Dear Old Cookie Deserves to Eat Evermore

“Cookie should be eating Evermore,” I told my friend Adrienne, when I found out that her veterinarian had recommended feeding cooked frozen dog food instead of kibble. “Evermore is the only subscription frozen dog food that is focused on using only top-shelf, truly organic ingredients. What also sets it above the others is that it is not owned by Venture Capitalists.” Then I set out to show my friend how those two distinguishing features are actually connected.

Adrienne is a lifelong vegetarian who had been feeding a dry vegan food to her beloved dog, Cookie, who recently had one eye removed because of uncontrollable glaucoma. The veterinarian — who is additionally trained in acupuncture and Chinese medicine (which unlike Western medical training also involves nutrition) — was concerned with the inflammation in Cookie’s system and wanted her to eat a less processed form of dog food than kibble, with high quality protein. I applauded this forward-thinking doctor (who was actually influenced by centuries-old Chinese understanding of the effect of diet on overall health) for wanting a less-processed, more natural diet for Cookie. She recommended one of the subscription-frozen-delivered-to-your-door. But I sounded an alarm with Adrienne because the doctor had recommended by name one of the highly-visible dog foods in this cooked/frozen/delivered category.

The red flag for me was that the doctor knew a specific brand name among the many similar brands that all sprang up in the past few years. The doctor must have known the brand name because of their glossy advertising. That worries me. There is a finite amount of money to spend on building the brand name and products of a new company. I have a natural suspicion of any new company that can afford costly advertising. If the money is being spent on advertising and promotion, don’t costs have to be cut elsewhere — like the formulation and ingredients of the actual food? Obviously, money is invested for one reason: to make more money. Once VC dollars pour into a company, they want to see growth and profits — which means getting more customers (with clever advertising) while making more profit (spend less on the ingredients).

Evermore, delivered

I’ve been watching this segment of the pet food landscape for about six years and my jaw has dropped as one company after another has emerged with fanfare and grown with astonishing speed. They have been jet-propelled by investment money, which seems to allow them, as relatively new companies, to leap-frog the natural growth process of developing over time with unique, superior products, while building loyal customers over a span of years.

Given that my background is an investigative reporter and researcher — which is how I wrote the 750 page reference books THE DOG BIBLE and THE CAT BIBLE — and given that pet nutrition has been my area of particular focus and expertise — I wanted to understand this booming niche of the frozen/delivered pet food business. Venture Capital is at the heart of this explosive growth which is what I wanted Adrienne, her veterinarian, and anyone interested in pet nutrition to be aware of: the influence of astronomical amounts of money being funneled into this arena.

A cursory look at partial public records of the VC investments into the half dozen competitors in the field showed that this kind of company is a big financial play: [New arrival] Spot & Tango $5 million first series; Pet Plate $9M, $19M; Ollie multiple series of $4,4M, $12.6M, 15M, $29M and $32M [each in millions]; Farmer’s Dog ($2M, $8M, $49M, $65M; Just Food for Dogs newest series $68M (with Petco). And the piece-de resistance is Nom Nom Now, which was recently purchased by Mars, Inc (Royal Canin pet foods) for one billion dollars.

But why do I feel strongly that Cookie should eat Evermore’s food? Is it because it is wholly owned by the two women who founded and run it? Yes. Is it because they have been doing this work diligently to their own high standards since 2009 and building their business one step at a time? Yes.  Is it because they have never taken investment money that could theoretically dictate how they source their ingredients or how to maximize profits? Yes. But most importantly, is it because of the ingredients that are stellar both in food value and ethical sourcing? Yes.

Alison and Hanna personally know every farmer and rancher who supplies their organic, sustainable and humanely raised ingredients. You don’t see those words on any other cooked/frozen/delivered pet foods. The Evermore website has a thorough explanation of precisely what their defining words mean,which include regenerative agricultural practices, grass-fed beef and lamb with humane handling practices, free-range poultry, pasture-raised, certified-humane eggs — all of it based on considerations of quality of life both for the growers and their animals and crops. I only wish my own food was half as high-minded and morally pure!

I explained to Adrienne that the Evermore food may seem more expensive, but for good reason. You only need to look at their extraordinary standards for the completely human-edible ingredients in their recipes to know what you are paying for. Pay attention to the fact that the Evermore food is nutrient-dense, without any of the fillers like peas, potatoes and rice which are plentiful in other products.  As I said to my friend, “Now look at little Miss Cookie, with her one remaining eye, and tell me how good it will feel to serve Evermore twice a day.”

NOTE: The women who own Evermore don’t even know I was writing this. I didn’t write it because Evermore is a sponsor of the Radio Pet Lady Network — it is because of my high regard for the company that they are sponsors.  When I reached out and invited them to be part of my world, they had relied solely on personal recommendations to grow the company and had never advertised or promoted themselves. Now that I’ve got Adrienne and Cookie on board, it’s their turn to tell the next person. Good old-fashioned word-of-mouth. [Pass it on!]

—Tracie Hotchner

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Evermore is a sponsor on Radio Pet Lady Network, by our invitation.