As many of you will have noticed we have recently updated our wet foods recipes, which means that the texture, consistency and smell have changed. I appreciate that there have been some negative comments about this change and I wanted to let you know a bit more detail about what has happened with the changes, why, and what we are doing about it.
We had started work with a new manufacturer on improving the wet food range. There was nothing wrong with the range, but we are always looking to improve all of our products and this change was primarily looking at food miles, locally sourcing ingredients, and mitigating the effects of Brexit.
Then in May our existing manufacturing facility suffered a horrendous fire.
The fire meant that our existing manufacturer would not be able to produce our food for nearly a year. At this point, we had to speed up the process of moving to the new supplier that we had started working with.
The team was “all hands on deck” and did an incredible job. I am very proud that the team managed to get the new production up and running in just 11 weeks, to ensure that our customers didn’t go without food for their dogs.
As mentioned the first run of the product itself did not turn out to match the previous product. This is not unexpected, it wasn’t meant to be a perfect copy, it was supposed to be an improvement and a product that we had to develop at a far quicker pace than usual. Even though there is a difference in texture and smell we were happy to release the product, as it (as all Pooch & Mutt products) is made with the highest quality ingredients.
To explain the changes.
We had had some negative comments about the amount of jelly in the previous product. Even though many dogs liked it (including mine!) it was something that we were looking at. Removing the jelly has had some consequences.
Smell: A lot of smell comes from evaporation. Materials in a liquid state evaporate more quickly than those in a more solid state, like jelly. What this means is that because there is liquid around the product instead of jelly the smell is stronger. We are now working with the manufacturer to bring some of the jelly back to the product.
Moisture: To be consistent we tried to keep the moisture levels the same in the new product as in the old product. However, in the old product, some of the moisture was trapped in the jelly and not in the meat and vegetables. Reducing the jelly has meant that there is more moisture in the meat and vegetables, which has made that part of the product less firm. We also added fibre to the foods, which is generally a good thing, however the fibre is absorbing the moisture and making the texture of the food softer. We have done trials without the fibre and the product is firmer. We will be developing this further on the next batch.
Vegetables: We are equally proud of the great quality fresh vegetables that go into the foods and the slow-cooking process that we use to prepare them. In the new recipes we are using the same amounts of high-quality vegetables that we used in the old recipes, the difference is that with the new recipes the vegetables come from a farm just down the road from the manufacturing facility. However, as we all know from cooking at home, vegetables like carrots can break down quite quickly when cooked in too much moisture for too long. That is exactly what has happened here. The vegetables are still in there, but the higher moisture content surrounding them has meant that they have broken down more, so they are not as visible. Removing the fibre and adding the jelly could fix this, we will know when we get the results of our next trial.
When swapping a dog’s food it is always best to do it gradually over about a week. In hindsight, we didn’t make it clear enough in our communications that this should apply to the recipe change too. We should have got ahead of this and we didn’t. It is something that we need to look at for any future recipe changes. We did try to make it clear on our website, social media and on the packaging that this is a new recipe, but we could have done more to explain what that means for you and your dog. This is our fault, it is something I can only apologise for.
The team is working tirelessly to develop the food following the customer feedback we have received.
I can assure you that, despite what many people seem to think, we have not reduced the quality of the food, or made it any cheaper. We have, in fact, increased the quality of the ingredients used and reduced food miles. However, we know that you want the product to be closer to how it was previously and this is being worked on.
We are a small company with just thirteen employees. We are doing our best to get the product closer to the one that our customers love and we are working as quickly as we can. We will have results soon. We hope that you stay with us.
Guy Blaskey, Founder, Pooch & Mutt.