Ingredient Labels, Grains, and Some Data
Last week we wrote about ingredient splitting and used our data to show that about 17% of all foods and treats have multiple forms of the “fillers” rice, corn, or wheat. We then asked a related question—what percentage of all foods and treats contain at least one form of any of these filler ingredients. Today we will answer this question and share another set of interesting statistics from our dog food database.
Before we get to the numbers, we first wanted to clarify our use of the word “filler” in the context of this analysis. Unlike some, we are not dead set against the use of rice, corn, or wheat, in moderation, as part of a dog’s diet and we did not intend to imply that a food containing these ingredients is necessarily bad. Nor are we suggesting that these three ingredients are the only grain sources in dog foods and that if your food doesn’t contain any of the three that it is necessarily grain free or superior to other food products. With that said, let’s take a look at the data.
Rice, corn, wheat, oh my!
The picture below answers our question. Roughly 53% of the 2,200 dog foods and treats in our database contain at least one of these ingredients. If we look at only foods and exclude treats, this number drops slightly to 50%.
You can also see from the graph that rice is by far the most common of the three, present in 30% of all foods and treats and 30% of foods excluding treats. For those interested, “n” refers to the number of foods and treats, or in the second case, foods and not treats, in our data set.
Overall, the numbers are less than our readers estimated. We had one reader who guessed 98%! (Yes, you Sue). It is also interesting to see that rice is by far the most commonly used of the three, more than twice as prevalent as corn and more than four times as prevalent as wheat. In the future, we will expand our list of grain fillers and re-run the numbers.
One question leads to another
While running these stats, we became more curious about other interesting facts we could uncover by leveraging our data. The first that came to mind was to calculate the average dog food guaranteed analysis, adjusted to a dry matter basis of course, so that we can provide you with the average protein, fat, and carbohydrate values for the dog food industry. We will share these numbers, which can be helpful in determining how your food stacks up, next week.
Any guesses here? Do you think that an average dog food contains more protein than carbs? Vice versa? What about fat? Stay tuned for the answers.