The dog food industry in the US is dominated by just only a few big companies, whom are:
- Del Monte
- Mars, Inc
They alone control over three quarters of the market for world’s pet food.
It is important to beware of their dominance because:
- Switching brands may not be truly switching companies
- Brands under one company are manufactured in the same manufacturing plants
- Brands under one company are formulated / designed by the same people, philosophy, and knowledge
- The brands under each company are likely to be found more common in retail store, but it does not mean they maybe superior or popular due to their quality just be because they appear everywhere –Big companies just have better retail reach
- Typically larger companies have more money to spend on marketing, but this does not necessary translates to offering a better recipe than the small guy. Something to keep in mind.
Big companies churn out a great volume of dog food, and perhaps one would assume they have better manufacturing facilities and process control. However, for dry dog food, it appears the big guys in the past two years have more recalls due to contamination. This is just an observation. Manufacturing is a difficult process and when you are churning out high volumes, the odds eventually will work against you unless you spend more money on quality analysis.
Here is a list in alphabetical order of the big 4 players and their brands:
- Hill’s Science Diet
- Hill’s Prescription Diets
- Hill’s Nature’s Best
- Kibbles ’n Bits
- Milk Bone
- Natural Balance pet foods
- Goodlife Recipe
- Natura Pet Products: EVO, California Natural (Acquired from Procter & Gamble in mid 2014)
- Nutro Products
- Sensible Choice
- Iams (Acquired from Procter & Gamble in mid 2014)
- Eukanuba(Acquired from Procter & Gamble in mid 2014)
- Mighty Dog
- Dog Chow
- Nestle has announced it will purchase Merrick (Announced on July 21 2015). Buying Merrick will include Castor & Pollux and Whole Earth Farms brands too.