How We Score

Our nutritionists at Pet Food Expert take information from product packaging, supplier websites and when unable to get a clear answer write to suppliers to provide you with a scientific and unbiased assessment of a foods quality. In addition independent food analysis testing is completed to reveal information that can often be hidden from public view.

1. Ingredient Score

The 'Ingredient Score' percentage we show is based on the nutritional qualities of each ingredient used. These ingredients can be accurately scored for both digestibility and the health benefits for the animal. With most food types, we believe that the less processed and more "natural" an ingredient, the better it is for the animal, and therefore a higher score is awarded.

2. Allergen Level

"Low Allergen" describes foods that contain no high allergen ingredients or one which is of high quality and considered skewed by population exposed to it.

"Normal Allergen" describes foods that only contain a few of the known allergen causing ingredients. None of these contain wheat, which accounts for 85% of all food allergies.

"High Allergen" describes foods that contain more than 3 of the known allergen causing ingredients. These often contain wheat, which accounts for 85% of all food allergies.

3. Social Score

We believe that the ethics behind a business are often an important factor in our customers’ decision-making process. Therefore, our scoring process incorporates and lists a selection of the supplier's ethics.

NB: N/A means we are waiting to hear back from the suppliers. This will be updated after correspondence.

Ingredient Score Hypoallergenic Score Social Score
94%
Meat Quality Score 10/10
Meat Quantity Score 8/10
Carbohydrate Quality Score 10/10
Fat Quality Score 10/10
Fibre Quality Score 4/5
Oil Quality Score 5/5
Add to Compare+ £3.01per day Dry
Pet Food, Chicken

Pet Food, Chicken

All Life Stages (Small Breed)
94%
Low
5/7
Wheat Free Y
Grain Free Y
Hypoallergenic Principles Y
Use Only Natural Preservatives Y
Joint Care Y
Cooking Process Baked
View Product

Ingredients Used to score

If there are several ingredients found in the foods which contribute to a score; then the ingredient which comes first on the ingredients list will be the one used, as it will be the largest quantity item, and therefore have the most effect.

What we look for when scoring

When scoring protein sources, digestibility, along with the transparency of the proteins source, will deliver a higher score.

However, when there are several factors to look at they are all weighed up when making the decision. For example, with carbohydrates both the digestibility and their Glycaemic Index (GI) are compared. This allows a fairer comparison.

Ingredient Score

The Ingredient Scoring is broken down into 5 parts (as shown in the images below) and each ingredient is weighted to reflect its importance in the diet. For example, meat contributes 40% of the overall score due to its nutritional importance. Oil on the other hand only contributes a maximum of 10%.

Protein Quality
& Quantity

Read

Carbohydrate
Quality

Read

Fat
Quality

Read

Fibre
Quality

Read

Oil
Quality

Read

Joint Care
Quality

Read

Product Checklist

The 'Product Checklist' details items that might not improve a foods nutritional value but is often important to consumers.

Wheat Free Y/N
Grain Free Y/N
Hypoallergenic Principles Y/N
Use Only Natural Preservatives Y/N
Joint Care Y/N
Cooking Process Extruded/Baked/Pressed Pellet…

Allergen Level

The term “hypoallergenic” is often used on pet food bags but it isn't always clear what it means. As a word it means the lack of, or reduced number of, allergens likely to cause an immune response.

There are no completely hypoallergenic foods on the commercial market as this would require the complete breakdown (normally hydrolysis) of all the ingredients, making the food extremely expensive and unhealthy on the animal's digestive system. However, there are foods that try to contain the least amount of known allergens possible.

Similarly, there are no set laws for pet food companies to follow when stating "based on hypoallergenic principles" and many add wheat and/or other known allergens to their foods.

Therefore, we assess the ingredients contained in the food and assign an appropriate hypoallergenic score. Even if a bag states the food is hypoallergenic, but it contains an ingredient we believe could cause allergies in pets, we will consider the food to not be hypoallergenic.

Pork, Rabbit, Beef, Chicken, Fish, Lamb, Egg, Corn, Soy, Wheat, Dairy

This is a list of the most common allergens which is done by population exposed to the allergen. This list is just a guideline and is constantly changing. Some are on here purely because they are fed the most but must still be considered. We look at the quality and amount of the ingredient used when deciding the allergen level of foods

Cooking Process

The way a food is cooked can affect how digestible and palatable it is, along with determining how many essential vitamins remain intact through the process.

Extrusion

Foods are steam cooked at high temperatures and pressure. It is highly effective at killing harmful pathogens but can destroy proteins and often certain vitamins including Vitamin A.

Baking

Foods are cooked in an oven at lower pressures and temperatures, which leads to less vitamin loss. It is however more expensive and less efficient. The foods are often slightly more digestible than if they were extruded.

Pressed Pellet foods more info

Pressed Pellet foods are cooked at much lower temperatures to keep essential nutrients intact. They offer an alternative method of cooking kibble, which can have benefits to digestion, including not swelling once they reach the stomach.

Beware: Many pressed pellet foods are calling the process "Cold Pressing" which can be very misleading if they contain Meals (either meat or vegetable) which are extruded and cooked at higher temperatures before being added to the foods.

Freeze Drying

The process involves freezing the ingredients and then using a machine to lower the pressure which draws the moisture from the mix and causes them to become dehydrated. This process means there is no cooking so all the nutrients remain intact and is as close to a raw diet as processed food can be.

Social Score

A second part to our comparison work are the scores awarded for the Social aspects of the food manufacturer. After writing to each manufacturer whose foods we have compared we have been able to make yes/no comments with regards to their policies and ethics.

Although not essential when choosing foods nutritionally we believe that companies who are forthright and honest about their principles deserve recognition.

"Is over 2%

of profit given to charity?"