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Dear Purina, Your Bakers Dog Food Is Still Awful. Here's Why.

1 CommentThursday, 22 February 2018  |  Kate

A few months ago, Pooch & Mutt, an independent dog food and healthy dog treat maker, hauled Purina over the coals for the quality and ingredients of their Bakers dog food (see image right). They did quite the number on Pedigree's Dentastix too, owned by Mars. And good on 'em I say, these giant companies spend way too much money on marketing and far too little on ingredients to make them nutritionally worthwhile to your dog.

Pooch and Mutt made some good points; Bakers were adding colours to their Meaty Meals which dogs can't even see and certainly don't need, to their recipes. They're their purely to appeal to humans. Adding BHA (linked to cancer) and BHT (messes with your liver enzymes) to dog food recipes went out years ago, but Bakers were still doing it up until recently. Because it's cheap. 

However, Bakers came out fighting and responded thus:

"As a responsible pet food manufacturer we are concerned the campaign will cause pet owners unnecessary worry about the quality of food they are feeding their pet."

I don't think you are responsible Purina. I think you make a range of pet foods at different price points to suit a variety of pet food owners, but that your ingredients are mostly lacking in quality nutrition no matter how much dog and cat owners pay for it.

"All Purina products comply with the strict UK and EU legislation for pet food to ensure they are safe to feed your pet and are nutritionally balanced."

Purina is right, the UK makes some of the best pet food in the world, but they only reason Bakers is a complete food is because of the minerals added after cooking. It's got nothing to do with the quality of ingredients.

"The production of pet food is highly regulated to ensure that it is of the utmost quality. The colours and all other additives that we use are carefully regulated by a number of authorities and are permitted for use in cat, dog and human food in all EU member states."

Pet food production is highly regulated to make sure it's safe to eat and a complete food. Just because you can use colours doesn't mean you have to, many other pet food companies don't and you are way late to the party.

"Purina is committed to creating nutritious foods that will keep pets happy, healthy and content."

If that's really the case please can you spend less money on your marketing and more on quality ingredients, there's a love.

So now we have a new recipe

Bakers have now 'improved' their recipes and now boast "no added artificial colours, flavours or preservatives." This is emblazoned along the bottom of their bright blue bags and boxes in wholesome green and beige. I almost wouldn't mind if Bakers had missed the point entirely in making these changes if it weren't for the fact that their food is still about as low rent as it gets.

It's all smoke and mirrors. All you need to do is watch any of their ad campaigns to see the healthy dog food message unravel.

A Baker's advertisement is like a day out at the fair. Fit, healthy dogs, groomed to perfection belt along a grassy meadow in a race to get to the bright blue (but achingly cool) Purina Piaggio Ape vans. These retro vehicles are packed to the rafters with the familiar Bakers boxes, and the dogs are racing towards them as if their little lives depended upon it. The dogs (because this is real life) jump into the front seat and drive off to deliver new and improved Bakers, with no artificial ingredients, to healthy, happy dogs all over the land. We know this because the voiceover is delivered in a wholesome northern accent (I'm from Yorkshire, stop it, it's patronising) so it must be true!

Read The Ingredients

All one needs to do is turn the packet over and read the ingredients list to realise how much Purina spends on the hype compared to ingredients.

Too Many Cereals

You're shelling out your hard earned cash for a dog food which is over 50% cereals. You'd be better off giving them porridge and a bit of actual chicken than Bakers. Cheap Protein The meat is listed as meat and animal derivatives (chicken 4%) so you have no idea what other animals are in there; pork? Lamb? Also, it doesn't have to be flesh when listed like this it can be other animal parts too. I don't mind that it's a dehydrated meat source per se but it does mean it could have been stored like that for months or years before it's used. To get the protein levels up the third ingredient listed is 'vegetable protein extracts'. So some of the protein is coming from vegetable extracts not meat. When you consider that most dog owners don't, and shouldn't have to, spend much time scrutinising the label I call that misleading.

So, Bakers, just because you've now caught up with the rest of us by removing artificial colours from your recipes doesn't mean your food is marginally any better than it was before.

I fail to see how a dog can thrive on a food so high in cereals unless it's super active with a working sheepdog's requirements for carbohydrates. And even then the paltry amount of animal protein would leave the poor thing wanting.

I get it, you're making a cheap dog food at a price point where it can fly off the supermarket shelves but please stop making it out to be something it really isn't. You're certainly never getting a whiff of my dog or a penny off me.

If you want to try a good dry food have a look at:

  • Simpsons
  • Feelwells
  • Arden Grange
  • Aatu
  • Millies Wolfheart

To name but 5, or ask your local pet shop what they recommend, assuming their shelves aren't loaded with Bakers, Pedigree, Eukanuba, Royal Canin and Iams. If that's all you can see shop elsewhere.