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Chicken and lamb are 70% water and only 12% protein. Other pet food labels like to use chicken or lamb to represent real meat. When used without the addition of meat meals, these protein sources contain 70% moisture, much of which is lost during cooking. The label leads the consumer to believe that the product is mostly meat-based when it may not be. Chicken and lamb meats are heavier than grains prior to cooking, but not after. Although the inclusion of fresh meats may be beneficial, the moisture contained in the meats (70%) is reduced by two-thirds during the cooking process, possibly leaving the total formula as a grain based food after processing rather than meat-based, as you might expect.
Chicken meal and lamb meal are dry and 65% to 70% meat protein. All Nature's Select recipes list a meat meal as the first ingredient. Chicken meal is nearly dry (5% moisture content) and contains about 70% meat proteins. That is FIVE TIMES more meat protein than plain (Real) Chicken. During the cooking process, chicken meal and other meat meals do not shrink below the grain weight, producing a true meat-based formula for your pets.
Meat vs. Meal. Where should it really end up in the ingredient panel?
Ingredients are listed on pet food packaging in order of predominance by weight BEFORE they are cooked.
Meat meal is highly concentrated meat that is dehydrated, containing 5% moisture and 70% protein.
Meat is wet, containing 70% water and only 12% protein.
When meat is cooked in the extrusion process, the moisture is removed, resulting in a very SMALL percentage of meat in the total makeup of the finished pet food.
When meat meal is cooked in the extrusion process, it is not diminished, resulting in a much LARGER makeup of the finished pet food.
By using chicken (poultry) or meat only for your protein source, you could end up with a grain-based pet food.