BY LIZE TT BOND
As dog owners recognize the connection between diet and the overall well-being of their pets, many are searching for nutritional solutions to mitigate allergy and food sensitivity
issues. And as with their own foods, pet owners are drawn to an
ingredient panel listing natural, simple ingredients.
Because some dogs might experience sensitivities to particular
foods, consumers are increasingly seeking the simplicity of sin-gle-source-animal-protein and grain-free diets, said Pete Brace, vice
president of communications and pet parent relations for Merrick
Pet Care in Amarillo, Texas.
“Consumers are more aware than ever before of what they are
feeding their pets,” said Shelby Wisniewski, manager of integrated
marketing and consumer experience at Nature’s Variety Instinct
Pet Food in St. Louis. “Since sensitivities can be caused by proteins,
for some pets it is important to limit the number of those sources
in a diet.”
This is especially true as many products blend multiple proteins
per formula, making it difficult to avoid specific proteins, Wisniews-
For these reasons, pet owners are seeking clear and easy-to-un-derstand dietary solutions, she said.
Beyond their own research, a pet owner might learn from their
veterinarian that a pet should avoid certain ingredients, said Todd
Wigert, vice president of independent sales at Natural Balance Pet
Foods in Burbank, Calif.
Veterinarian referrals for limited-ingredient diets are on the rise
at The Loyal Biscuit Co., which has stores in Maine, said owner Heidi Vanorse Neal.
“We have a fantastic relationship with several local veterinary
offices with holistic veterinarians on staff,” Vanorse Neal said. “They
really like to recommend Acana and Orijen foods for LID foods, as
well as raw foods. Demand has definitely increased.”
The benefit of limited-ingredient diets is that an owner knows
exactly what their dog is eating, said Ann Hudson, vice president,
marketing, for St. Louis-based Whitebridge Pet Brands, the maker of
Cloud Star products. The category isn’t only for dogs with skin and
coat problems, she added.
“For us, ‘limited ingredient’ means fewer, simpler and easi-
ly recognizable ingredients,” Hudson said. “Ingredients that you
would put on your own plate, nothing processed and nothing arti-
ficial. Whole ingredients are healthier ingredients, and a diet free of
grains, potatoes and split plant proteins is best.”
Sherry Redwine, co-owner of Odyssey Pets in Dallas, noted
growth in the category.
“Demand is growing—I’d say LIDs comprise about 10 percent
of our inventory,” Redwine said. “At one point, it was closer to 1
percent, so it’s increasing.”
Limited-ingredient foods score big with consumers looking to mitigate food
sensitivity issues, as well as those who value a short ingredient panel.
Simply Unlimited Demand
SINGLE-SOURCE PROTEINS, COMPLEX
CARBS IN LIMITED-INGREDIENT DIETS
In response to demand, manufacturers are developing and presenting carefully selected formulas
featuring single-source animal proteins and complex
Whitebridge Pet Brands in St. Louis recently
announced Cloud Star WellMade, a complete line of
grain-free, limited-ingredient diets, said Ann Hudson, vice
The line is available in five proteins and three complementary formats—Baked Kibble, Homestyle Meals
and Dehydrated Mixes—so owners can customize meals
for their dogs, Hudson added.
Natural Balance Pet Foods recently expanded its
L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets line for adult dogs and added a recipe for puppies, said Todd Wigert, vice president
of independent sales for the Burbank, Calif., company.
The two new formulas for adult dogs, available in
2.75-ounce wet cups, include Chicken & Sweet Potato
and White Fish & Sweet Potato recipes.
Both are grain free, cooked to perfection in a savory
broth and can be used as standalone meals or as toppers
to dry kibble, Wigert said.
The L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Potato & Duck Dry
Puppy Formula contains a single-source animal protein
and limited carbohydrate sources, providing complete
and balanced nutrition for all breeds, Wigert noted.
The Single Source Salmon & Pumpkin Formula from
Tucker’s features wild-caught salmon from the Pacific
Northwest and contains only five ingredients and a
vitamin mix, said Matt Scheil, vice president of sales at
Tucker’s Raw Frozen and Treats, a division of Raw Basics,
in Pleasant Prairie, Wis.
In addition, the company’s new Carnibars line is one
of the first dehydrated “meal bar” products for dogs and
is made exclusively with meat and pumpkin, Scheil said.
The bars are individually vacuum sealed for freshness.
“One 2.85-ounce package of Carnibar contains
enough food to feed a 25-pound dog for a day,” Scheil
said. “It’s really an affordable way to feed a limited diet,
even on the go.”
Merrick Pet Care expanded its Limited Ingredient
Diet lineup with a grain- and potato-free Real Chicken
Recipe. The kibble product delivers a leading level of
protein at 30 percent, and the first five ingredients are
deboned chicken, chicken meal, chickpeas, peas and
chicken fat, said Pete Brace, vice president of com-
munications and pet parent relations for the Amarillo,
Complementing this new kibble recipe is a Limited
Ingredient Diet canned product. Real Chicken Stew offers
a single-source protein in a grain- and potato-free chunky
stew texture, Brace said.
“Like all Merrick recipes, Limited Ingredient Diet
foods are made in the USA in our own kitchens, with no
ingredients from China,” he said.
Often pet owners with itchy dogs seek out limited-ingredient
foods, but the category can have broader appeal, too,