Purina sues Blue Buffalo

Even if you don’t feed Blue Buffalo this is worth a read!  I’ll be watching this case and curious over the outcome.

Purina has just filed a lawsuit against Blue Buffalo over false claims that Blue Buffalo makes in discussing their food.

Nestle Purina Sues Over Pet Food Competitor Claims

The suit claims that testing by an independent lab and funded by Purina showed that several Blue Buffalo products contained “significant” percentages of poultry byproduct meal and corn. The suit also says several products promoted as “grain-free” contain rice hulls.

I hope that Purina will release the actual report findings so the consumer can decide for themselves.

  • How many batches of food were tested?  Several could mean 2, 3 or 10.  Was there any time between batches or were current batches on the shelf tested?
  • What varieties were tested?  Blue Buffalo has well over 50 varieties of dry dog food alone.
  • Who conducted the testing; Purina or a separate chemical lab?

If what Purina is saying happens to be true this could have a massive ripple affect throughout the pet food industry.

“Despite Blue Buffalo’s massive marketing barrage, Purina has discovered that Blue Buffalo — and not the ‘big name’ pet food manufacturers Blue Buffalo routinely criticizes in its advertising — is concealing the truth about the ingredients in its products,” the lawsuit states.

Concealing the truth?!  This coming from the company that sells Beneful.  On the website they say this about Beneful:

We know that people want everything in their buddies’ lives to be playful and enjoyable, so we reinvented dog food, making it all about dog fun. Beneful brand dog food can help keep your dog happy and healthy with a perfect balance of real, wholesome ingredients, quality nutrition and great taste. 

Accents like carrots, barley, rice, and green beans

Love the double marketing speak ‘accents’… which in reality means just enough for us to be able to put it on the bag making you think your dog is getting a bunch of veggies from our food.  The truth is, Beneful’s main ingredients are Corn, Chicken-By Product Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Wheat Flour, and Animal Fat.  These are followed by beef, rice flour and soy flour.  To top it off the food contains artificial coloring (would you believe that owners actually want this in their food?), chelated minerals (making them more difficult to digest and absorb), and menadione which is a controverial form of Vitamin K.  Oh, and all those veggies in the food?  Buried low on the ingredients list (meaning there are trace amounts) is dried carrots and dried peas.

Doesn’t sound entirely wholesome or quality to me.  By using double marketing speak though they aren’t making false claims.  However, who decides what is ‘wholesome’ or ‘quality’?  Corn and Chicken-By Product aren’t exactly top of my list in terms of wholesome or quality for my dog.

Purina is asking Blue Buffalo to pay damages for the profit they made on their ‘unfair claims’:

“The lawsuit asks the court to force Blue Buffalo to run corrective advertising to show that its products contain chicken byproducts, and to pay damages to Nestle Purina “for all gains, profits, savings and advantages obtained by Blue Buffalo as a result of its false advertising and unfair competition.”

In my opinion, Purina is just feeling the pinch of pet owners trending towards high quality foods and wanting the best they can get for their pet.

Sales of more expensive brands rose 68 percent from 2002 to 2012, compared with 19 percent for mid-priced brands and 8 percent for economy brands, according to Euromonitor International.

They want a bigger piece of that 68% and since they aren’t going to start making an actual product to compete in this market, this is as close as they can get.  However, if Blue Buffalo is making false claims I’ll be interested to see what ends up happening to other dog food product claims.  Blue Buffalo of course is going to have to do their own damage control now as individuals who feed this have now been planted the seed of doubt.





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Filed under Nutrition, Product Reviews

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