What To Know about Orijen and Acana
Champion Pet Food's training was a blast! I have really enjoyed attending Hollywood Feed’s training classes recently, especially the ones on nutrition. I feel like I am learning so much, almost like I’m back in college taking courses. The people have been so friendly and easy to talk to, Hollywood Feed staff and the trainers both!
Champion Pet Foods makes Orijen and Acana brands. Wade, the trainer, was down from Canada where all of Champion’s pet food is currently produced.
Whole Food Ingredients
The main things I want to tell you about Champion are that the company uses whole foods and it owns and controls its products from the farm to the dog (or cat) bowl! I was so impressed with Champion’s story. Other pet food companies, when they say they have butternut squash as an ingredient, may receive it in a powdered form from another company and then add it into their pet food formula. What Champion does is very different. Champion creates relationships with farmers and breeders. It invests in these farms to provide a better quality of life for the animals there and for the farmers. It owns the vegetable, fruit, or animal from the beginning and monitors its growth and health. Champion’s farming partners harvest their vegetables at the peak of nutrition. Champion owns its own trucks, and it’s own containers. It hires it’s own drivers to go to the farm, pick up the product, and bring it back to their kitchens. Their ingredients come into the kitchen as a whole food- the exact same butternut squash that you find in your grocery. There is NO OUTSOURCING, which is so impressive to me!
Wade said that Champion believes in BA-FRI-NO. This is what they live by. BA-biologically appropriate, FRI-fresh regional ingredients, NO-never outsourced.
Did you realize that in most pet foods there are 25-30 synthetic ingredients? A synthetic ingredient is one formed by a chemical process to imitate a real-life ingredient. This is done in pet food to meet AAFCO’s (Association of American Feed Control Officials) nutritional requirements. Champion has only one synthetic ingredient-zinc. This is because it is able to fulfill AAFCO’s requirements based solely on the quality of ingredients they put into their pet food.
For example, in Orijen’s Six Fish Formula they use six varieties of wild caught fish, never frozen, because they buy directly from local fisherman, grind in a special machine right on the dock daily, and transport the fish to their kitchen and make the pet food within five days. They use the ENTIRE fish, providing the entire nutrition available from it. Other companies will get the remnants of fish after fillets have been cut off and sold for human consumption. This means that when they use fish in their pet food, it is mostly bone and cartilage and not the good meat. So, in order to meet AAFCO’s requirements, they must chemically synthesize the other nutritional ingredients.
Champion is the largest user of eggs in Canada. They have an egg farmer that produces specifically for them. They invested a lot of money in this farm, as they helped him convert from cage laying chickens to nest laying chickens. They made this investment instead of just pulling out and taking their business elsewhere, which would have meant removing this farmer’s livelihood. I think businesses that operate this way are businesses that people should support to help make the world a better place. Champion also has one man that grows all of their botanical ingredients for them, two duck farmers they get all of their ducks from, one farm that all of their bison comes from, and a fourth generation owned farm that all of their beef comes from. This is just the way they do business.
Champion is the most trusted pet food company in the world. They have never had a recall in the United States, and they are a completely transparent company. They tell you everything that is in their pet food.
Coming to Kentucky
Some exciting news for Champion is that they are currently building their first US kitchen outside of Boling Green, Kentucky. They have had people on the ground there for two years already creating relationships with local farmers so that all of their ingredients, once the kitchen opens in 2016, will be locally sourced. This will be great for the local economy!
Check out Champion’s website at www.championpetfoods.com. You can find some interesting information there. By the way, my dogs and cats love Orijen and Acana. It is definitely some great food!
- Jessie Isbell