Freshpet is often considered one of the original fresh dog food brands. The company began selling fresh-style refrigerated pet meals in 2006 and can now be found on the shelves of grocery stores, pet supply chains, and even major retailers like Walmart.
Freshpet’s signature product, Freshpet Select, comes in a tube-shaped meat roll, which can be sliced into servings and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. We reviewed this pet food and found that while Freshpet’s ingredients are of significantly higher quality than most grocery shelf kibbles, it didn’t come close to matching other fresh food options out there.
In recent years, Freshpet has faced stiff competition from an influx of direct-to-consumer fresh pet food delivery services like NomNom and The Farmer’s Dog. To keep up with this new demand, Freshpet has launched its own home delivery program under the name Freshpet Homestyle Creations.
At first glance, these meals are a far cry from the SPAM-style loaves you’ll find at the supermarket. But has Freshpet really regained its place as an industry leader, or is it all just clever marketing?
Quality Of Ingredients
Like Freshpet Select, Freshpet Homestyle Creations uses mostly high-quality, whole food ingredients. Each patty recipe contains a main animal protein source and various plant-based carbohydrates. The brand’s strongest point is that its recipes each contain fewer than ten ingredients, but the patties on their own lack the diverse assortment of fresh vegetables that we’re used to seeing in other competing foods. For this, you’ll need to purchase the Healthy Mixers, which Freshpet sells as an optional topper for its main courses.
The Freshpet Homestyle Creations website contains little to no information about the production process and ingredients behind its food. However, the main Freshpet website claims that 97% of its ingredients come from the United States and Canada with no artificial or chemical preservatives, and that all foods are cooked in Freshpet-owned kitchens according to FDA and USDA standards. While we assume that the same is true of Freshpet Homestyle Creations, we can’t be completely sure of how or where the food is made.
Unfortunately, Freshpet Homestyle Creations falls extremely short of our expectations in protein content. This was a big selling point in our review of Freshpet Select, which boasts a 37.5% protein content. Shockingly, Freshpet Homestyle Creations’ patties each contain just 16.0%-16.5% protein; its Healthy Mixers barely have any protein at all, sitting at a mere 0.5%-1.25%.
That being said, our biggest problem with Freshpet Homestyle Creations recipes is their inclusion of dextrose. Dextrose is a cheap sugar made from corn that is often used in processed human foods as an artificial sweetener. While dextrose has a valid medical use to treat dogs who accidentally ingest toxic sweeteners like xylitol, there’s no reason for it to be in your dog’s daily diet. In fact, dextrose will only spike your pup’s blood sugar, making him more likely to overeat and potentially even leading to insulin resistance.
Like added sugar in human food, dextrose serves no nutritional purpose in these recipes but is probably added simply to make the food more appealing. Wouldn’t you rather give your dog a fresh food he’ll enjoy the taste of naturally, without needing sugar to make it appealing?
Full Ingredients And Analysis
Analyzing the first 10 ingredients in a dog food is a great way to understand the overall nutrient content of the dog food because AAFCO requires all dog food ingredients to be listed in order of predominance by their weight. Here’s a closer look at what’s inside Freshpet Homestyle Creations Chicken patties:
Chicken, Chicken Broth, Pea Protein, Pea Fiber, Tapioca Starch, Minerals, Natural Flavors, Salt, Cultured Dextrose, Vitamins
Ingredients You May Wonder About:
Chicken: Chicken is a common high-quality animal protein source in dog food, and it’s a good sign that this is the first ingredient on the list. Freshpet claims to use 100% farm-raised chicken in its recipes with no meat meals or byproducts. Reference
Chicken Broth: In addition to adding moisture, chicken broth is rich in collagen for joint health and glycine for liver and kidney function. Reference
Pea Protein: Peas are often used as a plant-based protein supplement in dog foods. However, this ingredient was found as a potential link to cases of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in a 2019 report from the FDA. Reference
Tapioca Starch: This plant-based carbohydrate from the cassava root isn’t necessarily bad for dogs, but it’s generally considered to be a cheap filler that lacks essential nutrients. Tapioca is also extremely high in sugar and can cause blood sugar spikes. Reference
Minerals: The Freshpet Homestyle Creations mineral blend includes all the minerals you’d expect to see in dog food, such as calcium carbonate and iron proteinate. Reference
Natural Flavors: “Natural flavors” is a fairly vague term that can refer to any number of ingredients. We were slightly concerned that the Freshpet website didn’t contain any further information about these ingredients.
Salt: Sodium is an essential mineral for your pet’s health. Reference
Cultured Dextrose: Dextrose is a type of simple sugar that is used to sweeten foods artificially. Reference
Vitamins: Per the Freshstyle Homestyle Creations website, these include vitamins A, B12, D3, and E, among others.
Freshpet Homestyle Creations Product Line
Since Freshpet Homestyle Creations is relatively new to the market, there are only four total products available right now, which are divided into two product types: patties and mixers.
Freshpet Homestyle Creations offers two flavors of protein patties: chicken and beef. Each comes fully cooked and is essentially made of one animal protein source and a handful of plant-based carbohydrates.
Freshpet claims that the patties can be used as either a standalone meal or as a topper for another food. But with low protein contents hovering around 16%, a lack of nutritious vegetables, and no healthy fats to be seen, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend feeding this to your pup on its own. With such a low protein content, we wonder how much of the recipe is actually meat-based and how much simply consists of cheap “natural” fillers.
When added to the Freshpet Homestyle Creations Protein Patties, Healthy Mixers at least add the plant-based nutrition we wish the patties had on their own. There are two flavors available: banana and pumpkin. You’ll also find more chicken broth and additional ingredients like blueberries and green beans. However, we don’t see any healthy fats in these recipes, and there’s almost no protein content to speak of.
Freshpet was founded in 2006 with a mission to introduce fresh pet food to the market, which was revolutionary at the time. Their food is now available in 20,000 retail stores across North America. The company maintains an impressive charitable mission to partner with shelters and rescues all over the continent and donate food and resources.
In 2019, Freshpet announced the launch of its Homestyle Creations product line, allowing pet parents to order fresh food online to be delivered directly to their home.
Where To Buy
Freshpet Homestyle Creations can be purchased directly from the brand’s website. Unlike other Freshpet products, it’s not available in retail stores. Our one hang-up over the Freshpet Homestyle Creations website is that the brand won’t help guide you through the ordering process with customized deliveries based on your pet’s breed, size, and weight, as is common with competing online fresh pet food companies. You’ll have to calculate this yourself and decide how much to order at once, which can be confusing if you’ve never tried a fresh food diet before.
Woof Whiskers Rating - 6.4/10
Homestyle Creation patties are a very high protein dog food, but it’s very expensive per feeding if used as the only source of food for your pet. Compared to a fresh delivery service like Nom Nom, Homestyle Creations will cost you 32% to feed a 25 lb dog! We don’t see it being worth the cost.