I Came with Questions / There’s a Reason

April 2019 – Inaugural Council Meeting

By Andrea Coffman, Pet Lover

I came in to Champion with high expectations, prepared to ask the hard questions and to be the eyes and ears of the public.

I am pleased to report that I was genuinely impressed by the warmth and transparency of the staff, the quality of the kitchens, and the integrity of the company as a whole. My biggest takeaway from my first trip to Champion’s DogStar Kitchen was four simple words: There is a reason. From kitchen conception to truck loading, every step of the process is intentionally designed to put fresh, biologically appropriate food in dogs’ bowls across America.

Champion showed us every aspect of their DogStar Kitchen. I was able to ask questions directly to kitchen manager, David Ruch.

There is a reason Champion calls their facilities “kitchens,” and it’s a title that is well-deserved. From the beginning, the kitchens were designed for safe, quality production. Raw ingredients are delivered to and processed in rooms kept at refrigerated temperatures, while dry ingredients are stored and prepared in their own designated room. If equipment didn’t exist to fit Champion’s vision, they had it specially made. The extruders are literally built to pass through a wall to keep the raw ingredients and cooked foods separated. And on top of the mechanical technology, every machine, every step of the process, is monitored by specially designed software and overseen by multiple employees on the floor. Trust me when I say that this is not a factory – this is a kitchen.

There is a reason Champion can be transparent. Champion didn’t settle on their kitchen design, and they don’t settle on their ingredients, suppliers, or process, either. Ingredients are sourced as locally as possible, and from human-grade suppliers and facilities. Ingredient batches are tested before even being unloaded from delivery trucks. Every room, every machine, every stage of processing that the food passes through is designed to ensure the highest quality of food safety. Every single lot of pet food that comes off the production line is tested for safety, quality, nutritional balance, and consistency. Champion will not send a bag of food to shelves unless they feel confident that it is safe and balanced for the pet who will be eating it.

My fellow Transparency Council members and I take a look at a package of Champion foods as it comes off the production line.

There is a reason the Canadian-made and Kentucky-made recipes differ slightly. Most people are aware of Champion’s BAFRINO philosophy: Biologically Appropriate, Fresh Regional Ingredients, Never Outsourced.

When you actually take the time to consider what that means, it makes perfect sense why the Canadian and Kentucky formulas don’t match exactly.

Regional ingredients will be different in Alberta than in Kentucky, and because Champion makes an effort to work with local ingredient suppliers whenever possible, the recipes adjust to reflect that, while still maintaining comparable nutritional profiles. Simply put, the closer the supplier, the fresher the ingredients. When Champion prioritizes regional ingredients, they are prioritizing quality.

Part of our meeting took place on Kentucky Lake where I *literally* learned first-hand how Champion’s suppliers select fresh, regional catfish for their formulas. Not gonna lie – not only was it cool, it was impressive.

It’s one thing to read or be told about the process, but it’s another to witness it firsthand, and I feel very fortunate to have had this opportunity.

From one pet lover to another, know this: It’s okay to ask questions, it’s wonderful to want to understand the process of what goes in to your beloved pet’s food, and it is absolutely admirable to demand transparency. I encourage you to dive in and see for yourself. Explore Champion’s website and learn more about the BAFRINO philosophy. Call customer care and ask the questions to which you want answers. Read the ingredients on the bags, and learn the nutritional value of each. The information is out there.

Transparency isn’t a marketing ploy – it’s a core value as Champion moves forward and continues to research, innovate, and raise the bar for the pet food industry.
About Andrea Coffman

Andrea Coffman is a devoted Pet Lover from Oklahoma. Andrea’s journey on understanding the important role of pet nutrition and health was a result of her puppy’s seizures. Above all else, Andrea values real, quality ingredients for her dog’s diet.

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