Meat proteins come in two primary forms in pet foods: meat or meal. The American Feed Control Officials manual describes both versions in detail as combinations of animal parts: where meat is based on clean flesh from mammals, fish and fowl; and meal is a dry rendered product with specific clarifications of parts, whether mammal, fowl or fish. (For details you’ll need to check out a copy of the Official Publication of AFFCO). Meals can be combinations of meat proteins or single source proteins, and if labeled as a single protein must be compliant with the desciption, i.e. turkey meal, chicken meal, etc. Single source meals are the preferred and most recommended for pet foods.
Discussions continue on which makes a better ingredient in dry foods: meat or a meal. Benefits of using meat(s) offer less processed ingredients, but understand the water in the fresh meat contributes to the weight. With ingredients listed in descending order by weight, this can make the difference as leading position on the label. A meal is considered dry, offering more meat protein with less volume. Meals do offer a more budget friendly ingredient but understand rendering to make the meal increases processing. However, meals can also make pet foods more budget friendly.
The decision comes down to what is right for your pet, your household and your budget. Remember too, it doesn’t have to be one or all. The choice of a food should be based on what is best for your pet. But make sure to offer a variety for better long term nutritional balance and consider adding homemade. Use commercial foods when your schedule is tight and experiment making your own at your convenience. Start with a simple recipe and introduce SLOWLY. Pets that have been on the same food need to adjust to the introduction just as you and I test the waters with new foods when traveling. Take your time and make meals fun. From my experience our pets appreciate the special care.
As for my slip—the food I was discussing is Regal’s new grain free with chicken meal, duck meal, and whitefish meal. Not meat meal. Plus, I even got the price wrong. Try $8.99 for 4 pounds. A terrific price for a quality grain free dog food!