"RACHAEL RAY NUTRISH" Admits That "SUPER PREMIUM" Is A Marketing Term, Not A Legal Definition. Brought To You by #PETFOOLED
"Rachael Ray Nutrish" may be one of the fastest growing pet food lines on the market, but that doesn't mean there aren't A LOT of questions surrounding the ingredients used in the foods as well as several marketing tactics used by "Ainsworth Pet Nutrition".
On their packages, "Rachael Ray Nutrish" uses the buzzwords "SUPER PREMIUM". There is no legal definition for "SUPER PREMIUM". When a consumer is in the super market or pet food store and notices the words "SUPER PREMIUM" on a package, there isn't an independent or 3rd party organization evaluating or verifying that the ingredients used in that product are of "SUPER PREMIUM" quality. Why? "SUPER PREMIUM" is actually a marketing tactic. There are no industry "guidelines" for evaluating or verifying the ingredients used in "Rachael Ray Nutrish" and then determining them to be premium or below premium. "Rachael Ray Nutrish" can use any quality of ingredients that they wish and call it "SUPER PREMIUM".
"SUPER PREMIUM" is used on the "Rachael Ray Nutrish" packages even though it's not a legal definition in the industry. No one legally regulates and verifies that a food is deemed below premium, above premium, or beyond premium.
I called the phone number provided on the "Rachael Ray Nutrish" website and was greeted by a "Ainsworth Nutrition" representative. I asked for further clarification on what "SUPER PREMIUM" means on their packages. You can listen to that portion of the phone call HERE or enjoy the transcript below.
KOHL: What does the term super premium mean on the package?
ANNE (Ainsworth Pet): It's totally balanced nutrition. All made with all natural ingredients. Good for all ages of animal, dogs or cats.
KOHL: Is that a marketing term or is that like a legal definition that has to be applied by someone else? Super premium.
ANNE (Ainsworth Pet): As far as I know it's a marketing, I don't think it's legal.
THERE IS NO LEGAL INDUSTRY DEFINITION FOR "SUPER PREMIUM"
I was transferred to a "consumer care representative" and I asked her for clarification on that package buzzword as well. (You can listen to that portion of the phone call HERE or enjoy the transcript below.)
KOHL: She said that the word "SUPER PREMIUM" is a marketing term. I just wanted to confirm that with you. It's not a legal definition?
AINSWORTH PET CONSUMER CARE REPRESENTATIVE: No, it's not a legal definition. We consider it a "SUPER PREMIUM" brand just because it's meat first.
KOHL: So you guys are considering that "SUPER PREMIUM"? Not a 3rd party?
AINSWORTH PET CONSUMER CARE REPRESENTATIVE: Right. We make the food so yes. We consider it a "SUPER PREMIUM" food. I personally don't get involved with the processing and why it's labeled as such. But there's no legality involved there. I can assure you that.
IS "RACHAEL RAY NUTRISH" FOOLING CUSTOMERS
Did you hear what the representative said? "WE CONSIDER IT A 'SUPER PREMIUM' FOOD." Well, what is the origin of all the ingredients? What is the quality of the ingredients. Are the ingredients used "feed grade" ingredients or "human grade" ingredients? What is the quality of all the ingredients? What percentage of the protein included in the package comes from the actual "meat" versus chicken meal, pea protein, or the corn gluten meal ingredients to name just a few.
What if the definition "Ainsworth Pet" is considering "SUPER PREMIUM" is not what consumers would consider to be "SUPER PREMIUM"? Meat first on the label makes it a "SUPER PREMIUM" product? Huh? You can just call a food "SUPER PREMIUM" because you FEEL like it is?
I do not see a definition for "SUPER PREMIUM" on the packages or on the company's website. How is a consumer suppose to know what "SUPER PREMIUM" means? Or, is "Rachael Ray Nutrish" (Ainsworth Pet) used to consumers not questioning marketing tactics like this and buying the products anyway?
All it takes for "Ainsworth Pet" is for themselves to consider their products "SUPER PREMIUM" and they are allowed to label the products as so even if the products are not what others may consider appropriate for the species.
LOOK Closely At The CORN Marketing
Another interesting marketing claim on the "Rachael Ray Nutrish" website is that there's "NO GROUND CORN" in the products.
But in the ingredient panel, "CORN GLUTEN MEAL" is found. They also say "just real meat or fish and wholesome veggies plus the vitamins, minerals, and taurine your cat needs" but if you look at the ingredient panels, there's more than just veggies and real meat. Are they considering corn gluten meal as a wholesome veggie? Is powdered cellulose a wholesome veggie? Huh?
CORN GLUTEN MEAL Protein Talk but No Meat Protein Talk
This portion of the phone call can be listened to at this LINK.
KOHL: So, a couple of more questions. I'm seeing in the marketing that there's no ground corn in the foods, wheat or soy. But I see there's corn gluten meal. So I just wanted to figure out what the difference between ground corn and corn gluten meal are.
AINSWORTH PET CONSUMER CARE REPRESENTATIVE: In some of the products we do use ground corn. The corn gluten meal is the protein source. It's about 60% protein compared to the protein of ground corn. So, the FDA considers these to be very different ingredients.
KOHL: So corn gluten meal is 60% protein compared to ground corn which would be at what protein level?
AINSWORTH PET CONSUMER CARE REPRESENTATIVE: It's about 7% roughly.
KOHL: And then what is corn gluten meal compared to lets just say meat or organ?
AINSWORTH PET CONSUMER CARE REPRESENTATIVE: That I can't answer personally.
KOHL: Because they don't provide you with the info?
AINSWORTH PET CONSUMER CARE REPRESENTATIVE: Right. Not too many people ask that so...
YOU DON'T KNOW THE PROTEIN CONTENT OF THE MEAT???
Why does the representative know the protein percentages of corn gluten meal and not the percentages of protein found in the meat? We all know that meat is expensive. Price and quality of ingredients and why those ingredients are used are two different conversations.
The representative even knows the differences between corn gluten meal protein levels and ground corn protein levels. But when asked about meat protein levels as a comparison, she doesn't have the information.
WE HAVE SCIENTISTS BUT YOU CAN'T SPEAK TO THEM!
Why do companies say they have "scientists" yet no one can speak to them? That part of the conversation can be heard HERE or read below.
KOHL: Is Rachael Ray involved in formulating the foods or is she basically just involved in the brand?
AINSWORTH PET CONSUMER CARE REPRESENTATIVE: Initially she was involved in the formulation. We've been making the products for about 9 years. She relies on our food scientists and nutritionists to develop the products.
KOHL: Ok cool.
AINSWORTH PET CONSUMER CARE REPRESENTATIVE: But she does give her stamp of approval.
KOHL: Ok cool. Would it be possible for me to speak to any of the food scientists and nutritionists to ask more specific, in depth questions relating to dog and cat diets and what you guys are doing.
AINSWORTH PET CONSUMER CARE REPRESENTATIVE: I can provide a message to them. I'm not sure that they would entertain that because a lot of it is proprietary. But I can't transfer you because I know they won't take the call. But if I could give them your contact information, they could give you a call if they choose to.
THE QUESTIONS DO NOT END HERE
There are other questions about "Rachael Ray Nutrish" that need to be addressed. Why does "Rachael Ray Nutrish" brag about having scientists on staff yet we can't speak to the scientists? Are there questions about what's species appropriate or biologically required for dogs and cats that they are afraid to answer? Why can a company just "feel" that their product is "SUPER PREMIUM" and label it as such only because they have meat as the first ingredient and not because the ingredients are meeting a high standard that's a organic, species appropriate, non-rendered, not-processed quality of nutrition?