Pet parents have a dizzying array of choices when it comes to purchasing food for their pets. In addition to kibble and canned food that, for decades, have lined our grocers’ and pet store shelves, consumers are being introduced to other varieties including vegan, organic, raw, and, most recently, human-grade options.
Here’s a brief historical timeline of the pet food business:
- James Spratt introduces the world to commercial pet food in 1860 in the form of a biscuit. Made from vegetables, beef blood, beetroot and a mix of grains, they were expensive, so they were marketed to those with show dogs. The food became more widely available in the 1895.
- Around 1890, production of this dry food begins in the U.S.
- In 1918, canned horsemeat is introduced in the U.S. under the Ken-L Ration brand as a means of disposing of horse carcasses.
- In the1930’s, the Gaines Food Company introduces dry meat-meal dog food.
- During World War II, metal becomes rationed thus eliminating wet, canned food production. Industry shifts to dry foods. (By the end of the war in 1946, dry food represents 85% of the market)
- In the ‘50s and ‘60s, many conglomerates add pet food lines to their "human lines" of products. General Foods, Quaker Oats, Campbell's Soups, Mars, Lipton, Post, Carnation and Nabisco see pet food as a profitable way to market its discarded byproducts.
- In the ‘60s, the first commercial pet foods are created to meet the “nutritional needs of dogs.”
- In the ‘80s, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council publishes a paper outlining the nutritional needs of cats and dogs.
- 1988, Barbara Lynn Peden pioneers vegetarian diet for pets.
- In 2000’s, a growing number of pet parents embrace ancient practice of feeding raw food to pets.
- In the 2nd decade of the 2000’s, grain-free food becomes a trend but a 2018 study links grain-free food to severe heart disease in dogs.
- In 2010, JustFoodForDogs invents first whole food product made of only USDA-grade ingredients fit for human consumption but nutritionally balanced for dogs (In 2018, JustFoodForDogs forms historic partnership with mega-retailer Petco to build 400 “stores within stores” – many featuring exhibition kitchens.)
In addition to its stores throughout Southern California, many of which feature exhibition kitchens, JFFD operates boutiques within dozens of Pet Food Express locations in Northern California. Its deal with Petco will ultimately expand JFFD’s footprint nationwide. To make the small-batch, human-grade food accessible to all, the company offers its recipes on its website so DIY’ers can prepare meals from scratch at home. The company also offers treats, supplements, veterinary support diets, custom formulations and a cat recipe. The foods are available online and can be shipped nationwide. To learn more about JustFoodForDogs, visit www.justfoodfordogs.com.