Whether or not you have children, many dog owners also view their canine companions as family members rather than simply pets. Just as you would for your human family, you want your dog to be safe, happy, and healthy. An important place to start is choosing a healthy diet for your pup.
However, gone are the days when you had only 3 or 4 brands to choose from on the shelves of your local grocery store. Pet food is a multi-billion dollar global industry, with countless brands to choose from. If that wasn’t enough to confuse, just wait until every dog owner you know starts weighing in with their opinion on what ingredients to avoid and what style of food is best.
To help ward off some of the confusion, we’ve written this article comparing two brands: Fromm and Blue Buffalo. We’ll let you know the pros and cons of these two brands, as well as give more details about a few of their products.
A Sneak Peek at the Winner: Fromm Dog Food
|Fromm Four- Star Nutrionals Chicken A La Veg Dry Dog Food||
Suitable for all life stages
No peas, made with whole grains, meat, fruits, and vegetables
|Fromm Gold Nutrionals Adult Dry Dog Food||
Contains probiotics and fatty acids
No ingredients from China
Our pick from this head-to-head battle of the brands is Fromm Dog Foods. We like that it is a family-owned company based in the United States that owns and operates only three plants. As a smaller company, Fromm can keep a tight leash on the quality of its ingredients, processing facilities, and food. We also appreciate the range of diet options available, especially considering they are a smaller operation.
Fromm offers several different recipes, but we think that these are two of their best:
Read on to learn more about our competing diets and why we think Fromm has the edge over Blue Buffalo.
About Blue Buffalo
What Are They Known For?
Blue Buffalo is known for their grain-free diets, as well as their use of “real meat” as the first ingredient in their food and the addition of other whole food ingredients like fruits and vegetables. They also produce limited-ingredient diets and a line of extra high-protein foods.
Where Is Blue Buffalo Made?
Blue Buffalo is made in the United States, although the company does not own all the facilities that make its food. Although the brand started out as a small, locally-owned company, its success led to an acquisition by General Mills, the human food corporate giant also responsible for Cheerios and other breakfast cereals. The growth of the company has led to some outsourcing in food production.
Where Does Blue Buffalo Source Its Ingredients?
Blue Buffalo reportedly makes every effort to source ingredients from the United States. They claim that they only purchase meats, grains, etc, outside the country when they aren’t readily available in the U.S. However, the company is vague about where it gets ingredients, such as vitamin and mineral additives. They specify that they don’t source meats and grains from China but don’t mention the other ingredients.
What Types Of Food Does Blue Buffalo Offer?
Blue Buffalo offers food for every life stage in canned and dry formulations. They offer grain-free and grain-inclusive diets. The brand offers foods made with unusual proteins like bison and limited ingredient formulas for dogs with food sensitivities.
What Are They Known For?
Fromm is known for being a small, family-owned brand in their 5th generation of producing pet food. They are based in Wisconsin, where the original Fromm family descendants still own and formulate the food themselves. In addition, they are known for a specific product line, Four-Star Nutritionals, which is designed to allow variety in meals without concern for GI upset.
Where Is Fromm Made?
Fromm is based in Wisconsin, where they own and operate three separate food plants. Two produce dry food and treats, and the other produces wet food. The company makes every product they sell at one of these plants, giving them complete control over every stage of the process.
Where Does Fromm Source Its Ingredients?
Fromm does not source any ingredients from China. Regarding the source of its ingredients, the company only states that they work with approved suppliers who ensure the quality of the ingredients before Fromm receives them.
What Types Of Food Does Fromm Offer?
Fromm offers three separate lines of dog food: Fromm Family Classics, Gold Nutritional, and Four-Star Nutritional. Canned and dry foods are available in each category, except Gold Nutritional, which only has dry. Each category offers life stage-specific diets except for Four-Star, which is formulated for all life stages.
Fromm features both grain-free and grain-inclusive diet options.
Fromm does not offer limited ingredient diets. Some of the Four-Star recipes are made with less common proteins like duck and salmon, but they still contain ingredients from other proteins like pork and chicken.
3 Most Popular Blue Buffalo Dog Food Recipes
Let’s take a quick look at 3 of Blue Buffalo’s most popular dog foods in more detail.
This bestselling Blue Buffalo diet is made from deboned chicken, rice, and vegetables, including peas, sweet potatoes, and carrots. It contains added supplements like glucosamine for joint health and antioxidants to support the immune system, and it contains no poultry by-products. The use of peas and other legumes in pet food is currently under investigation to determine if there’s a link to the development of heart disease in dogs and cats.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness diets are the brand’s attempt to craft food similar to what they think the wild ancestors of domestic dogs ate. This chicken recipe is high in protein and made without grain but has peas, sweet potatoes, and other fruits and vegetables. It contains fatty acids, glucosamine, and antioxidants. It’s also worth mentioning that domestic dogs are far removed from their wolf ancestors, and most don’t need to avoid grains unless they are following a vet’s orders.
One of the most popular of Blue Buffalo’s many canned diets is the Turkey Meatloaf Dinner. The bad news first: this diet also contains peas. Frankly, it’s hard to find a Blue Buffalo product that doesn’t have legumes. Like all Blue Buffalo recipes, this one starts with a whole protein source (in this case, turkey) and adds in fruits, vegetables, and (sometimes) grains. It’s also BPA-free and contains no artificial flavors or preservatives.
3 Most Popular Fromm Dog Food Recipes
Now let’s consider 3 of Fromm’s most popular dog food recipes.
This recipe is from Fromm’s Gold Nutritionals line, which is made with a combination of proteins and grains, fruits, and vegetables. Chicken is the primary protein source, but the food also contains duck and lamb. While this might make a tastier meal, should your dog ever develop food sensitivities, your novel protein options will be more limited since your pup has already been exposed to three in one diet. This food does not contain peas and has probiotics and fatty acids.
Fromm’s Four-Star line contains multiple recipes designed to be “interchangeable,” meaning a dog could eat a different one each day without getting an upset stomach. We suggest proceeding with caution as far as that claim goes, but in the meantime, the Chicken A La Veg is a solid dry food option. It contains chicken but no other meats. The diet is also full of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. It’s designed for all life stages, from puppy to senior.
This canned meal keeps the ingredient list fairly simple and easy to follow. Chicken, vegetables, and a lot of beans are on the menu with this recipe. The Shredded Chicken contains a lot of legumes, including peas, so the previous warnings regarding potential links to heart disease apply here. It’s also a grain-free diet, which isn’t necessary for all dogs.
Recall History of Blue Buffalo and Fromm
Blue Buffalo has dealt with several recalls over the years. The most recent was in 2018 when one of their beef diets was pulled off shelves due to elevated thyroid hormone levels. Other recalls include:
Fromm has issued two recalls during its history, once in 2016 and once in 2021. Both cases involved elevated levels of Vitamin D in some products.
Both Fromm and Blue Buffalo appear on a list of (mostly grain-free) dog foods being investigated for potential links to heart disease.
Blue Buffalo has also dealt with some truth in advertising lawsuits regarding the quality of their ingredients.
Blue Buffalo VS Fromm Comparison
This metric is a toss up because individual dogs’ preferences vary so widely. According to user reviews, most dogs like the taste of both Blue Buffalo and Fromm. However, both also have owners who report their pets wouldn’t touch the stuff. Different recipes may also be more preferred by certain dogs.
We’ll give the edge to Fromm here simply because we know they don’t source any of their nutrients from China. Blue Buffalo’s vitamins and minerals might come from the country, but we don’t know. As far as overall nutritional value, both diets conform to the same feeding standards set in the United States.
Fromm and Blue Buffalo are comparable in price, but we’ll let Blue Buffalo take this category simply because some of Fromm’s canned diets are more expensive than similar Blue Buffalo products. However, the prices of some of Blue’s more specialized diets do get higher. Depending on which product you choose, the price difference may be minimal.
Blue Buffalo offers more specific product lines and features limited ingredient diets, but Fromm does not. Fromm offers more “all life stage” diets, and the Four-Star line provides an impressive array of recipe options. Both brands offer grain-free diets, but Blue Buffalo has many more of them than Fromm.
Fromm uses no ingredients from China but isn’t clear on the source of their other ingredients. Because they are a small company, the overall ability to maintain quality standards is better. Blue Buffalo tries to get most of its primary ingredients from the United States but won’t say exactly where all their minor ingredients come from. They’ve also had more issues with recalls than Fromm. In addition, it’s hard to find a Blue Buffalo diet that’s pea-free.
Overall, while Blue Buffalo offers a broader product line, we worry somewhat about how well they maintain product quality and consistency due to outsourcing. Also, we don’t like that Blue Buffalo possibly uses products from China. Fromm makes small-batch food in three factories they own and uses no ingredients from China. They have a less problematic recall history and are relatively similar in price to Blue Buffalo.
For peace of mind, tighter control over the manufacturing process, and similar quality ingredients, we prefer the small family brand, Fromm, over the corporate-owned Blue Buffalo. However, Blue Buffalo is the better choice for dogs with food sensitivities. Always discuss your dog’s nutritional needs with your veterinarian before deciding on the proper diet. If you and your vet determine a food change is needed, try to make the switch gradually to avoid upsetting your pup’s tummy.
Featured Image Credit: 279photoStudio, Shutterstock