What we mean by 'Real Food'
Updated over a week ago

At Edgard & Cooper, we consider real food to be made without meat meal, artificial flavours or colours. We believe such ingredients don’t belong in a healthy balanced diet and should thus not be added to our food, nor our pet’s food.

Meat meal

A lot of pet food brands use meat meal that's made by rendering meat and all sorts of other animal remains at high temperatures and pressure to turn it into a brown, dry powder. They call this a meat meal but don’t talk about the hooves, skin, and sometimes even large amount of bone used to make this product*. Adding to this lack of transparency, labeling guidelines only require pet food brands to include as little as 4% of a specific ingredient in order to claim the recipe is made “with” that ingredient**. We believe this is lack of transparency and misleading, that’s why we’re opening Pandora's box and shedding light on the truth, so that you actually know what you’re feeding your beloved pets.

There are many ways meat meal can be labelled. For example meat meal made from chicken can be labelled as:

  1. Meat meal

  2. Chicken meal

  3. Chicken meat meal

  4. Dehydrated chicken

  5. Dried chicken

Meat meal can also be made from an unknown mix of animals. This is often labelled as "meat and animal derivates".

Example of the 4% labeling rule: Meat and Animal Derivatives (20% of which 4% Chicken) Ask yourself, what’s the remaining 16% made of?


*Regulation (EC) No 1069/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 laying down health rules as regards animal by-products and derived products not intended for human consumption and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1774/2002 (Animal by-products Regulation) OJ L 300, 14.11.2009, p. 1–33

**FEDIAF Code of Good Labelling Practice for Pet Food (2019).


Did you know that cats can’t taste sugar?* So why is it added to their food? Some pet food brands add sugar to trick pets into eating more, which is unhealthy and can lead to a higher risk of obesity. When sugar is heating during the cooking process, it reacts with free amino acids and changes colour from white to brown** ***. Science calls this the Maillard-reaction which creates an umami flavour cats and dogs are so crazy about ****. On top of that, a chemical called acrylamide can form during this process (especially under very high temperatures) which is known to cause cancer*****.

Some common names used to label sugar:

  1. Sugar

  2. Caramel

  3. Dextrose

  4. Fructose

  5. Honey

  6. Glucose syrup


*Li X, Li W, Wang H, Cao J, Maehashi K, et al. (2005) Pseudogenization of a sweet-receptor gene accounts for cats’ indifference toward sugar. PLoS Genet 1(1): e3.

**Van Rooijen, C., Bosch, G., van der Poel, A. F. B., Wierenga, P. A., Alexander, L., & Hendriks, W. H. (2014). Quantitation of Maillard Reaction Products in Commercially Available Pet Foods. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 62(35), 8883-8891.

***Van Rooijen, C., Bosch, G., van der Poel, A. F., Wierenga, P. A., Alexander, L., & Hendriks, W. H. (2013). The Maillard reaction and pet food processing: effects on nutritive value and pet health. Nutrition Research Reviews, 26(2), 130-148.

****Ni, Z.-J., Liu, X., Xia, B., Hu, L.-T., Thakur, K., & Wei, Z.-J. (2021). Effects of sugars on the flavor and antioxidant properties of the Maillard reaction products of camellia seed meals. Food Chemistry: X, 11, 100127. ISSN 2590-1575.

*****Halford, N. G., Curtis, T. Y., Muttucumaru, N., Postles, J., Elmore, J. S., & Mottram, D. S. (2012). The acrylamide problem: a plant and agronomic science issue. Journal of Experimental Botany, 63(8), 2841-2851.

Artificial flavourings and colourings

At Edgard & Cooper, we hold strong convictions regarding what we include in our pet food. Dogs' inability to see colours other than blue and yellow prompts us to question why the colour of their kibble should even be a factor*. As a result, we do not incorporate colorants into our products. Additionally, we believe in providing genuine flavours through the use of real food, rather than resorting to artificial flavourings.

*Siniscalchi, M., d’Ingeo, S., Fornelli, S., & Quaranta, A. (2017). Are dogs red-green colour blind? R. Soc. Open Sci., 4, 170869

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