Lizzi & Rocco's Natural Pet Market

Mars (of the candy fame) acquires Champion Pet Food

It was announced this week that what was once considered quite possibly the best kibble around – Champion Pet Food (makers of Orijen and Acana) – has now been acquired by Mars Petcare. That’s the same Mars that makes chocolate, chewing gum, and a ton of (in our not-so-humble opinions) equivalently ‘junk-food’ quality pet foods.

At Lizzi and Rocco’s we’ve always struggled when a giant conglomerate acquires a smaller manufacturer because inevitably, the quality will shrivel when profits are put over the health and wellness of our pets. It’s what the big guys do. We have seen it over and over again in the pet food industry – a large corporation buys up an successful independent brand, cuts corners in an effort to gobble up profits and market share in the growing natural pet food category, and obliterates the brand to a shell of what it once was. History will undoubtedly repeat itself with Champion’s shift to Mars ownership.

Truth be told, we have seen this coming for years. We cut Orijen and Acana from our store shelves years ago when quality control nosedived after they took on money from an investment firm, but now that Mars is involved, it will be full steam ahead. Formulas will change and the quality of ingredients will decrease (but we assure you, the price won’t drop accordingly).

So what does this mean for you? Why should you care? If you don’t feed a Champion Pet Food product, this really doesn’t mean anything to you. But we think it’s important you know who makes your pet’s food. And, our opinion is that brands that are not owned by massive conglomerates put significantly more care and consideration into their pet food lines – after all, if Champion Pet Food tanks, Mars is going to be a-okay because they have a lot of other revenue streams.

But, if pet food is the only thing an entire company has going for them, the stakes are much higher for them. In our experience, the smaller guys are much more dedicated to quality, ethical sourcing, the integrity of ingredients, and customer experience because it is what differentiates them from the competition. It’s not dissimilar to shopping small if you think about it – we may not have as much money in our bank accounts as the chain stores, but the dedication and consideration we take in our day-to-day business operations look a whole lot different because if we fail, we have our whole livelihood at stake. And the same goes for smaller, independent manufacturers of pet food.

Ultimately it boils down to trust. Do you know and trust who makes your pet’s food? Do they truly have your pet’s best interest at stake? If we don’t trust in a manufacturer any longer, we remove them from our shelves. Because at the end of the day, we’re not committed to any singular manufacturer – our commitment lies exclusively with the health of your (and our own) pets. And we believe the more you know about what goes into your pet’s bowl and where it comes from, the better!

Let’s take a brief look at what corporations own what pet foods.

  1. Mars Petcare: In addition to their most recent acquisition of Champion Pet Foods, Mars also owns the likes of:
    • Cesar
    • IAMS
    • Eukanuba
    • Royal Canin
    • Pedigree
    • Nutro
    • Greenies
    • Sheba
    • Whiskas
    • Temptations
    • Oh…and the largest chain of vet clinics in the country (no conflict of interest there!)
  2. Nestle Purina (another candy giant)
    • Alpo
    • Beneful
    • Merrick
    • Purina
    • Castor & Pollux
    • Fancy Feast
    • Friskies
    • Whole Earth Farms
    • Zuke’s
  3. Colgate Palmolive
    • They make toothpaste, dish soap, aaaand….Hills Science Diet?
  4. J.M. Smuckers (yes, the jam folks)
    • Kibbles ‘n Bits
    • Rachael Ray Nutrish
    • Meow Mix
    • Milk Bone
    • Milo’s Kitchen
  5. General Mills
    • Blue Buffalo

Whether it’s for you or your pet, it’s important to know where your food is coming from, and who is controlling the quality and sourcing of it. There are so many pet food choices available, but we make sure to vet every single brand that we carry on the shelves of Lizzi and Rocco’s thoroughly, and continuously monitor these companies for changes in quality or transparency. Instead of these massive companies with their focus on dozens of different industries, consider a pet food brand that stays true to their core mission, which is providing your pets healthy, high-quality food. And consider an independent pet store who stays on top of the products they carry while you’re at it!

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