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Q & A with Empawer Pet Food CEO Alex Trauteaud

Empawer is a nempawer dog foodew pet food brand with a very interesting approach to pet food, namely, using human grade ingredients to create custom made, fresh pet foods that are delivered to your door. Empawer Founder and CEO Alex Trauteaud (pronounced “True toe”) joined me for a question and answer session.

 

Can you tell us a little about your pet food philosophy and why you decided to launch the Company?

Alex: Our food philosophy is based on our belief that simple whole foods are naturally packed with what a dogs’ body needs to be healthy and obtain proper nutrition. Over-processing pet food can strip out the nutrients that are naturally found in food. This is why many pet foods require added vitamins and minerals.

We aim to keep our recipes and our ingredients simple and easy to understand and allow our customers to create their own blends on the Empawer website.

 

What inspired you to launch the Company?

Alex: We started making dog food and doing the research on the common ingredients in most commercially available pet food and why they are added. In many cases, we were astounded and disappointed about what we learned. In some ways, the pet food industry has convinced people that their scientists, in their laboratories, are the ones who should determine what to feed your pet.

We didn’t think this was right so we decided to launch Empawer foods.

 

How long have you been in the market?

Alex: We officially launched in Q4 2013 although we have been working on this since the beginning of 2013.

 

Which type of food do you sell more of? The “make-a-mix”, where the pet owner chooses the ingredients, or the “Popular Blends” recipes that are pre-determined recipes?

Alex: Our customers usually start by choosing our popular blends and then evolve to choosing their own mixes of protein and vegetables to include in the recipes. Like SlimDoggy, we are proponents of a rotational feeding strategy and are working on ways to make this even easier for our customers to adhere to.

Editor’s note: a rotational feeding strategy favors changing the primary proteins and other food components on a consistent basis to ensure balanced nutrition and to minimize the onset of food allergies.

 

Most commercially available pet foods are either “formulated to meet” AAFCO nutritional standards or “feed tested” to confirm that the nutritional standards of a complete and balanced diet are met. Not that AAFCO standards say anything about quality, but have you formulated or tested to the AAFCO standard? If not, what do you say if someone asks you about this?

Alex: No, we have not yet spent the time and money to meet the AAFCO standard although we will pursue this as we grow our business. However, we stand by our human grade, whole food products and challenge any pet owner to compare our ingredients to other foods.

 

From where do you source your ingredients?

Alex: We buy our ingredients from restaurant food supply companies or their distributors.

 

You currently sell wet food. Is a dry product something that you are planning?

Alex: Dry food, although more convenient and usually less expensive for pet owners than wet food, is more processed. We are exploring ways to create a dry food line that remains true to our overall whole food approach.

 

Does the Empawer food require refrigeration? How long will it last?

Alex: Our foods require refrigeration only after opening the jar. Opened jars will last 2-3 days in the refrigerator. Due to our jarring process, our unopened foods are shelf stable for about a year, even though we do not add any preservatives or thickeners.

 

Relative to other premium wet food, how does the price of Empawer food compare?

Alex: Our food is generally cheaper on an ounce by ounce basis. Our jars are 16 ounces so you get more food per jar than a typical can, which is usually around 13 ounces. While our food can cost $.20 – $.25 per ounce, many premium canned foods can cost as much as $.35-$.45 per ounce.

 

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Alex: Just a few things. First of all, we have noticed that people with finicky or picky eating dogs seem to love our food. I take that as an indication that our food quality and taste is top notch. We also notice that there is a subset of our customers who have dogs that are overweight and have chosen our food as part of a healthy weight loss strategy. I think this speaks to the fact that our fresh whole food ingredients can satiate a dieting dog even when their calories are being restricted.

Secondly, we are providing Slimdoggy readers with free shipping for any orders through July. Just use code: slimdoggy when checking out at our website. We hope that some of your readers will give us a try!

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15 Comments

  1. Great interview, never heard of them so thanks for sharing and the discount on a order.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Monday Mischief~Chapstick Bandit/Counter SurferMy Profile

  2. I like the idea of fresh dog food and I’m glad that they have products for picky eaters too! Yay for a Empawer!
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog #FUEL THE CUREMy Profile

  3. Wow! How cool is that?!
    Never heard of this before so thank you for sharing!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Huskies LOVE Bowzer Box!My Profile

  4. I will have to check them out. Perhaps, armed with all the info Steve sent me yesterday, I might find something that will work for Ducky.
    Sue recently posted…Now That’s Much Better!My Profile

  5. Never heard of this company before – cool concept! Seems like a really good option for those not interested in raw but still want really good quality.
    Of course, we’d be going through at least 1/2 case per day in our house, so I’m not sure it would be an economical consideration for us 🙂 (Or if they ship to Canada… website doesn’t say.)
    Jen K recently posted…Monday Mischief 25: When the folks are away…My Profile

  6. Great interview and it sounds like a tasty food. Where does it rank on the Slim Doggy scale? (My go-to resource for food)
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…Sunflower FunMy Profile

  7. What a great idea.
    Bailey recently posted…Veggie Update: The FenceMy Profile

  8. A new Food Brand! interesting on how they decided to manufacture wet food 1st. Happy Tasty Tuesday. Golden Woofs
    Golden Woofs: Sugar recently posted…Theo’s Pet Weight Loss Success Story #HillsPetMy Profile

  9. They sound like a great company! I love that there are options like this. I guess the cost would be an issue, but it’s certainly a great option for those who can afford it. I trust that this is a high-quality food since it’s featured here on SlimDoggy.
    Lindsay recently posted…How to help a dog that’s scared of fireworksMy Profile

  10. Thanks for doing this interview, Never heard of the them before. You did an excellent job.
    Cathy recently posted…THE MONSTER IN THE BASEMENT | MONDAY MISCHIEFMy Profile

  11. Home delivery sounds convenient to feed this type of diet.
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Thursday Barks And Bytes–Birthday AftermathMy Profile

  12. Very interesting concept, but no way would I recommend a food to our clients that is not formulated by a board certified veterinary nutritionist nor is AAFCO regulated. While AAFCO may not say anything about the quality of the ingredients, it does have a lot to say about the nutrients that are in a food. It’s in charge of regulating the minimums and maximum nutrients in foods to make sure our pets don’t get too much or too little of the nutrients in their diet.

    Unfortunately, we could eat a diet made of the most healthy organic apples in the world, but if we didn’t balance that diet with proteins and fats, we’d be very sick puppies! If your diet is overloaded or underloaded with calcium, that’s a really big problem for your pet!

    I’d love to see this company work with a group like BalanceIt who uses board certified veteirnary nutritionists to formulate their diets.

    Having the vitamins, minerals, as well as appropriate amounts of essential amino acids is VITAL to making sure pets stay healthy on pet foods. I have yet to see a peer reviewed study that confirms that diet rotation provides adequate amounts of these to dogs or cats. If I’m wrong, I’m happy to be corrected.

    Many side effects of nutritional deficiencies do not show up until years later, often when they are too late to fix. This is especially a problem for young and growing animals. It’s just not worth the risk of bone loss or serious heart disease.

    Again, love the idea, but definitely going to hold for now until we get some better information out there.
    Vet Changes World recently posted…Making Difficult Medical Decisions for Your Pet – Guest Post for TripawdsMy Profile

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