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Why there is little meat in your dog food and dog treats

A happy meat dog treat dog

A happy meat dog treat dogI am a raw meat feeder for my dog (I have done the analysis many times over) so why would most dog treat and dog food companies only put 20-30% meat (including offal and bad meat by products in their ‘foods’ ??

The cost of meat and wheat in dog treats

This is something very basic, a back of a napkin kind of calculation but it should bring it home to you as to what you are paying for in your dog treats and dog food even.

In Australia the Australian Wheat Board has a lot of current information on prices. In August 2015 they say wheat price estimate sheet for 2015/ 2016 gives a ton of wheat at about $250  and Conola at about $500 AUD.

For Beef Prices I have used prices on alibaba (a very cheap wholesale website). Here are two prices for beef

1              Frozen Beef And Chilled Beef  27 Metric Tons (Min. Order) US $2000-3000 / Metric Ton (FOB Price)

2              Australian Beef -Prime Grade-Quarter Cuts-Frozen Beef -Halal Beef  (22 ton minimum order)  USD $3.5 to 4 Kg (FOB Price) Still on carcass (so includes bone).

1 ton = 0.9 metric ton (tonne).

So assuming a dog treat manufacturer has the demand to buy and store 20 odd ton of beef, the price will typically be around $3000 per ton (including bone – ie full carcass)

Both beef and grain will require processing before being used as a final ingredient in dog treats or dog food, but as you can imagine beef typically will require a lot more labour and cost in that process.

This suggests that wheat is approximately 10% of the beef cost.

Why you are paying for marketing and Corporate profit when you buy dog treats

There are minimum aafco standards of essential amino acids (protein) that are required in dog food. Because most grains including wheat cannot meet the minimum levels (even though grains are not bio available to dogs) manufactures are forced to use a bare minimum of meat in dog food to reach the protein levels to be classed as dog food.

Unfortunately dog treats do not have any specific universal standards so do not require meat to be used in treats. Corporations often use meat because it looks good on the packet label (%’s can be very low).

You will also find that dog treat makers only have to put the ingredients in order of weight (sometimes they will have meat first while its dry weight would have it as the third or less ingredient).

All of that aside, below is a table that shows what a typical cost break down might look like if a dog treat manufacturer has to choose between making a completely wheat based dog treat (biscuit) and a meat based one (100% beef, roo etc).

DOG TREAT COST BREAK DOWN

 Grain based

Meat based

Ingredients

0.3

3

Marketing

1

0.25

Manufacturer

1

0.75

   
RETAILER Profit

3.7

2

   
TOTAL

6

6

You will see that if a dog treat is sold at the same retail price, that because of the price difference between grain and meat based ingredients that a lot of that money can be diverted towards Marketing and advertising costs.

This is the reason that all of the national tv commercials you see about dog treats are from multinational companies with BIG advertising budgets (selling your grain for your dog!!). They can afford to make you think that their product is the best because they can spend up to 4 or more times the amount of money on making you believe they are best through animated cartoons and personality vets.

The manufacturer might often get about the same amount of profit for either type of treat, but a contracted manufacturer only makes what the parent company or supermarket say they want to buy from them. Or the consumer demands a certain wheat based treat because they have been bombarded with grain based dog treat ads for years.

The retailer profit is about double for the retailer if they sell the grain based dog treats, so what do you think they will choose? Also with such a high margin, it allows the retailer to regularly run discount promotions on the grain based treats, boosting volume and overall revenue either higher.

The only being that misses out is the dog, who really is a carnivore and if they can’t get enough meat in their dog food, they would really benefit from getting it in the form of dog treats.

Some dog treats providers will try and address this by selling the meat based treats in tiny 60g boutique packets, but only little old ladies with little old dogs see to buy those products.

So the next time you see meat based treats and wonder why you have never heard of the brand before, now you know. The meat based dog treat makers will also try and sell you them at the same price as famous grain based brand dog treats, what audacity!  But now that you know where all your money goes what do you choose. Would you rather your money go Into Retailer profit and advertising company profits or the actual cost and value of the ingredients (meat).

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