What’s Chicken Meal?

Letters from the Blackwood Mailbag…


We get a lot of questions via email, Facebook, Twitter and traditional mail. We’ve decided to start posting some of them to our blog to serve as an answer to your question or just help you learn something about our approach to making super-premium, slow-cooked pet food.

You’ll notice that some of our recipes include ingredients like Chicken Meal, Lamb Meal, Catfish Meal, etc.

Mary from Olmsted Falls, Ohio wrote us on Facebook asking:

Can someone tell me the difference between when an ingredient listing says chicken vs. chicken meal?

Here’s the answer, Mary:

We get this question a lot. Meal is the meat of the animal protein that is cooked to have the fats and oils separated from it. There is some bone that remains, but it becomes ash that is easily passed by your pet, just as it would be if they chew up a bone as a treat. 

Think of meat meals as a concentrated protein sources. The moisture content of a meal is very low – normally under 7% – so your pet gets the good stuff to use for energy and/or growth. While there’s nothing wrong with fresh or frozen meats being used in pet foods – in fact they are very good – the water that’s included (sometimes as much as 75%) is listed at a pre-cooked weight. That means that as the water is cooked away during the process of making pet food, the actual meat protein is at times only between 25-35% of that weight, making it not the first ingredient based on dry weight analysis. You’ll notice that most pet foods that show a fresh or non-meal as the first ingredient also show a meal soon after it on the ingredient panel. Thanks for the question Mary, we hope this helps with your decision-making process in choosing the correct food for your pet.

If you have a question, feel free to reach out to us via email, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Happy feeding,
All of us here at Blackwood Pet Food