How Our Recipes Are Created

Here at The Honest Kitchen, our pets and our pet food are our pride and joy.

A great deal of time, thought, and energy goes into developing our products to ensure that we deliver the absolute best to our pups and kitties.  Our team – Lucy, Laurette, and Chris C. – works hard to develop new products to deliver to our loyal customers.

First things first

When our team works to develop a new recipe, a number of factors are at play.  First, we create a target protein and fat percentage we want to hit.  Based off of existing recipes, we have a good idea of how best to hit those particular percentages.  Lucy is our resident nutritional expert, and we also work with several vet staff consultants to ensure that we are meeting our pets’ nutritional needs.

Ingredient selection

Next, we look at what other ingredients we might want to add.  We have a list of ingredients that we currently use, as well as a list of optional ingredients that we could use.  If we want to add in a new ingredient, we have to take into account several things.  Ordering a particular ingredient is more cost efficient if we order more of it.  Therefore, if we add a new ingredient, we need to be able to work it into a few products.  We also have to consider food safety regulations.  AAFCO has a set of overarching pet food regulations, and each state has their own specific guidelines on top of AAFCO’s.  Introducing an ingredient that is not AAFCO approved (or approved in all fifty states) is a big challenge.


Though it sounds like a complex process, developing a new recipe is relatively easy.  At this point, we know how to make our food well.  Creating a new recipe usually takes us around four months (though it will take longer to launch).  Introducing an entirely new product, on the other hand, takes much more time.  With a completely new product, we are starting from scratch.  We need to work out how to perfect it, which is much more challenging than creating a new recipe for an existing product.

As far as taste testing goes, most employees in the office have tested a THK recipe.  Laurette, our procurement director, tastes every individual ingredient we use.  But our office dogs are the real initial taste testers.  They are the first pets to try our new products, and they love their jobs!

Meet the Author: Lucy Postins

Lucy Postins is founder and Chief Integrity Officer at The Honest Kitchen. She is a companion animal nutritionist who started The Honest Kitchen in her kitchen in 2002. She is passionate about advanced nutrition and holistic health including complementary modalities such as herbalism and homeopathy. Considered an expert in her field, Lucy frequently writes articles for local and national media, conducts radio interviews and educational spots, and occasionally holds educational seminars for pet owners on the importance of good nutrition. She also recently authored Dog Obsessed, a guide to a happier, healthier life for the pup you love.

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