Colorado-based Only Natural Pet is an online store that sells some holistic foods and supplements, as well as their private-label lines. I've ordered THK from them many, many times -- and sometimes Ziwi Peak too.
They sent me a small sample of their Max Meat food inside an order of something else: it's an air-dried jerky food that reminds me of Ziwi, at a lower price. As with most private label foods, it's hard to get the info that matters – if you call and ask, they say their contract with the co-packer doesn’t allow them to reveal the name. I hate that secrecy and usually avoid foods that engage in this obfuscation.
However....I have a theory that Ziwi is their co-packer, and the contract doesn’t allow ONP to reveal that so that ONP doesn’t cannibalize Ziwi’s U.S. sales. This is speculation on my part, but let me lay out the case for it.
Sourcing & Process:
ONP’s meat is free-range, antibiotic/hormone free, from New Zealand (human grade). It is air dried with a maximum temp of 160 degrees F. The bag says “Made in New Zealand.”
Ziwi uses air-drying, free-range/grass fed New Zealand cattle, with no antibiotics or hormones. The bag says “product of New Zealand.”
Here’s the kicker: The ONP processing pictures on their website are SQUARES of food. Look at the picture beneath "Air Dried Process," and then open up a bag of Ziwi and compare:
The ONP bag doesn’t actually contain squares (it’s a mix of different sizes of pieces in sliced/shaved odd pieces and bits, not uniform shapes). However, Ziwi DOES contain squares – that’s their trademark shape. That was my GOTCHA moment -- it's a Ziwi process picture!
ONP Max Meat Beef costs about $10 per pound. Ziwi Peak Beef costs about $13.40 per pound (about 25% more). ONP is cheaper, but still in the same ballpark.
Ingredients – similarities are highlighted:
ONP is 90% beef muscle, organ, and bone (10% pumpkin, herbs and vitamins). Ziwi is at least 88% beef muscle, organ, and bone, 3% green mussel, and 7% tripe (2% herbs and vitamins, no veg).
Ziwi has slightly better ingredients with tripe and green mussel vs. ONP adding pumpkin, but they’re still quite similar – and the exclusion of the pricey extras also would justify a lower price for ONP. Similarities in the ingredient list are bolded:
ONP’S INGREDIENTS: Beef, Beef Lung
, Beef Liver, Beef Heart
Pumpkin, Rosemary, Inulin (from Chicory Root)
, Ground Beef Bone
, Vegetable Glycerin, Choline Chloride, Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E Supplement), Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Iron Sulfate, Vitamin E, Iron Proteinate, Selenium Yeast, Copper Sulfate, Nicotinic Acid, Calcium Pantothenate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide (source of Iodine), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid - 4250 kcal/kg -
Protein (min)......35.0% Crude Fat (min)............20.0% Crude Fiber (max)...........2.0% Moisture (max).............15.0%
ZIWI’S INGREDIENTS: Beef, Beef Liver,
Beef Kidney, Beef Heart
, Beef Tripe, Beef Bone
, Beef Lung
, New Zealand Green Mussel, Inulin from Chicory
, Dried Kelp, Sea Salt, Parsley,
Minerals (Potassium Bicarbonate, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Selenium Yeast, Manganese Amino Acid Complex), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B1 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid). Naturally preserved with mixed tocopherols - 5200 Kcal/kg
Crude Protein (min)…..36% Crude Fat (min)……33% Crude Fiber (max)…..2.0% Moisture (max)….14%
I ended up ordering a single bag of ONP to evaluate and compare to Ziwi. I sometimes use Ziwi when my allergy dog goes off his raw food/base mix, or for travel. He loves Ziwi and ONP equally. He’s going through some major health stuff right now and has no appetite due to meds upsetting his tummy, but he’ll eat the ONP even when he feels like crap. It’s working to keep him food moving through him, and cushioning his tummy from the meds. So far, he likes it, and he’s a dog who mostly thinks all food is uninteresting. I’ve only used it as “emergency” food to get him through a few very rough days after surgery, but it’s palatable enough to use in with a sick/recovering dog.
I suspect that ONP contracted with Ziwi to make this food under ONP’s private label to reach a broader market at a slightly lower price. ONP doesn’t answer my emails asking bluntly if I’m right about my hypothesis—and they’re usually incredibly responsive. Silence is a very weird reaction on their part. I wonder if they are being silent because they can’t confirm or deny – if it were not
Ziwi (i.e., if I were wrong), I think they’d say that.
Does anyone familiar Ziwi have any thoughts on this? Do we have an Kiwi members who know whether there's more than one holistic plant making air-dried jerky-style dog food in New Zealand?