high-protein
foods and formulas meant to be used as a base for custom
homemade meals. Keen, which was introduced in 2008, is
described as a back-to-basics formula combining the human-grade
food quality the company is known for with an economical price
"Considering the state of global food costs and the current
financial climate, we realized the need for a more economical
product that doesn't compromise quality or nutritional
integrity," explained Postins in a press release. "Keen is a
remarkably exciting product, because it makes wholesome and
organic pet nutrition affordable for all pet owners, not just a
select few." More recently, The Honest Kitchen has launched a
medicinal herbal tea for dogs, as well as a recipe book of
meals that consumers can prepare at home for their pets,
Made out of Love.
The Honest Kitchen's comprehensive line includes food and treats for both dogs and cats, grain-free recipes, low-gluten diets, high-protein foods and formulas meant to be used as a base for custom homemade meals.
"At The Honest Kitchen, we are advocates for dietary variety
and promote our products not as a sole source of sustenance but
as a valuable part of an animal's total diet and a truly
holistic approach to health," says Postins, explaining her
company's untraditional approach. "Our foods can be fed alone
of course, but we want to teach pet parents that's it's also
really fun and rewarding to create homemade meals and to steer
away from an obsession with the science of food! Most people
don't know how many milligrams of calcium they consumed today,
yet there is this excessive focus on measurement and science in
our industry, which is very counterintuitive to me."
Another message Postins is intent on getting out?
"Nutritional balance can be achieved throughout the week for
cats and dogs just as it is on our own diets," she attests.
"There is nothing about a pet's physiology or anatomy that says
it should eat the equivalent of a highly processed breakfast
cereal for every day of its life. We want to awaken people's
minds to the concept that minimally processed, varied food is
better -- and we're working to provoke change in the way
nutrition is regarded in the industry and among pet
As controversial as The Honest Kitchen's mission may be to
the majority of the industry, consumers are certainly listening
with pricked ears and open wallets. The company's 2009 sales
were up about 27% over 2008 figures with an average growth rate
of 56% for the past five years, according to Postins. "In late
2009 and early this year we have picked up several new major
distributors who are instrumental in the next phase of our
growth. We're currently available in almost 2,000 resellers
The Kitchen is continuing to innovate, and the company has a
new dog food recipe in the works for summer 2010,
which will be made with fish as its protein source. "We're
expanding online and our community-based grassroots marketing
efforts with some exciting new initiatives in 2010. We
also have a new groundbreaking, patent-pending initiative that
will go live toward the end of this year and will further
revolutionize the way companion animals are fed," shares
Postins on her company's future. Postins also says she sees
many opportunities within the holistic and conventional
veterinary communities; The Honest Kitchen is conducting a
veterinary-based feeding trail this year that is already
yielding interesting results.
"We're very committed to being able to stick to our own
path, even if that path takes us on the road less traveled,"
sums up Postins. "We have some strong ideas about what
ingredients we will and will not use in our products, vendors we
will and will not work with and distribution channels that do
and don't fall within our boundaries of acceptability. We don't
make decisions based on the bottom line, but rather on what
feels right to us and what fits in with our culture and
Just the Facts
San Diego, California, USA
Lucy and Charlie Postins, Founders
Force, Keen, Verve, Prowl, Smooches, Pecks, Sparkle,
Invigor, Perfect Form, Nuzzles, Ice Pups, Lithe, Embark,
Preference, Thrive and Wishes
The Honest Kitchen is sold in more than 1,700 resellers -
including veterinary offices and specialty pet stores -
nationwide and in Canada, Japan, Singapore and Hong
Q&A with Lucy Postins of The
Want to read what else The Honest Kitchen co-founder has
to say about the state of the industry, how the 2007
recalls benefited her business and why the dehydrated
petfood-making process is different?
Check out our entire interview
with the outspoken petfood purveyor.
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