All-natural dog food, including foods that meet Association of American Feed Control Officials' requirements to claim “human-grade,” make up 10 percent of all sales in the US$18.9 billion petfood industry, according to Packaged Facts.
To determine what this "human-grade" dog food really tastes like to humans, Lucy Postins, founder of petfood company The Honest Kitchen, says her employees sample every ingredient when formulating a new dog food recipe. Yet, a Bloomberg Businessweek article that taste-tested the foods reveals that not all "human-grade" petfoods are really made to be palatable to both for humans and pets.
The article says that Weruva's Cirque de la Mer, which includes ingredients like tuna, pumpkin, carrots and sweet potatoes, claims "Actual Food" and "Made in a Human Food Facility" on the label, but the fine print cautions, "For Pets only." The article says that the food does taste like tuna with fresh vegetables, even to humans. The taste-tester was not as fond of Weruva's Jammin' Salmon food, however, which was said to have "stringy" chicken and "store bought" salmon, with vegetables like tomatoes, peas and sweet potatoes that were hard to taste. Michael's Soul-Stew Chicken's label claims the food contains only "USDA certified human-grade meats and farm fresh vegetables," but the taste test for humans proved the food to lack seasoning, though it includes many healthy ingredients like carrots, yams, potatos and rice, the article says.
Other foods taste-tested were Merrick's Little Italy and Burger Pie & Sweety fries. The taste tester says both foods were edible but not very platable, and the Little Italy food looked like "nearly square gelatinous meatballs float in a gooey brown stock," while the Burger Pie & Sweety fries recipe consisted of potato chunks in a brownish meat blend.
Another food tested was The Honest Kitchen's Embark food, a dehydrated food that looks like "chopped broccoli in a recycled, biodegradable box," the taste-tester said, with fruits and vegetables such as coconut and kelp. The article says this one has hints of cage-free turkey with hints of rosemary and a spinach-celery base. The taste tester's most preferred petfood was Nature's Variety SweetSpots Sweet Potato & Molasses formula. The food, the tester says, looks like "burnt-orange frozen yogurt" in a brown box, and has a light hint of sweet potato mixed with molasses.