Pet owners
are looking to natural pet food brands for comfort
and peace of mind when feeding their pets. Honest Kitchen makes food
products and treats for cats and dogs and is
based out of San Diego, California. The company was founded in 2002 and
remained a husband and wife team for a few years before moving into the historic
Wonder Bread building in 2006. Honest Kitchen was the first human-grade dog
food company in existence when it was founded.

Honest Kitchen has around 50 employees and has over 5,000 distributors
throughout North America. The founder, Lucy Postins, originally had no plans to create a large business and thought
Honest Kitchen would sell locally as a direct-to-consumer business. Customers
grew in large numbers by word-of-mouth, helping to create what Honest Kitchen is today.

Customer Observations

Kitchen conducted their own customer
survey to see what difference was made in
their pet’s health after eating the brand’s foods. The survey took information from 6,200 customers and overall shows that
the majority of customers are pleased with the results.

  • 80% of those
    surveyed reported better digestion
  • 79% reported their
    pet had more energy
  • 78% reported
    healthier skin and coat
  • 64% of pets had an increase in
  • 60% of pets had an improvement with

Kitchen holds an annual benchmark survey to receive proper feedback from their
customers. This is used to make any
needed changes to their formulas.


Kitchen uses 100% human-grade ingredients. They make meals, treats, toppers,
and supplements/broth. The company is dedicated
to the highest quality of ingredients. There are:

  • No GMO ingredients
  • No preservatives or additives
  • No by-products or fillers
  • No corn, wheat, and soy are used
  • No 4D meat (food that has been
    sourced from dead, dying, diseased, or disabled animals)
  • No feathers
  • Does not use ingredients from China

Kitchen is transparent with where they get their ingredients from. They get the majority of their ingredients within the United States but
receive some from South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa as well. Ingredients that Honest Kitchen use in their
pet food includes fresh fruits and vegetables
and raw food including:

  • Free range chicken
  • Cage-free duck
  • Ranch raised beef
  • Cage-free turkey
  • Wild Salmon
  • Marine Stewardship Council certified
    cod and pollock
  • Apples
  • Chickpeas
  • Eggs
  • Garlic
  • Lentils
  • Kale
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Flaxseed
  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Honey
  • Green peas
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Quinoa
  • And more

must adhere to a strict safety guideline, just as Honest Kitchen does. Honest
Kitchen prides themselves in their selection of suppliers, who are sustainable
and follow fair-trade practices. Each year the company reevaluates its suppliers to check that they are still
meeting their high set of standards; this
includes adhering to Good Manufacturing Practices, and that food remains at human-grade status throughout every step
of the harvesting and handling processes.

Human-Grade vs. Feed-Grade

Kitchen compares its food to brands that
are feed-grade. The distinction is an important one to make for many pet owners who want to know what they are
feeding their animals. Feed-grade brands use ingredients of lesser quality that
have looser regulations. Feed-grade meets the very
basic standards for animal feed and also use meats that are 4D or from
restaurant waste.

ingredients are subjected to stricter
manufacturing and quality control standards as well as stricter food safety standards. Ingredients
are of higher
quality and contain no by-products or 4D meats. Human-grade means that humans
can eat the food, too. Honest Kitchen
believes that if a human cannot eat their
pet’s food, why should owners serve it? The staff members do taste the food they are producing.

The Cooking Process

There are a
few different ways that pet food brands will cook their ingredients. They can
freeze-dry, air dry, or dehydrate the ingredients
to remove moisture. Honest Kitchen uses
the dehydration process. Their kitchen dehydrates
at a low temperature to ensure that the phytonutrients and antioxidants in the
ingredients are not compromised.

According to
Honest Kitchen, 40 pounds of fresh ingredients will make a ten-pound box of their food due to the
concentration of the dehydration process.

Kitchen recently put out the world’s first human-grade dry, dog food to the
market. They had to make a new facility that would allow this idea to come to a reality. The new process is coined MadeHonest.

The whole
food, human-grade ingredients are gathered,
cold-pressed, then roasted and dehydrated to create their clusters. All ingredients are minimally processed and are finely grained for easy digestion.

Sizing and Pricing

Dog food has
a wider range than Honest Kitchen cat
food does. Their dog food meals are typically available in a 12-pack of single
cups, one-pound box, four-pound box, and ten-pound box. Prices range from $20
to $70 based on size and product. Treats range
in price between $9 and $12.

Their cat
food comes in either a two-pound or four-pound box. The smaller box costs $25, and the four-pound box costs $46. Unlike the
broad range in dog flavors, cats can have either chicken or turkey.

Is it Worth it?

Kitchen’s mission is always to stay true
to having 100% human-grade ingredients. The company wants to produce safer and
healthier food than feed-grade brands. The company has been in production for
17 years and is still staying true to their promise.


  • Uses 100% human-grade ingredients
  • Uses eco-friendly packaging
  • Published a recipe book called Made out of Love
  • Free shipping on orders over $49
  • The Honest Kitchen website allows
    customers to fill out a brief questionnaire to match them with the ideal food
    for their pet
  • Honest Kitchen was featured on Food
    Network’s show, Will Work for Food in
    2009 and was featured on the cover of
    BusinessWeek in 2012
  • The founder, Lucy Postins, was
    recognized twice by Forbes for the ethical efforts in her business
  • Is continually innovating their
    products and producing new ones


  • Compared to the 77 products for dogs,
    there are only five for cats
  • Do not offer samples of their
    products before purchase

Kitchen has remained a relatively small business with like-minded people who
share the same goal- feeding their pets the healthiest and safest food
possible. The brand is highly reputable and lives up to their strict standards.
Honest Kitchen products can be found here.

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