Chicken ‘Meal’ vs Chicken – what’s the difference and which one is better?

You may have heard this before but it never hurts to repeat it.

Most chicken-based dog foods list chicken or chicken ‘meal’ as the first ingredient. One has 300% more actual chicken than the other, so is a far superior form of protein. Do you know which one it is? The results may surprise you……

Chicken ‘meal’ is, quite simply DEHYDRATED chicken meat. No more, no less. It doesn’t contain any feet, necks, organs, etc – that’s chicken ‘by product’.

So chicken ‘meal’ contains a lot more actual chicken meat that straight ‘chicken-, up to 5 times more in fact.

The reason for this is in the way dried dog and cat food is made.

By law, the first ingredient on the label must be the first ingredient by weight. But there’s a catch that most petfood manufacturers don’t want you to know about…..

It is the weight BEFORE processing. If ‘chicken’ is the first ingredient (before processing), when the food is made, the water content will be removed by dehydrating. And as up to 80% of that chicken’s weight is water, the final food will only have about 20% of the weight it started with. So in the FINAL FOOD chicken will NOT be the main ingredient. In fact there won’t really be that much chicken left at all….

Chicken meal on the other hand has already had all of the water removed BEFORE it is put in the food for processing. If it is the first ingredient listed it will remain the main ingredient because it has already had the water removed.

You can see from this that a food based on chicken meal is much higher quality, because it has had up to 5 times the number of chickens used to make the food. Of course that adds significantly to the cost of production.

All Pro Pac formulas are based on chicken ‘meal’. It’s one of the reasons we get so many reports of dogs preferring it to other foods which aren’t meal based and why they do so well. They’re getting a top-notch source of protein.

Because there is so much less protein in ‘chicken’ based foods, companies must boost those levels by adding ‘by products’. Unfortunately, however, although by-products are high in protein, it is a very inferior protein source and not one that is absorbed well by dogs or cats.

Common brands that are ‘meal’ based, with no by-products (top quality):

PRO PAC, Nutro, Royal Canin

Common brands that are ‘chicken’ based and which contain by-products (lower quality):

Eukanuba, Pro Plan, Advance, Hills Science

Interesting isn’t it? By the way, you now know more about petfood ingredients than 90% of vets or pet shop staff, who wouldn’t have a clue what the terms ‘meal’ or ‘by-products’ mean. (The reasons for that are another story but we explain why in our free report which you can get by clicking here.

This explains comments we get all the time, such as this one from Sharon Nel of Wellington:

“The boys are just loving it, and truth be told, I mixed their last few pellets of Hills into the container.  Much to my amusement, they now take little mouthfulls of food out of their bowls, eat all of the Propac and leave the Hills pellets on the floor, not to be touched again….aren’t they funny creatures?”

And of course with the price of Pro Pac being significantly lower than other ‘meal’ based brands, it all adds up to a great deal for your dog or cat and you.


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