The Honest Kitchen Produces Human Grade Dog Food
Photo: Ethan Pines

It’s no secret that the pet industry has exploded in the past few years, and now pet parents are spending more money than ever on their dogs and cats. There are luxury dog beds, pet accessories, and now even pet foods that are costing dog owners thousands of dollars a year. One pet food company, The Honest Kitchen, is proving that there is no limit to what pet parents will spend on quality dog products.

Lucy Postins, founder of The Honest Kitchen, aimed to start a company that would produce dog food that went above and beyond the quality of even the most luxurious kibble. It even states that on every box of The Honest Kitchen products.

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The dehydrated substance that comes from the box looks like a bag of granola that was put through a blender. Pet parents simply add water and they’ve got top-quality pet food. The ingredient list resembles the menu of a four-star restaurant including cage-free duck, free-range chicken, sweet potatoes, cranberries, and pumpkin.

Postins says that the ingredients she includes in her dog food recipes are the same ingredients that she uses to feed her human family. She founded the company over 13 years ago in her very own kitchen, but it didn’t take off as quickly as she expected, simply because her products aren’t marketed to the average pet owner.

The Honest Kitchen Produces Human Grade Dog Food
Photo: Ethan Pines

She’s aiming for consumers who shop at grocery stores like Whole Foods and who don’t serve nonorganic, genetically modified foods to their family. The company is testing the limits of how much consumers will spend on their pets by charging up to $120 for 40 pounds of dog food.

Although it took some time to grow, The Honest Kitchen captured $21 million in annual revenue last year and they project a growth of almost 50% for 2015. It all started in 1998 when Postins read that a raw diet may benefit her dog who suffered from regular ear infections. She knew that a raw diet had its risks and that it could get expensive.

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She wondered whether a dehydrated form would work with the same benefits. After a long struggle to figure out production she began creating her products right in her own kitchen. Operational difficulties continued for years, but Postins believed that by insisting on maintaining the human-grade label and implying a level of quality beyond any competing products, that The Honest Kitchen would survive its growing pains.

Now the company has plenty of investors, over 40 employees, and hundreds of loyal customers. Postins hopes to turn a profit this year, but says that she will never shed her motto “pets before profits.”

She recently turned down a lucrative deal with a Japanese distributor because they sell to stores that carry dogs who were raised in puppy mills. Postins believes that consumers will see that her company offers quality above everything else and that they care greatly for the canines that they feed.