Raised Right Pets: Human-grade pet food with a purpose

Raised Right Pets is a family-founded and owned, human-grade company that has expanded its presence in the frozen dog and cat food market segments significantly in 2019.

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Raised Right Pets is a true family operation based in their love for pets and the desire to produce the best possible food for dogs and cats. | Courtesy Raised Right Pets
Raised Right Pets is a true family operation based in their love for pets and the desire to produce the best possible food for dogs and cats. | Courtesy Raised Right Pets

Raised Right Pets is a New York, USA-based human-grade pet food company on a mission. Its “home-cooked style” products are lightly cooked, then frozen, so they can be served fresh to their furry consumers. All formulations are overseen by veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker, and Raised Right takes pride in the claim that every ingredient in the company’s recipes is traceable and has a purpose. But Raised Right isn’t just a business venture — it’s definitely a family affair.

The family history behind Raised Right Pets

“Our family’s roots in farming and ranching date back for centuries,” says Braeden Ruud, the company’s co-founder and CEO. “While raising food for humans, we decided it was time to provide the same quality of food for pets. We got into this business because of the massive outbreak of pet food contamination in 2007. My mom started preparing freshly cooked food for our pets because she couldn’t find a pet food company that she could trust. This experience is what drives us to make the safest pet food possible. We believe that if we can continue to provide pet food that is safe enough for humans to eat and nourishes dogs and cats the way nature intended, then we will continue to grow.”


Braeden Ruud (co-Founder/CEO), Mary Ann Ruud (co-founder/chief nutrition officer) and Tike Ruud (spokesdog and Border Collie/Blue Heeler mix) pose at Ruud Ranch, where the idea for Raised Right Pets began in 2007. | Courtesy Raised Right Pets

While 2007 was the jumping point for what eventually became Raised Right Pets, the company was really formalized while Ruud was attending Massachusetts, USA-based Babson College’s Master in Entrepreneurship program.

“For the capstone project, every student had to pitch a business idea for the chance to have their idea selected to be worked on for the entire second semester,” says Ruud. “Our idea was chosen and this allowed us to lay the foundation of what was to become the Raised Right brand.”

Beyond that, Raised Right was selected to participate in Babson’s Summer Venture Program (SVP), a 10-week intensive experience that builds entrepreneurial skills and accelerates the development of student ventures. Participants receive free housing, workspace and access to dedicated advisors that help the students turn their fledgling ventures into promising new businesses.

“The learnings gained during the SVP were critical in building our beachhead strategy and increasing our efficiencies through the tools, systems and processes we use to operate our business today,” says Ruud. “The experiences at Babson provided validation for our concept and gave us the confidence to pursue Raised Right as a viable business endeavor. It’s still surreal to think that Raised Right went from a home-cooked food made on our ranch to a class project that has developed into a national company.”

Human grade and stringent safety testing

Since Raised Right’s products are produced fresh, food safety is of the utmost importance to the company, according to Ruud.

“We are a true human-grade pet food company,” he says. “All our food is lightly cooked in a USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture)-inspected human-grade facility and every ingredient has passed the same standards necessary for human consumption. Every single batch we cook is lab safety tested for E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella through a third-party lab. We have a hold/release program where we don’t ever ship our food unless it passes the lab safety test. The lab results are posted on our website for everyone to see, along with a map tracing all our ingredients to their source and a video showing how our food gets made.”

Those ingredients are simple and limited, according to Ruud, and each one is a deliberate choice made with the help of Becker and pet food formulation expert Steve Brown.

“Every single ingredient in our recipes has a purpose,” says Ruud. “We offer stage-of-life specific recipes where each recipe has a single source of animal protein and we don’t use any preservatives. We were able to formulate our adult dog recipes to meet AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials)’s requirements for a complete and balanced diet using only whole foods with no added vitamins and minerals. There are only nine ingredients in our pork recipe, 10 ingredients in both our chicken and turkey recipes, and 11 ingredients in our beef recipe.”

The company’s position is paying off: In the most recent quarter, Raised Right has seen its store count increase threefold and its revenues increase fivefold.

Omnichannel nationwide market expansion

In 2019 Raised Right has expanded nationwide and has taken advantage of both the company’s presence in physical retail stores and online via a home delivery service. And while brick-and-mortar vs. online is a hot topic in the pet food industry right now, Raised Right is looking for ways to merge the two rather than keep them in competition with each other.

“Having nationwide shipping capabilities has enabled us to continue to grow our retail footprint in territories where we don’t currently have distribution,” says Ruud. “With our direct-to-retail shipping model, we’ve been able to connect our home delivery service customers with local neighborhood stores that are willing to stock our products for them. Understanding that the brick-and-mortar retail and home delivery channels are often at odds, we created a new model of distribution in the pet industry that allows consumers to purchase product in-store or online without one channel competing with the other."

“To support independent retailers, we developed The Right Way Retail Alliance, which gives brick-and-mortar retailers the ability to offer customers home delivery through our website,” he says. “Each store receives a unique referral code and gets a percentage of each purchase made with it online. Not only has this allowed stores that don’t have freezer space to sell our food, but it has functioned as a form of customer service for stores that physically stock our human-grade recipes.”

Raised Right also acknowledges the limitations of online and the benefits of brick-and-mortar when it comes to the frozen pet food category.

“We see brick-and-mortar retail as a huge opportunity for growth,” says Ruud. “Most major online retailers don’t have a robust frozen pet food category available for direct shipments. This gives the independent pet retailer the ability to build a loyal base of consumers to their stores. This in turn creates a great relationship between Raised Right and the retailer as we’re working together to create a unique offering for pet parents.”

Continued growth on the horizon

In the last 12 months, Raised Right has introduced two new recipes (pork and turkey) to its line of pet food, and has launched Meat Bites, single-ingredient liver treats that come in beef, turkey or pork.


In 2019 Raised Right Pets launched its new treat line, Meat Bites, single-ingredient liver treats with three proteins to choose from: beef, turkey or pork. | Courtesy Raised Right Pets

“We feel that our lightly cooked whole-food recipes are in line with the humanization of pets trend and will continue to see significant growth as this emerging category in frozen continues to gain momentum,” says Ruud. “We currently have new innovations in the pipeline that we are excited to roll out. We’re going to continue to add new recipes to our line of human-grade pet food and expand our line of treats.”

As for the pet food industry and the company’s place in it, Ruud says Raised Right feels pretty positive about the future.

“We feel bullish on the pet food industry,” he says. “Pet ownership continues to rise, the market as a whole continues to show growth, and the frozen pet food category has seen rapid growth as pet owners are becoming more educated on the benefits of feeding fresh whole foods to their pets. This, in addition to the increased awareness of the emerging lightly cooked frozen category, should help to sustain future growth for our company.”


Fast Facts


Headquarters: Rye, New York, USA

Officers: Braeden Ruud, co-founder/CEO; Mary Ann Ruud, co-founder/chief nutrition officer; Larry Ruud, co-founder/CFO; Adam Jacobson, executive vice president

Brands: Raised Right

Website/Social Media: RaisedRightPets.com, @raisedrightpets on Facebook and Instagram

Notable: Co-founder Braeden Rudd has competed against over 25 dogs and cats in food races to see who can finish their bowl of Raised Right first. Every “Food Race Friday” is posted on the company’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

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