Pet Food Ingredients-Whole Meat VS. Meal, the real facts.
We, at gabbi’s, are constantly researching various pet foods and the ingredients that go into them for a variety of reasons-nutritional value, relevance, source, digestibility, palatability, etc. Lately there is some confusion regarding the value of “meat meal” vs. “whole meat”. For our purposes today, we are comparing chicken as a protein source.
What could contain more protein than whole chicken, right? Surprisingly, a quality chicken meal can be a better source of digestible protein than the whole meat it was processed from. How so, you ask?
Chicken meal is the dried product from the rendering of whole chicken. This process, much like a high pressure stew, leaves behind a highly concentrated protein powder known as a meal. In this case, chicken meal. As a pet food ingredient, one pound of whole chicken and one pound of chicken meal offer very different protein value.
Whole chicken contains about 70% water and 18% protein. Chicken meal contains about 10% water and 70% protein.
Read that again. Yes, it’s true-chicken meal contains almost 4X the amount of quality protein per pound as whole chicken. Now here’s something else to pay attention to when reading the ingredient label on your pet’s food bag. Ingredients are listed in order of quantity, so the first five ingredients listed before the vitamins/minerals, usually make up the majority of that food’s contents. When whole meats are listed first, remember they are about 70% moisture, so the useable protein content actually falls way down the list. Notice too, that most quality foods usually have a meal listed as the second ingredient, identifying the dominant protein source. This is perfectly okay, as long as the meal is identified as a specific source. Source and quality of meal make ALL the difference.
Look for a specific type of meal-chicken, beef, fish, to note a few. Avoid any meal sources of unknown or vague origin-meat, animal, poultry,bone, to name a few. No meal product can be better than the meat it was rendered from. Quality sources yield quality meals, and quality pet food brands will always list an identifable protein source.
We are always happy to explain ingredients and their relevant roles in your BFF’s food. Just ask us!