Kibble tastes delicious the same way McDonald's tastes delicious. This is because the pet food industry and the fast food industry spend tons of time and money to research and make "palatants," which are ingredients that make us and our pets want to eat the products they sell. These ingredients are artificial, unhealthy and designed to be highly addictive and appeal to one or more of a pet's sensory capacities – olfactory, chemaesthetic, taste, and texture.
Think of it like this: when you walk into a McDonald's or a Dunkin' Donuts or any fast food franchise, they all smell the exact same way. You are smelling those palatants, which are designed to hijack our senses, make us want to buy and eat their products.
Kibble has been designed the same exact way.
Darren Logan, the head of research at the Waltham Petcare Science Institute, owned by the main evil powerhouse of the pet world, Mars Inc., states "Big [pet food] companies have huge departments that make palatants...Just like we make them for humans, we make them for pets as well."
According to this recent study in the National Library of Medicine, "since dry pet foods (also known as kibbles), while being the most popular, are the least palatable, palatants as a flavor enhancer are generally added to dry pet foods to increase their acceptability to pets." Because kibble is so far from what dogs are naturally designed to eat, chemicals needed to be added to the food to get them to eat it.
The other evil powerhouse in the big pet food industry, Nestle, states "animals eat faeces and like strong animal odours and pet food manufacturers have a really difficult time, because they have to make it disgusting enough so that the animal will eat it, but not so disgusting that the owners won’t buy it" (Read more here).
95% of the brands you see on the shelves are owned by 6 companies only and make up the Big Pet Food Industry:
1. Mars Petcare, part of the Mars Candy company, leads the way. Mars owns 41 brands which include: Evo, Cesar, Eukanuba, IAMS, Nutro, Pedigree and Royal Canin. They recently bought out Orijen and Acana. Mars also owns the largest chain of veterinary clinics and hospitals.
2. Nestlé Purina is a close second. They own 30 brands which include: Merrick, Alpo, Beneful, Beyond, Castor & Pollux, Chef Michael’s (who is a fictional person), Fancy Feast, Friskies, Purina and Zukes.
3. J.M Smuckers, the jam company, is relatively new to pet food having recently acquired several companies. They own 14 brands which include: 9 Lives, Gravy Train, Kibble ‘n Bits, Meow Mix, Milk-Bone, Milo’s Kitchen, and Rachael Ray Nutrish. They sold off Natural Balance in 2020 to a capital management company.
4. Hill’s Science Diet is owned by Colgate-Palmolive. They have four brands: Science Diet, Prescription Diet, Ideal Balance, and Healthy Advantage.
5. Diamond Pet Foods is high on the list because they are a co-packer and manufacture food for a wide variety of other companies. Brands owned by Diamond include Diamond Naturals, Nutra-Gold, and Taste of the Wild.
6. Blue Buffalo is owned by General Mills. There are many different formulas and specialty diets that all fall under the Blue Buffalo umbrella.
(Read More Here)
These companies openly admit that they are engineering kibble to make it irresistibly delicious, to sell products and profit. In no way do these companies care about you or the health of your pet. The veterinary industry is a multi-billion dollar business that is simply in the business of keeping our animals alive, not curing them, keeping them health or helping them to thrive.
Conversely, some companies will claim that these palatants are actually healthy and "can provide additional health benefits to cats and dogs" (Source: AFB International). This could be true, if the ingredients used are actually clean.
I think it is more likely that most palatants are highly processed, artificial ingredients used to make kibble taste good AND keep the cost of their products as low as possible to make as much profit as possible. I also believe that kibble ingredients, palatants and all, combined with kibble manufacturing methods heavily contribute to the growing obesity and health epidemic facing our dogs today.
It is no coincidence that chronic disease and sickness is increasing in our pets. Diabetes, obesity, autoimmune diseases are all widely accepted as common issues, which in reality they are not. Since dogs have evolved from wolves about 14,000 years ago and have been since domesticated, their digestive system remains the same. They survived by eating prey, fresh fruit and vegetables. And they thrive by doing the same now. There is absolutely a correlation between what we feed our pets, their overall healthy and longevity.