Pawsitively Nutritious: Ainsworth’s Evolution in Pet Food

“Rachael is someone who cares deeply about food, nutrition and animal well-being,” Joyce says. “In fact, through 2016 Rachael’s Rescue, an organization that supports shelters and treatments for animals in need, will have donated more than $16 million to animal causes via the sales of Rachael Ray Nutrish.”

A Growing Litter

From 1933 until 2000, Ainsworth produced only one brand, Dad’s Pet Food. That changed when the company recognized the new generation of pet parents wanted to know what was in their pet’s food and gravitated to more natural cuisine with fewer artificial preservatives. In addition to that, according to Joyce, the company found that its consumers who wanted wholesome food on their dinner table would want the same for their dog’s bowl.

Ainsworth’s pet-first mentality has since spurred rapid growth over the past 15 years. First, Ainsworth added Better Than! snacks and in 2007 and 2008 made a deal with Rachael Ray to develop Nutrish pet food, which are high quality, natural and offer essentials vitamins and minerals.

Those moves proved successful as Ainsworth grew from a regional company to a national supplier of pet food serving grocery and mass retailers, including Walmart, Target, Amazon and Kroger.

After researching diets traditionally found in specialty pet stores only, Ainsworth found that it could offer a high-quality alternative at the supermarkets and grocery stores where consumers did most of their shopping.

“We have created multiple lines of products, including those that feature real meat as the first ingredient and contain no poultry by product meal,” Joyce says. “Our Zero Grain™ offerings are completely grain free, and our dish™ recipes feature meat first, contain no corn, wheat or soy, and include whole food inclusions, like real pieces of chicken and vegetables. Any time we develop a new product idea, we share that idea with Rachael and her team for feedback.”