Royal Canin Pet Food: Marketing vs. Food Ingredients

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Last week, I introduced the idea of using a word cloud analysis to check if a given pet food Brand’s marketing messages are consistent with the actual ingredients in their product portfolio. In today’s post, I will share the results of the first analysis, which was done on the Royal Canin Brand.


About Royal Canin

Royal Canin is an international pet food Brand that originated in France. Royal Canin foods are available both at retail locations as well as veterinary offices (for its veterinary line of prescription foods).


Royal Canin is a moderate to expensive line of pet food. I pulled price data for their dry dog foods from and found that their average price is about $3.50 per lb., with a low of $1.71 (for a large, 35 lb. bag) and as high of $7.20 per lb. for some of their smaller, 2.5 lb. bags.


According to their website, Royal Canin strives


“….. to constantly bring, through Health Nutrition and shared knowledge, the most precise nutritional solution for cats’ and dogs’ health nutrition needs, by building on constantly deepened scientific knowledge and Royal Canin’s roots in the feline and canine professional networks.”


Royal Canin Marketing Word Cloud

Using the above mission statement as well as their page on “science based nutrition”, I created a word cloud to depict the key words in their marketing verbiage.


royal canin marketing message


Some of the more prominent terms that appear on their site include, in no particular order:

  • Nutrition
  • Kibble
  • Nutrients
  • Protein
  • Science
  • Kibble
  • Health
  • Byproducts
  • Corn
  • Chicken


From these terms, one might assume that Royal Canin’s food is nutritious, high in protein, healthy, and backed by science. It is not possible to know if the frequent use of the terms byproducts and corn are in a positive or negative context, but it is clear that Royal Canin does consider these important terms.


Now we can look at the word cloud from the Rpyal Canin recipes. I used the first fifteen ingredients from the ingredient panel of 63 of the foods in their portfolio.


royal canin food ingredients


Unlike in the case of the marketing word cloud, where context is not apparent, the ingredient word cloud needs no context. It simply reflects the most prominent and pervasive ingredients in the Brand’s foods.


The Royal Canin world cloud is very disappointing. Looking at the cloud, I don’t see much that I would want to feed my dog. In my opinion, these ingredients are not species appropriate nor do they align with their stated mission of bringing the “most precise nutritional solution for cats’ and dogs’ health nutrition needs”. How could foods full of low quality grains, byproducts, and flavorings possibly deliver precise (and appropriate) nutrition to a dog? Yet, consumers are paying up to $7.20 per lb. for the privilege of feeding their pets these ingredients. One would think that for $7.20 per lb., or even for the average price of $3.50 per lb., that the consumer would get some more real, named meat, and perhaps a few fruits or veggies mixed in.


Royal Canin Perception vs. Reality

In the case of Royal Canin, the perception (and product pricing) of this Brand is not in alignment with the quality of the products that are being fed to the pets.


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  1. my breeder suggested royal canin, butt after we talked with our vet, we changed my food step by step. Currently we import my food from germany :o) butt nevertheless RC is one of the biggest sponsors and it’s probably the most popular food in my area… :o(
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog I’M BACKMy Profile

  2. Interesting when we break something down and see it for what it really is.
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Come With Us As We Learn About Raw Diets For Dogs – #InstinctRawMy Profile

  3. I’ve never fed my dogs Royal Canin, but I’m very surprised to learn the ingredients it contains. It is ridiculously expensive for that quality.
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…It’s Pumpkin Season at Look Who’s Happy™My Profile

  4. What an interesting way to analyze a product’s marketing with their content. Very cool.

    The strange thing I remember about Royal Canin was that they matched their particular formulas to specific dog breeds. I can understand altering a recipe based on a dog’s activity level or age or even size. But breed? There doesn’t seem to be any scientific basis for that whatsoever.
    Pamela recently posted…Train Your Dogs What They’ll Never Need To KnowMy Profile

  5. We have never been fans of that brand. A friend of ours in Germany was a food rep for them and didn’t like the company much either. Nice way to break it down in simple terms/clouds.
    Emma recently posted…Taste Bud Delight In A Backcountry DeliveryMy Profile

  6. Cocoa has always had a sensitive tummy so we have to be really careful what we feed her. We always read labels and sometimes the most expensive isn’t necessarily the best.
    Julie recently posted…Look what I foundMy Profile

  7. This is just fabulous! Thanks so much. I’m loving these posts and looking forward to the rest of the comparisons. Very well done! 😉
    Monika recently posted…Tuesday TriviaMy Profile

  8. Interesting, we do offer royal canin prescription diets to our patients in case they can’t eat or won’t eat any of the other prescription diets.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Gambler Can’t Be Left Out Of Monday MischiefMy Profile

  9. I’m not too familiar with that brand, but I have seen so much of their marketing lately. Genius idea of putting the ingredients in a word cloud like that; it really does put it into perspective. I don’t see much I’d like to feed my dog either from that list.
    Jen Gabbard recently posted…17 Super Cute Dogs Smiling After Being AdoptedMy Profile

  10. What a creative way to analyze the marketing and ingredients of their food! It really goes to show that you have to do your homework instead of assuming a high-priced food is a better quality food.
    Elaine recently posted…10 Ways to Find a Good Vet for Your DogMy Profile

  11. Wow, that is really surprising and disappointing that an expensive food like that would be such poor quality. I guess you don’t always get what you pay for, not when it comes to dog food anyway. Good to know!
    Jan K recently posted…#52Snapshots of Life – “Shadow”My Profile

  12. I always thought Royal Canin was overpriced, regardless of quality. I couldn’t afford it, period; but now knowing the garbage they tout as high-quality, I wouldn’t buy it even if I could afford it.
    Callie, Shadow, and Ducky\’s Mom recently posted…A Difficult MonthMy Profile

  13. I can’t stand seeing this poor-quality dog food being advertised as healthy in our vet’s office. Every time I’ve sat in the waiting area for our appointments and seen human patients walk in to purchase a bag, I’ve had to seriously restrain myself not to speak up about the poor ingredients it contains. It’s amazing how many people blindly trust what their vet sells; at the same time it is just amazing to realize what some vets will agree to advertise for $$$.
    Barbara Rivers recently posted…Mouth-Watering AND Healthy Dog Food Made Possible With #StellaandChewys Super Beef Meal MixersMy Profile

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