Hello Unleashed community and thank you for checking out our blog! We wanted to take a few minutes to update you on some product changes within our stores. One of our favorite things is searching and finding new items for our beloved pets, and we hope you will love our latest additions. We also continue to monitor our current selection, and occasionally we have to make the difficult decision to discontinue items as well.
Here at Unleashed, we take great pride in the vendors and manufacturers we work with to supply the products for our stores. We employ great care and attention to sourcing, practices, and most of all the ingredients in all of the consumable products on our shelves. It has always been our goal that no matter what you choose to purchase for your dog or cat, that it be healthy, safe and species appropriate. We review the products found in our stores constantly and scrutinize every single change made to every item to ensure that the alterations are in the best interest of our fur-babies and not made for other reasons, such as simply for the sake of cutting corners.
Recently two of our vendors, Ziwi Peak and Taste of the Wild, have had changes to either some of their products (Taste of the Wild) or to the company ownership (Ziwi) that have resulted in much deliberation on our part. We have ultimately decided that while it would be difficult, it would be in the best interest of the pets who rely on us to phase out most of the Taste of the Wild (but not all,) and all of the Ziwi Peak offerings, and to find replacement products.
ZIWI (also known as Ziwi Peak) is a New Zealand based pet food company whose hyper local supply chain and formulations always made the brand very appealing to us. Besides having fantastic palatability, their diets met the needs of many animals, including those who needed special limited ingredient diets, those needing a dry alternative to raw, and more. In addition to liking the formulas themselves, we had met many times with the founder/owner and really admired his passion and dedication.
Unfortunately, last September Ziwi was acquired by the Chinese investment company, FountainVest (you can read about the purchase here). The new company currently insists that there will be no changes to their operations, and we have been monitoring this closely. While we have not noticed any changes as of now, we are not entirely comfortable with large foreign companies such as this when it comes to consumables for our fur-babies. We believe the likelihood that the new parent company (a private equity firm) insists on cost cutting measures to realize a higher profit for their new investment is certain. While we do have products owned or manufactured by foreign companies as well as some backed by investment companies, the history and track record for dangerous food recalls involving ingredients from China or their manufacturing practices is simply too big for us to ignore.
Ever since the large Pet Food Recall of 2007, which took place shortly after we started Unleashed, we have been steadfast in inquiring with all of our manufacturers as to the source of every ingredient to be consumed by our pets to ensure that there are no Chinese originated ingredients, and we will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. To read more about the massive recall and pet food turmoil of 2007 that helped form our rigid standards, see the FDA’s summary and supporting links here. While we cannot be sure that Ziwi will begin using Chinese ingredients or manufacturing, the uncertainty itself is not something we have become increasingly uncomfortable with, and we have dedicated a good amount of time to researching and product testing alternatives.
In Ziwi’s place, we are excited to now offer NZ Natural in our stores (you can learn more about them here). They offer a similar product to Ziwi in addition to having freeze dried options as well. Our personal pets love the new food, especially our cat, Wesley, who has found a new favorite in the NZ Natural freeze dried. We hope that you will come in and take a look at all of their products in any Unleashed location (with the exception of Crabtree Valley Mall.) As always, all of our edible products are 100% guaranteed. If your pet doesn’t go as crazy for it as ours currently are, bring it back and let us help you find a replacement that they will.
Taste of the Wild:
Taste of the Wild is a family owned and operated pet food company founded on the notion that “every pet deserves the best nutrition and every pet owner deserves a fair value,” which aligns with our own mission here at Unleashed. We have carried Taste of the Wild in our stores since 2009 and have helped many dogs and cats with recommendations for their various diets. The Taste of the Wild line of foods have helped many pets with allergies, sensitivities, and have offered a good value for many of our customers throughout the years.
As with most pet foods, there have been minor changes throughout the years, which we have evaluated and concluded were not problematic. However some of the more recent changes, specifically the addition of vegetable and/or grain derived protein concentrates such as pea protein and potato protein, have made us uncomfortable. We believe that these are inappropriate, unnecessary, highly processed ingredient additions, with the sole purpose of increasing protein percentage without paying the premium for more meat. We have asked Taste of the Wild many times to please reformulate their diets and omit these ingredients, but for now they have declined to submit a plan to do so. Therefore we have made the difficult decision to discontinue all varieties that have vegetable or grain derived protein concentrates from our Taste of the Wild selection.
Currently this includes:
Original Grain-Free Wetlands
Original Grain-Free Sierra Mountain
Original Grain-Free High Prairie
Original Grain-Free Southwest Canyon
Grain-Free High Prairie Puppy
Canyon River Cat
Rocky Mountain Cat
We will continue to offer their original Pacific Stream diets, in addition to all of their newer ancient grain diets. If you are currently feeding one of the diets listed above and are looking for an alternative there is always an Unleashed store associate available to show you some similar options in price and quality. We work tirelessly to train every Unleashed employee to be able to help with making the best possible food recommendations. However, if you have a difficult situation, we would love to make a one-on-one appointment to meet with you and go over your pet’s specific needs. You can schedule that here.
Beyond Taste of the Wild, we have asked other pet food companies that use these ingredients to consider what is best for our pets and to remove these from their formulas. We have a long and growing list of standards for pet foods that we will carry and recommend and currently we have added this stipulation to it. For the foreseeable future, you will not find foods in our stores with vegetable or grain derived protein concentrates, such as pea or potato proteins. We made the commitment after the aforementioned 2007 pet food recall to not carry products with rice protein concentrate (in addition to the previously discussed additions to our stipulations,) and have held to that ever since.
Simply put, we will never compromise quality at Unleashed. We will continue to only offer products in our stores that we fully believe serve our furry customers and our own pets the best so that they can live the longest and healthiest lives possible. Ever since day one, we have been committed to never selling anything that we would not give to our own pets, and 15 years later, we are just as committed to this as the day we started. When you shop at Unleashed, we want you to not only find great value, but also find products selected with integrity and that you can trust.
These decisions are never easy and not done light-heartedly. We know that many of our customers rely on these products, and we want you to know that we are here for you. We would love to help you find new products that work for your fur-babies. We are also always happy to answer any questions or concerns that you may have. Reach out anytime by emailing JP at JP@unleashedmutt.com.
And as always, thank you so much for your continued support. We live each day full of gratitude for every single one of our customers, past, present, and future.
Amy and JP Phinney,
Owners/Founders of Unleashed, LLC, aka Unleashed, the Dog & Cat Store