We have 5 promises that we give to you and your pets with every meal we make:
1. We only use top restaurant quality ingredients, sourced exactly as a premium restaurant would source them. They are EXACTLY the same ingredients people eat in a premium restaurant or at home, and what humans think of when they read ingredient names on our labels. When we say chicken breast meat, we mean 100% chicken breast meat like you would eat at home. You can see our videos online showing how we make our food and the real ingredients used, and can see hand-diced chicken breast in our chicken recipes. We challenge you to look at the marketing photos and description of your current dog or cat food, then look at the ingredients label. They won’t match. You will see a beautiful chicken breast on the label, but a waste product in the ingredients list like “chicken, chicken by-products, chicken meal, chicken and bone meal, chicken by-product meal, deboned chicken, fresh chicken meat, etc). The US regulating body explains this here. Commercial pet food online videos also show fresh chicken breast at the beginning, may show a clip of their chicken supplier’s plant, but never show that they are buying the waste that used to go into the garbage. Breast meat is the most expensive, so how can your pet food cost so little if it had real chicken meat in it, and why would a company take beautiful chicken meat and turn it into something where chicken is unrecognizable like kibble or canned food? Check out our videos and Facebook page to see and learn more on this. It’s sad that we even have to use the term “human-grade”, but that has become the unfortunate reality for pet “food”.
2. Our meals are nutritionally balanced for the needs of cats and dogs, but we focus on deriving the most nutrition out of real food ingredients, and then adding the least amount of vitamin and mineral supplements possible to reach certain levels not possible from a single serving of ingredients alone. Frankly, our pet nutrition and food science teams are doing extensive research in this area to determine the best way for dogs and cats to get balanced nutrition. For people, we don’t eat meals that are nutritionally balanced, but through variety (over meals) we try to get our nutritional requirements. The pet food industry created this “balanced nutrition” approach for two reasons: 1. to bring some level of nutrition to the waste products they use in pet food and 2. because they created this strange situation where pet owners feed the same food at every meal to their dogs and cats. At Tom&Sawyer, our meals are nutritionally balanced on their own, but our customers get even bigger benefit feeding different recipes at different meals. Sawyer may eat Good Morning Sunshine at breakfast and Italian Beef Pasta at dinner, so he is excited with the variety and gets different nutrient profiles from each meal recipe.
3. We voluntarily follow stringent public health guidelines for human food production, to combat the lack of regulation in the pet food industry, so you actually know what is in your pet’s food and that it has been safely made where you can eat it! How we make our Pet Meals and Treats is fully transparent – we have an open-concept kitchen in our retail store so you can visit and see every step of our process, at all times, and ask questions of our team. We invite you to Visit Us! This is a significant area where Tom&Sawyer and the making of Pet Meals is completely different than anything else in pet food, and where we are the only ones who can claim: Human Food. For Dogs and Cats. Not only do we trace the origin of all of our ingredients, but for human food they need to be of high quality and be inspected by national food agencies. Many pet food companies note that their ingredients come from “federally inspected facilities”, but the waste product they purchase is NOT federally inspected. It would be like a garbage collector saying they handle sensitive materials from the Pentagon, when in fact they remove the bagged shredded garbage that no longer has any value. This is also the main reason why we can’t sell our product at traditional pet stores – their logistics handling and refrigeration practices are not compliant with public health guidelines for human food. We hope that as Pet Meals continue to grow as a market segment, these traditional stores invest in complying with higher standards and we can use them to further bring our Pet Meals to customers outside of our own Tom&Sawyer retail store network.
4. Our Pet Meals are made daily by culinary school trained Chefs, not factory workers. All of our chefs have degrees from culinary schools and experience at top restaurants and institutions making higher volumes of exceptional food. They are also all passionate pet owners who believe in quality of ingredients, following public health guidelines, and preparing and cooking ingredients to maximize their bioavailability while maintaining their optimal characteristics. They contribute their expertise along with our pet nutritionists and food scientists to create new pet meal recipes. Chefs complete over 100 hours in nutrition education while in Chef school, while Veterinarians by comparison receive under 10 hours of nutrition education in a 4 year degree. Working with top restaurant quality ingredients and equipment (like our Rational ovens), these chefs continue to push their culinary skills while also enjoying regular business hours (over late night restaurant hours), higher pay and full benefits.
5. All of our Pet Meals and treats are gently cooked to maximize nutritional value while minimizing the chance of food-borne illness. At Tom&Sawyer, our food scientists, veterinarian advisory team and pet nutritionists do not believe in feeding raw meat to dogs and cats. This follows the position of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association and the Public Health Agency of Canada. Their report can be read here. There are a lot of passionate raw food supporters out there, and if you can find a high quality source that you would be happy feeding to the rest of your family (humans), and cooked of course, then we are not here to change your minds. Tom&Sawyer’s main customer base are those who have made their beloved cats and dogs a true member of their family, letting them sleep in their beds, snuggling on the couch or letting them lick them and their children from time to time. While it is true that dogs have stomach acids that better enable them to combat certain food-borne illnesses like Salmonella, those spores can live in their whiskers and fur for the better part of a day after eating, being passed along to any human who touches them or something they have licked. So many people, especially children and the elderly, get sick because of food poisoning from touching their pets on a raw food diet, in their own homes, and usually think it was food poisoning from something they themselves ate. There is no clear research that our team has found to demonstrate clear health benefits to over-ride this public health risk, so we gently cook our meats and certain fruits and vegetables using steam, convection, sous-vide or a combination to maximize nutrition while following public health guidelines for minimizing the risk of food contamination and food-borne illness transmission.