For those who want to eat healthy but don’t have time to make meals from scratch, fresh food meal kit delivery services are the answer. This popular trend is also expanding into the pet food world, with companies offering nutritious, fresh food meal kits for dogs and cats that are delivered right to your door.
Fresh food meal kit delivery services have become all the rage over the last few years. Ideal for those who want a healthy diet, but don’t have the time to plan and make meals from scratch, these companies deliver meal kits made from fresh ingredients right to your door. All you have to do is order the meals you want (and there’s usually lots of variety to choose from), assemble and cook the pre-portioned ingredients when they arrive – and voila, you have a delicious and nutritious meal. Not surprisingly, this trend has also expanded to include fresh food meal kits for dogs and cats. And with the COVID-19 pandemic keeping us at home more, having your animal’s meals delivered to your door along with your own is an extra boon.
What’s in a fresh food meal kit?
Typically, meal kits for people arrive as boxes of fresh, raw, pre-measured ingredients that you assemble and cook using the accompanying instructions. Ice packs are included in the boxes to keep perishable ingredients such as meat from spoiling. Meal kits for dogs and cats are similar, made with fresh, human-grade, ingredients (raw or lightly cooked) that arrive cold or frozen, to be served from the fridge or at room temperature.
“Our ingredients are lightly-processed, contain no carbohydrates or by-products, and are 99% chicken, turkey, or beef, with a few vegetables included,” says Matt Michaelson, founder and CEO of Smalls, which focuses on meal delivery kits for felines. “We work with nutritionists to develop healthy recipes for cats.”
How to get started
- After choosing a service (more on some of these companies below), you will need to fill out a profile online about your dog or cat. Questions you’ll be asked include his name, age, size, activity level, likes, allergies, and health issues.
- You’ll then receive recommendations for which of the company’s food might be best for your dog or cat, along with the amount to feed him per meal, based on your answers. There is no shaming for not feeding fresh at every meal, or for mixing fresh food with dry!
- Next, just place your order and wait for delivery. Dry ice and cold packs keep the food cold or frozen during transit, and on your doorstep if you’re not home when it arrives.
- Once you’ve received the order, open the box and store the food portions in your fridge or freezer.
A sampling of services
Fresh food meal kit delivery services for dogs and cats are springing up all over. Here are some examples:
A Pup Above (formerly Grocery Pup): Beef, turkey, and pork make up the menu. Cooked sous vide in BPA-free vacuum-sealed bags; cooked at a lower temperature, meats retain more moisture, protein, and flavor, says co-owner Ruth Stedman. Arrives frozen. APupAbove.com
Evermore Pet Food: Beef, grain-free turkey, grain-free lamb, chicken recipes. “We’re obsessive about testing,” says co-owner Hanna Mandelbaum. “Using pastured eggs, we don’t have to supplement choline, an essential nutrient, like most companies do. Omega-3 levels went up when we opted for 100% grass-fed beef.” Includes wild Maine blueberries, which are naturally protected, and dandelion greens, a powerhouse food high in vitamins and minerals. Meals for cats are in development. EverMorePetFood.com
Farmers Dog: Choose from turkey, beef, or pork for dogs. Custom-portioned and packed in dissolvable cornstarch insulation and dry ice; food stays cold until about 11 pm the day of delivery. If you have more than one dog, their names are included on each bag to prevent mix-ups. TheFarmersDog.com
Nom Nom: Recipes are developed by board-certified veterinary nutritionist, Dr. Justin Schmalberg, also the chief nutrition officer at the company. Pre-portioned meals, shipped cold, for both dogs and cats, minimal plastic packaging. For dogs, choose from beef, pork, chicken, or turkey, delivered weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. NomNomNow.com
Ollie: Select from three different plans, including Some (25% of the dog’s diet), Mostly (50%), or All (100%). A starter pack lets your dog choose his favorite from beef, chicken, turkey, or lamb. Lids for leftovers and a serving scoop are provided. Store in the freezer, thaw in the fridge. MyOllie.com
Smalls: Healthy, real food meals formulated for cats from fresh chicken, turkey, or beef. High in protein and moisture content, and made from top quality ingredients. smalls.com
Spot and Tango: Offers turkey and red quinoa with apple, egg, spinach, carrots, peas, and parsley. Beef with millet has similar ingredients plus cranberries, while lamb and brown rice includes blueberries. Meals are frozen, arrive on a flexible schedule, with an email reminder three days prior in case a change is needed. SpotAndTango.com
Pros and cons of fresh food delivery services
- You can order the food online for regularly-scheduled and flexible delivery dates.
- The meals are personalized to your animal’s profile and preferences.
- They contain recognizable, human-grade ingredients.
- Smaller batches, made more often, ensure freshness.
- It can be pricey, although companies emphasize it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You have the option of incorporating fresh food meals just a few days a week if you wish. Another alternative is to use small amounts as a topper on your dog or cat’s regular food.
- Because the food has to be kept cold or frozen, it takes up extra space in your fridge or freezer.
- Because everything is delivered in boxes and bags, going this route may be less eco-friendly.
If you’re looking for a quick and convenient way to feed your dog or cat nutritious fresh food meals without having to leave home to shop, a meal kit delivery service might be for you.