Beneful Dog Food Review
Beneful Dog Food Overview
Beneful is made by Nestle Purina PetCare, a St. Louis, Missouri subsidiary of Nestle. Other pet food brands made by Nestle Purina include Purina Pro Plan, Purina Dog Chow, Friskies, and Purina ONE. Beneful was introduced by the company in 2001 and is one of their top-selling brands today. More than 14 million dogs eat the food annually, according to the company, using Nielsen marketing numbers. Nestle S.A. is headquartered in Switzerland and makes a wide variety of foods and beverages. Nestle Purina PetCare is one of the largest pet food manufacturers in the world.
Who Manufactures Beneful Dog Food?
Beneful is manufactured by Nestle Purina, which has its own pet food plants. According to the company, they have 20 manufacturing plants in the United States. Per an interview with officials from Purina, in a typical 24-hour production Purina conducts 30,000 quality checks involving ingredient/packaging, receiving, processing, and packing.
Beneful Dog Food Recalls
Beneful had a recall in March 2017 when the company discovered through internal quality tests that some 10-oz. wet dog food tubs might not contain the recommended level of added vitamins and minerals. They issued a voluntary recall of the products that were produced in one production line, at one facility. This is the only recall we found online.
Beneful Dog Food Coupons
We didn’t see any coupons for Beneful but you can check the Beneful Facebook page for offers.
Beneful Dog Food
Beneful has been the dog food that pet food bloggers love to hate for a while. There have previously been two class action suits against Beneful and both were dismissed. Beneful is currently facing another class action suit which alleges that the food was harmful to dogs.
According to Nestle Purina PetCare, the case currently remains pending in court and the class action lawyers have changed the allegations more than once. Nearly one-third of the plaintiffs have withdrawn from the litigation. Per the company, “The class action lawyers in this case have never produced a single test result, veterinarian report or other evidence to show that Beneful is anything but a healthy, safe and nutritious dog food.” Nestle Purina says they have no plans to settle the case.
We are providing a new review of Beneful here because Nestle Purina has reformulated the foods. This process has been underway for over two years and, according to the company, has nothing to do with the current class action suit. We thought it was only fair to re-examine Beneful’s new formulas. Purina has provided us with the ingredient lists, guaranteed analyses, and other information about their new formulas. These foods have been introduced in some parts of the U.S. as of May 2017 and they will be in full distribution by August.
All eight Beneful dry dog foods have new recipes: Originals with Real Beef; Originals with Real Chicken; Originals with Real Salmon*; Incredibites with Real Beef; Incredibites with Real Chicken; Healthy Weight; Healthy Puppy; and Playful Life. Seven of the eight formulas will now have real meat as the first ingredient which is a change. *The Originals with Real Salmon formula will follow with real salmon as the first ingredient in 2017. The company said they are still working out a source for the amount of salmon required for the change.
Purina has removed added sugar from the ingredients. And they have removed propylene glycol, even though FDA considers it generally recognized as safe (GRAS). According to Purina, the propylene glycol was used in the food as a humectant to make some of the pieces chewy – which dogs like. They have replaced the propylene glycol with U.S.-sourced glycerin from natural sources. The new Beneful formula includes natural beef and vegetable-based glycerin so the food will still have a soft and crunchy texture. Purina also said they have reduced the amount of dyes used in the food. Beneful uses FD&C artificial colorants. These artificial colors are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in food, drugs and cosmetics but many pet lovers express concerns about them.
The crude protein percentages for the foods will remain between about 23-28 percent. The crude fat percentages will increase 1-2 percent in about half of the recipes
According to Purina, with these changes, Beneful will be the lowest priced, widely available dog food that has real meat as the first ingredient.
Beneful Healthy Puppy is an all life stage food. The first five ingredients in this food are: Chicken, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, whole grain corn, and barley. The food has 28 percent crude protein, 14 percent crude fat, 4 percent crude fiber, and 14 percent moisture. It has 353 kcal/cup. Since this food is made for puppies we looked at the calcium and phosphorus figures and found 1.1 percent calcium (min) and 0.9 percent phosphorus (min) which is an ideal ratio according to veterinary textbooks.
Beneful Originals With Real Salmon is AAFCO-approved as a maintenance dog food. As already mentioned, Purina has not yet found a source for the quantities of salmon required to make salmon the first ingredient in this food but salmon will become the first ingredient in 2017. The current formula has the following first five ingredients: Whole grain corn, chicken by-product meal, whole grain wheat, corn gluten meal, and beef tallow preserved with mixed-tocopherols. The food has 23 percent crude protein, 12 percent crude fat, 4 percent crude fiber, and 14 percent moisture. It has 353 kcal/cup.
Beneful Healthy Weight is a maintenance formula dog food. The first five ingredients in this food are: Chicken, chicken by-product meal, whole grain corn, soybean hulls*, and barley. Purina notes that soybean hulls* make up 12 percent of the food and are used as a source of fiber. Most sites will tell you that soybean hulls are not a desirable ingredient even as a source of fiber. However, it’s not unusual for weight management dog foods to include extra fiber as a way to help your dog feel full while cutting his calories. You can easily find several research papers online discussing soybean hulls as a weight loss fiber for dogs. This food has 309 kcal/cup. It has 25 percent crude fiber, 8 percent crude fat, 9 percent crude fiber, and 14 percent moisture – so it certainly fits the profile of a food that has more protein and fiber and less fat to help dogs lose weight. One objection owners sometimes have about weight control dog foods is that foods with less fat leave their dogs feeling hungry and begging for more food. A higher percentage of fiber may help your dog feel full even though he is eating fewer calories.
Beneful Originals With Real Beef is a maintenance dog food. The first five ingredients in this food are: Beef, whole grain corn, barley, rice, and whole grain wheat. The food has 23 percent crude protein, 12 percent crude fat, 4 percent crude fiber, and 14 percent moisture. This food has 347 kcal/cup.
Beneful IncrediBites With Real Chicken Dog Food is a maintenance dog food. The first five ingredients in this food are: Chicken, whole grain corn, barley, chicken by-product meal, and corn gluten meal. The food has 27 percent crude protein, 13.5 crude fat, 4 percent crude fiber, and 14 percent moisture. This food has 366 kcal/cup.
Beneful IncrediBites With Real Beef is a maintenance dog food. The first five ingredients are: Beef, whole grain corn, barley, chicken by-product meal, and corn gluten meal. This food has 27 percent crude protein, 13.5 crude fat, 4 percent crude fiber, and 14 percent moisture. It has 366 kcal/cup.
Beneful Playful Life is also a maintenance dog food. The first five ingredients in this food are: Beef, whole grain corn, barley, chicken by-product meal, and corn gluten meal. The food has 27.5 percent crude protein, 12 percent crude fat, 4 percent crude fiber, and 14 percent moisture. This food has 347 kcal/cup.
We think that the Beneful formulas have been significantly improved by making meat the first ingredient and removing the added sugar. Some people will still disapprove of the foods but, for the price, we think they are good foods. If your dog can eat foods with grains, you might give the reformulated Beneful foods a try.
How would you rate Beneful?:
Beneful IncrediBites With Real Chicken Dog Food Review
We have chosen Beneful IncrediBites with Real Chicken for our review. The IncrediBites formulas are made for small dogs. They have slightly higher protein and fat percentages than the Beneful Originals formulas. They also have more kcals per cup. Small dogs typically use more calories per pound than medium and large dogs. Their metabolisms have to work a little harder compared to bigger dogs so they need a little more energy from their food.
You can currently still see the old formula for this food on the Beneful site, but we can’t guarantee that this formula will stay online. The first five ingredients in the old formula were: Ground yellow corn, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, whole wheat flour, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols. The first five ingredients in the new formula are: Chicken, whole grain corn, barley, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal. You can see that this is a great improvement. The new formula also uses beef tallow preserved with mixed tocopherols as a fat source so it’s a named animal fat. The old formula has 353 kcal/cup as opposed to 366 kcal/cup in the new formula.
The first ingredient in the food is a meat protein – chicken. Chicken is a good meat protein. It’s about 60 percent protein and 40 percent fat before the moisture is removed. Obviously, removing the moisture could place this ingredient lower in the list but the fourth ingredient is chicken by-product meal. It’s not unusual for dog food companies to follow up a whole meat like chicken with a complementary meal like chicken or chicken by-product meal. AAFCO defines chicken by-product meal as: “the ground, rendered, clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered chicken, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs and intestines, exclusive of feathers, except in such amounts as might occur unavoidable in good processing practice.” I know, you don’t want to eat it. I don’t want to eat it. But it contains some good protein for your dog. And in some cultures these parts of the chicken are included in the human diet. The food also contains turkey by-product meal later in the ingredient list which would be similar to chicken by-product meal and also provide protein.
The second ingredient in the food is whole grain corn. The food also contains corn gluten meal as the fifth ingredient. The food also has whole grain wheat, rice, and oat meal. So it has a lot of grains and cereals. Corn gluten meal, in particular, is known as a plant source of protein. There are no real glutens in corn. The term “corn gluten” is simply agricultural jargon. Corn simply contains plant proteins. Although many people today try to avoid grains in dog foods, unless your dog is allergic to a grain or cereal it’s not really necessary to avoid them. Grains and cereals have gotten an undeserved bad reputation in recent years. For one thing, grains like corn and wheat are not the most common food allergens for dogs. Dogs are most likely to be allergic to (in order): beef, dairy products, chicken, lamb, fish, chicken eggs, corn, wheat, and soy. Yet grains get blamed for a lot of food allergies that are due to something else in the food. Second, a lot of people believe that dogs can’t digest grains because they are descended from wolves. Again, not true. Yes, they are descended from wolves, but their metabolism has evolved differently. Researchers have found that dogs have evolved to be able to digest starches. Good quality grains that are cooked and prepared as they are for dog foods should not pose a problem for most dogs.
Finally, some people point to the fact that dogs technically have no nutritional need for carbohydrates in their diet. This may be true but, technically, humans have no need of carbohydrates in our diet either. We could all live on protein and fat. But if we did so our diet would be radically different and so would our lifestyle. Carbohydrates do provide dogs with some benefits in their diet such as dietary fiber, ingredients that contain vitamins and minerals, and they help dogs feel sated so they aren’t constantly hungry.
The food also contains added vitamins and minerals. Purina has noted that they have reduced the amount of FD&C artificial colors in the food.
Beneful IncrediBites With Real Chicken Dog Food– Calorie Content (calculated)
Beneful IncrediBites With Real Chicken Dog Food is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for maintenance of adult dogs.
Crude Protein (Min) 27.0%
Crude Fat (Min) 13.5%
Crude Fiber (Max) 4.0%
Moisture (Max) 14.0%
Calcium (Ca) (Min) 1.1%
Selenium (Se) (Min) 0.2 mg/kg
Vitamin A (Min) 12,500 IU/kg
Vitamin E (Min) 150 IU/kg
The dry matter basis (DMB) figures for this food are: 31.4 percent protein; 15.7 percent fat; 4.7 percent fiber; and 40.1 percent carbohydrates.
This food has moderately high protein and average fat compared to many premium dog foods. The fiber content is average for a kibble; and the carb percentage average compared to many premium dog foods.
Where can you buy Beneful Dog Food?
Beneful is available online at at many pet food retailers. It’s also widely available at grocery stores and other places that sell pet foods. You can also buy Beneful at the Purinastore.com store site.
We think that the new Beneful formulas look very good. They have meat as the first ingredient. Added sugar has been removed. Propylene glycol has been removed from the formula. We think that pet lovers and their dogs will like these improvements. If you have been doubtful about Beneful in the past, you might want to give the food a try now. This is a modestly priced food with real meat as the first ingredient. It’s not a gourmet, holistic food and it doesn’t have a lot of gimmicks, but it does have some good nutrition for your dog.