Why we make our own food.
Brett O'Farrell, KatKin Co-Founder
In the beginning we knew we wanted to reinvent cat food. One of the roads we explored was trying to find a pet food contract manufacturer we could partner with, who would make the fresh food we wanted.
Despite calling almost every pet food contract manufacturer and visiting a few of them in both the UK and Europe, to our dismay we found none could make our food. Many were entrenched in their traditional ways of thinking about pet food to even give KatKin much consideration, and if they did, we soon realised they were too invested in their existing capital infrastructure, which is unable to make fresh cooked food like KatKin, for them to be a real option without us seriously compromising our vision for the product.
One early visit still stands out very strongly for me – and it became a powerful motivator for why we started KatKin and would make KatKin fresh food ourselves. I was at one of the largest contract manufacturers of pet food in the UK, where they make both premium and value cat food for many “independent” brands. When meeting with one of the owners, I asked why they had a certain ingredient in one of their cat food recipes, and he told me they now knew cats don’t like that ingredient and had to change the recipe. I asked why they put it in in the first place, and he said they had originally taken their dog food recipes and overlaid these when creating their cat food range. It struck me this was a pet food company, like many others, that put dogs first. What came next was worse. We were discussing recipes for different life stages, and he suggested as an option for us to use the exact same food in two different bags, one we could “market” for kittens and one we could “market” for adult cats – he suggested he could change the nutritional labels slightly, “as they work to a range”, so customers wouldn’t be able to tell it was exactly the same food in both bags!
These experiences, and there are a few others, made it clear to us that to do cat food properly, the way we wanted, we would have to make it ourselves.
One question we’ve had is, if you cook the same way you’d cook for humans, why not use a human-food contract manufacturer to make KatKin. The interesting thing is that there are many regulatory barriers preventing the manufacture of pet food in the same areas as where human food is being made. Even if the pet food is being made with the same, human-grade ingredients, today this is still not possible because of existing regulations. The very simple reason for these regulations is to protect humans from possible cross contamination from the lessor-quality and types of ingredients typically used to make pet food - that we’d never want to or be able to use in our own food.
At KatKin, by having our own in-house, human-grade manufacturing facility we can control all aspects of production and our entire end-to-end supply chain to ensure we use only the freshest, human-grade ingredients we would eat ourselves. We can also ensure the quality of our cooking processes, never using extreme cooking methods or preservatives. Instead, we gently steam-cook in small batches like we would at home and our cooking process ensures all the vitamins, minerals and flavours your cats needs and loves are fully preserved.
We cook for cats, the same way we would cook for humans.