Who Owns What Your Pet Is Eating?

Maybe it doesn't matter to you, but it does to me. Earlier this month, the very popular brand Blue Buffalo was bought by General Mills for $8 billion in cash. Big business, dog food. And in their press release about the sale, General Mills admitted as much, saying that their interest in the company was piqued by Blue Buffalo's loyal customer base, primarily among millennials. It wasn't mentioned during the acquisition process that Blue Buffalo has had a rough couple of years, having settled two false advertising suits in 2016 and several recalls in 2017. So now, the company who brings you Lucky Charms, the Pillsbury Dough Boy, and Bugles now owns Blue Buffalo. 

Maybe you'd be surprised at who owns what. Mars Company, through its pet care division, owns Cesar, Eukanuba, Iams, Pedigree, and Royal Canin, to name a few. If you are not familiar with the Mars Company, they are also the makers of Skittles, Snickers, Twix and Uncle Ben's rice products.

Purina is a well-known name and puts its name on most of its products. However, it puts neither its name or its trademarked checkerboard square on Merrick pet food, which it acquired in 2015.

J. M. Smucker casts a wide net as well, though on less "premium" brands than some. What they bring to the market includes Natural Balance, Nature's Recipe, Milk Bone, 9 Lives, Meow Mix, Gravy Train, Kibbles 'n' Bits and Milo's Kitchen. They have been in the news recently because of some canned products testing positive for pentobarbital (illegal and potentially lethal).

One that may surprise you is a popular brand in veterinary offices, and that's Hill's Science Diet. Hill's Pet Nutrition is a subsidiary of Colgate-Palmolive.

The pet food industry being just "big business" to these companies, I wouldn't be surprised at all if there are more acquisitions on the horizon, and if the start of 2018 is any indication, it certainly won't be a surprise to see more recalls in the future.

Also of no surprise is the comparison to Life's Abundance. Life's Abundance is an employee-owned company. That means that every employee has a vested interest in the quality of the products that are produced. Life's Abundance food is manufactured in small batches, shipped to your home within 4-6 weeks of its production, without sitting on a store shelf for unknown periods of time, and every purchase of Life's Abundance pet products benefits the non-profit arm of Life's Abundance, the Dr. Jane Foundation. The Foundation supports a variety of animal rescue groups that are dedicated to helping neglected and unwanted animals. To all this, add two decades of history with zero recalls. 

Ultimately we're talking about the life, and life quality, of our pets, and I refuse to put my dogs' nutrition in the hands of a big corporation whose PR machine can teflon-coat a recall to the point that people don't think it's a big deal. If you're looking for a company that will put the needs and wellbeing of your pet first, instead of profits, I would love to work with you to find the solution that's right for you. You are also welcome to check out the entire Life's Abundance family of products here. Holistically formulated, thoughtfully produced, and proudly shared by people like me, whose passion is pets.