What is a meat, poultry, or fish “meal”?
“Meat meal” is a primary ingredient in most dry cat food and dog food, and it is made from taking slaughterhouse and fish processing factory remnants that are not edible for humans, and cooking them, processing them under high heat, and dehydrating them into a dry powdery substance that goes into kibble.
Simply put, such meals are the rendered, high-heat processed, and dehydrated combination of non-human edible remnants from slaughterhouses and fish processing factories. Pet food companies often use these powdered "meals" for a simple reason...they are much less expensive than WHOLE meat, poultry, or fish. Learn why WHOLE protein is important for superior digestibility.
The first ingredient isn't the whole story
Many pet foods claim their first ingredient is meat, but look closely and most of their labels contain “chicken meal,” “fish meal,” or some other form of “meat meal” as a primary ingredient.
The ingredients list on pet food packaging is organized similarly to that of human food—with the ingredients listed by weight, starting with the highest. The catch is that weight is measured when the ingredient is added, before it is cooked. Fresh meat, poultry, or fish, in its whole form, contains a lot of water, while a rendered “meat meal” has been highly processed to remove most of its moisture. So while a “meat meal” often appears as the second or third ingredient by weight on most pet food bags, in actuality it represents a significant portion of the total “meat” in the recipe.
If what you want for your companion animal is the nutrition of WHOLE meat, poultry, or fish, it’s important to make sure that a “meat meal” is not one of the primary ingredients.
You Get What You Pay For
Pet food companies use powdered “meal” for a simple reason, it costs pennies per pound of protein, while the real WHOLE chicken that Halo uses costs $4-5 per pound of usable protein. We insist on real WHOLE meat, poultry, and fish because they are more digestible for your cat or dog, meaning your pet can use more of the nutrients in the food.