Human nutrition trends are translating to pets, says CEO of The Honest Kitchen

By Adi Menayang contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Honest Kitchen co-founder and CEO Lucy Postins.
The Honest Kitchen co-founder and CEO Lucy Postins.
From Ayurvedic botanicals to whole food nutrient sources, more US pet owners in urban and coastal areas are looking past the pellets, says pet wellness expert Lucy Postins.

Postins is also the co-founder and CEO of pet food company The Honest Kitchen​, which differentiates itself in the pet nutrition sector for manufacturing in only human-grade facilities and using human-grade whole food ingredients.

“We’ve begun using things like coconut milk and turmeric; some Ayurvedic spices in new products like cardamom and things like that which provide other benefits beyond macronutrition,” ​she told NutraIngredients-USA.

These ingredients are featured in the company’s ‘Functional Liquid Treat’ called Bone Broth with Turmeric​, marketed for its collagen and chondroitin from the broth for joint support, as well as curcuminoids for their anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which sells for around $13.99 per 5oz canister.

bonebroth
The Honest Kitchen's Functional Liquid Treat, 'Bone Browth with Turmeric Spice.'

Who buys pet supplements? The demographics

Popular benefits and claims that consumers seek out when shopping for pet nutrition include mobility benefits (such as joint health), liver health, and skin and coat care, Postins said. But who are the consumers who purchase pet supplements?

“At one end of the scale, the type of consumer that The Honest Kitchen attracts on a whole are extremely knowledgeable, they question their vet’s advice and they research and reach out for holistic and integrative health—they are choosing more sophisticated supplements,” ​she said, adding that these consumers and products are more accessible along the coasts and in urban areas.

On the other end of the spectrum, what Postins calls entry-level pet-owners, are consumers who trust food choices for pet nutrition. “An example of that is glucosamine or chondroitin formulated as part of a dry dog food," ​Postins said.

‘Supplements more necessary if pets are eating heavily processed foods’

“But unfortunately, for many types of those foods there are laws that govern how much of a supplement can go into a food,” ​she added. “Which means oftentimes the amount doesn’t equate into a therapeutic dose and tends to be more of a marketing gimmick.”

Postins and her company vouch for whole food nutrition. It helps that animals are less discriminating with texture, appearance, and aroma of what they eat—pets are more likely to get enough omega-3 by chewing on fish cookies or fish skin treats than humans, especially those who live away from coasts and don’t include seafood in their diet.

“Our philosophy is that every animal is an individual—I think in most cases animals do not need additional supplementation if they’re eating a healthy whole food diet,” ​Postins said. “But it’s more necessary if [pets] are eating more heavily processed foods.”

Human trends spill into pet food

The main reason Postins chose to manufacture the products in human-grade facilities is transparency. “There are a number of things allowed in the pet food production side, things that are permissible to use in conventional pet food that are not permitted in human food products,” ​she said.

These details range from how ingredients are processed to how the facilities utilities (HVAC or ventilation) are maintained.

But standards and quality aside, Postins said that more cues from human wellness and nutrition is being translated into the pet care industry. “In the majority of cases, what people are learning on the human food side they’re translating directly to pets,” ​she said.

There are only a few ingredients that are popular as human supplements that are not permitted to be used for pets, such as rosehip. But up-and-coming nutritional health ingredients, such as probiotics, are now being formulated into pet health products (The Honest Kitchen has a dry Goat Milk Plus Probiotics​ supplement geared for pet digestion).

“Clean label is becoming more-and-more in demand as time goes on, I think people just continue to educate themselves on the human food side, and [clean labels] really are a primary importance in pet food,” ​she added.

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2 comments

Correction: Stated wrong year

Posted by Janeway,

For accuracy in first comment, that would be "New Year's Day 2017" (not 2016).

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Thanks for Timely AND Excellent Focus

Posted by Janeway,

Truly, all this "wholesomeness" is awesome to see reported here; especially when there is currently FDA investigation and voluntary recall of 'non-human grade' products which were distributed by the pet food brands Evanger's and Against the Grain (used same facility) because of health harms and (at least) one dog's death caused by the adulteration or presence of a euthanasia drug known as Pentobarbitol. This nightmare started New Year's Day 2016 in WA state with a report from a pet owner who had five pugs and after losing one and still treating a second for seizures, so is such sordid tale continuing to unravel.

So, how did such lethality get into the domestic pet food chain? According to at least two long known as trustworthy pet food advocates, it seems a rendering resource lied to the fore mentioned brand names and instead of what was seemingly delivered as raw material for the 'hunks of beef' recipe, it was akin to horse flesh and since the chemical potency of Pentobarbitol is not altered by high heat of processing, so does this adversity secondarily affect whatever (tame, wild) animal who ingests the flesh of such prophylactically euthanized animal.

Needless to say, it is specifically for callous and/or irresponsible reasons like this that are still being tolerated (no internalized due diligence with routinely reliable Q.C.) by too many of the Corporate Pet 'food & feed' suppliers that there is now HUGE DEGREE OF DISTRUST by discerning pet owners who are turning to the home cooked ideology and integrity of smaller compassion-based companies like "The Honest Kitchen." Hear, hear.

And for what it's worth, may CEO Postins NEVER allow her noble mission to be engulfed by lure of corporate absorption or the inherent tragedy that rides along with their historical propensity for disingenuous (unhealthy) practices.

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