What is the difference between meals and meat in pet foods?

Do wonder which whole meat contains the most protein? The answer is that a high-quality meat meal can provide more protein than the whole meats which are used to make pet food. Do you know why? This is why. Meat meal refers to dried byproducts of the rendering cooking process. Rendering is similar to making stew. However, the difference is that in this case, the stew is intentionally overcooked.

Rendering begins with a meat stew, then dries away the water and bakes the remainder. The result of this process is that you will have a highly concentrated protein powder. This is also called a meat meal.

However, after rendering, the final meat meal contains only ten percent water and the remaining higher percentage contains protein. That’s over four times the protein of an entire chicken!

What is whole meat in pet foods?

As pet food ingredient distributors, we are aware that whole meat is an essential part of healthy pet food. Meat contains a lot of protein, which helps with muscle growth and repair. As well as maintaining a healthy immune system.

Meat is an animal’s pure flesh and muscle. This is commonly found in shops, supermarkets, etc. It includes meat such as beef mince or chicken breast. This is the best quality and organic type of animal protein available in pet foods. If you read this on the label of any pet food, it’s a good sign.

·        By-product of meat

Meat by-products are the parts of the animal that remain after the meat good for human consumption has been removed. This includes parts such as lungs, kidneys, spleen, livers, brain, bone, blood, fatty tissue, stomach, and intestine.  Although specific organ meats like beef liver are incredibly nutritious, animal by-products sometimes contain less desirable animal components like fatty tissues.

What is a meat meal in pet foods?

Pet foods that contain the word meal on their labels mean that the ingredients are rendered. The raw material is crushed (sized), cooked, and pressed to remove the fat before being ground once again. This process turns the meat into a meal ingredient.

Rendering is defined as “the process of converting whole meat and poultry or their byproducts with no or very little value to safe, nutritious, and cost-effective products. This is made with high temperature and pressure.  It combines mixing, frying, pressing, evaporation, fat melting, and microbial and enzyme inactivation.

In comparison to whole products, a meat meal is often substantially lower in moisture. Most natural nutrients in the food are lost during this process.

Main differences between meal and meal

Whole meats have more water and lesser protein. To represent actual meat, pet food labels frequently include chicken or lamb. These protein sources contain seventy percent moisture when made without the addition of meat meals, much of which is lost during cooking. The label encourages the buyer to believe that the food is mostly composed of meat, when in fact it is not. Prior to cooking, whole meats are denser than grains, but not after. Although the presence of fresh meats may be advantageous, the moisture content of the meats is reduced a lot during the cooking process.

Meat meals are dry and contain more protein and lesser water. For example, chicken meal is almost dry and contains seventy percent meat proteins. That’s five times the flesh protein of real chicken. Therefore, chicken meals and other meat meals do not decrease below the grain weight during the cooking process, resulting in true meat-based pet food.


Not all meats and meals are equal in quality and taste. Some are excellent, while others are simply terrible. Everything comes down to the ingredients.  And one very crucial point to note is that no meal product can ever be superior to the ingredients used to make it. This is why you need to buy your ingredients from the best pet food ingredient suppliers on the market.

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