Over the last few years, the sale of dog foods that carry a claim of natural, either embedded into their brand name or proclaimed on their front label, has exploded. According to the marketing research firm Packaged Facts, natural foods are currently the fastest growing segment of the U.S. pet food market. The sale of foods that are marketed in this way doubled between 2008 and 2012 and accounted for almost 80 percent of all new products introduced between January and August of 2014. Natural pet food sales dollars during the same period exceeded 3 billion dollars, making up two-thirds of total pet food sales.
So, what is all of the fuss about? Does a claim of “natural” mean anything for your dog or is it just one more marketing gimmick?
What natural is: The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), the organization that sets pet food ingredient and labeling definitions, states that a pet food manufacturer…
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