Canidae Corporation is leading the pet food revolution

As we have become more conscious of what our bodies want and need, we have steadily begun to apply the same dietary practices to our four-legged friends. Indeed, throughout the last couple of decades, pet owners across the globe have started to seek out higher quality, and better tailored, dog and cat food options. Pet nutrition can be tricky, which is why we rely on the expertise of the likes of Canidae Corporation (Canidae), to feed our animals properly. 

“Canidae was established by John Gordon and Scott Whipple back in 1996,” opens Jacopo D’Alessandris, Co-CEO and CCO, “as a family-owned operation based out of California. John and Scott’s chief founding principle was simple; to create nutritious, c formulas that promote optimal health for pets. In its earlier years, the organization gained traction for exactly that, and was recognized for formulating recipes using fresh meats, poultry and fish, as well as wholesome grains, vegetables and fruits. In doing so, it managed to avoid artificial additives, fillers, and by-products, and ultimately set a new standard for the pet food industry.” 

Over time, the business has expanded its core product lines to include grain free options, as well as others to suit limited-ingredient diets, dietary sensitivities, and health concerns. It has also consistently given back to the communities that it serves, and provided continued support to animal welfare initiatives through partnerships, donations, and sponsorship opportunities. However, since 2015, Canidae’s attention has primarily shifted onto sustainability and regenerative farming. The business is now trying to benefit the planet’s health, in the same way it does for its hungry customers. 

“Our big focus is on regeneratively farmed ingredients, which we utilize in all of our kibble,” he elaborates. “We purchased our first regeneratively farmed crops back in 2015 from Clint Brauer at Greenfield, and we’ve never looked back. Not only do they replenish the soil in which they’re grown, the ingredients that they yield are more nutritious too. It’s a win-win.  

“Plastics have been another key factor that we’re tackling and by the end of 2023, all our kibble bags will utilize post-industrial recycled materials. We’ve also created solutions such as the kibble refill stations at Petco, to eliminate single use bags all together. As a proud member of the Pet Sustainability Coalition, we’ll continue to pioneer new developments that improve the sustainability of the pet food industry’s practices.” 

Top dog 

Besides its actions, Canidae also bolsters its moral compass through its choice of partnerships. Since 2018, the company has been on a mission to partner strictly with farmers who are dedicated to regenerative farming practices, namely: frequent crop rotations, precision fertilizer dosing, herbicide reduction, and cover cropping between cash crops. “Regenerative agriculture is no easy feat,” Jacopo explains, “and we aim to be a long term partner to the farmers who facilitate such a transition.  

“We have also partnered with Greenfield Robotics, a startup that’s eliminating chemical use in the farming sector with robots. They are currently expanding their operations to commercialize their technology, which effectively addresses the use of herbicides without tillage, precision fertilizer dosing, and automated soil testing. Earlier in 2023, we implemented the inclusion of their crops, and we’re looking forward to seeing the partnership grow into 2024. 

“Following our recent merger with Natural Balance (NB),” he continues, “we’re looking forward to the continued expansion of our Brownwood location in Texas, along with additional capital investments that will drive product improvements across both brands. The integration of NB’s range into the facility will mean more ingredients, which will require new storage and batching capabilities, as well as an additional packaging line that will be installed this coming summer. Overall the plant will be able to deliver large and small-sized retail packages with greater efficiency and flexibility.” 

Canidae has an extensive supplier approval process, for which it requires ongoing audits to ensure consistently high levels of quality in its ethically sourced ingredients. As part of this, its vendors must hold accreditations from the Global Food Safety Initiative, so that they can serve as third party auditors over food safety and workplace ethics. Moreover, the organization has a fully operational lab that is dedicated to testing the nutrient levels of each of its inbound shipments, as a further inhouse quality assurance step.  

“Over the past few years,” Jacopo concludes, “the premium pet food category has seen a tremendous amount of innovation among its product offerings. Customers can now choose from grain-free and natural options, along with products that feature regenerative or organic ingredients, or that suit specific diets, health concerns, or stages of their pets’ lives. Available technological advancements now allow for further tangents, such as raw or freeze-dried ingredients.  

“This growth has complemented the evolution of pet owners, who are becoming more concerned with the transparency and sustainability of pet food manufacturers, and their sourcing and manufacturing processes. Increasingly, they are seeking out brands that prioritize quality by implementing stringent quality control measures. Canidae and Natural Balance are on the leading edge of this revolution; and our goal is to become the brands of choice for these new pet parents, who expect the absolute best for their animals, and the planet.”