This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MeetPurina #CollectiveBias
I think the general public has this overwhelming belief that big is bad, or that popular is less than. I know I’ve often thought that large companies most certainly cut corners because they’re just out to make a buck. Or we believe that an affordable product can’t possibly be the best product on the market. I think we also struggle with wanting to be the first to try a product, the first to know something about a product, or to have the ability to tell your peers that you use the most expensive product on the market. Why? For bragging rights?
I was invited to spend a couple of days hobnobbing with folks who work for Nestlé Purina PetCare in St. Louis, Missouri in June. The trip was right in the middle of a massive heat wave and I was recovering from pneumonia. I almost didn’t make it, but I had this burning desire to get to know this company a little better. Little did I know it was going to be an experience that literally made me want to move to St. Louis and beg for a job with Purina, as well as one that converted me to a full-time Purina user for our dogs, Pearl and Sarge.
Watch this video! I’m in it!
In 2015, Nestlé Purina was voted the #3 best place to work in the U.S. behind Google and Bain & Company. The employees we met had been there for years, several for over 20 years, and everyone I spoke to fed their pets Purina products. I think that speaks volumes for the type of company Purina is and to the quality of products they provide.
The trip started with my arrival at the Hyatt at the base of the St. Louis arch and my room had a pristine view of the monument. I had just enough time to change, powder my nose, and head to the meet & great with some Purina employees where I had the opportunity to get to know some of the people we would be seeing in action at Purina’s St. Louis headquarters, as well as some of the other influencers who had been invited to the event. Day one started early. We walked into the main lobby of the Purina building, some of us accompanied by pets of our own, others of us admiring the pets Purina employees had brought to work with them. Everyone we met had a smile on their faces, people were laughing with one another, joking with their superiors and peers alike. It wasn’t at all a heavy atmosphere like the corporate America I’ve previously worked in. This was fun, easy, and I was in awe of the relationships it appeared people had with one another.
I went into the trip thinking of Purina as the big guy in pet food. I think when a big company like Purina exists, you think they’re only out to make a buck. They certainly cut corners or buy cheap ingredients or don’t possibly ever think of changing up formulas to reflect new scientific evidence or trends in pet food. I thought boutique, craft food had to be the best for my dogs. I thought CERTAINLY the more money I spent on food, the better it was for my animals.
I was wrong.
Let me tell you how I know, and why I now believe with every once of my being that Purina foods are the best foods for my pets.
Purina took us on a tour of their corporate headquarters including their research department, where I’m sorry to report, they are not working on an Everlasting Gobstopper of pet food. Instead, they’re working on developing foods that have the absolute best nutrition for our pets. That’s really all I can say. Sorry. Secrets and all that, but trust me, so much care and attention goes into the research being done by Purina. We spoke with some of the scientists behind the food, and they are passionate about what they do. They care about developing research and because they employ some of the brightest scientific minds out there, Purina is situated to be one of the first pet food brands to be able to develop cutting edge food. Can you call pet food cutting edge? I just did. Purina isn’t using someone else’s research to develop their own food, they are using their own, with their own team of scientists, veterinarians, and even animal psychologists. That’s big time.
Purina pet foods sold in the USA, are manufactured in Purina’s very own factories, right here in the USA. I know, I was shocked too. The manufacturing isn’t outsourced to someone else’s plant, it’s done in a Purina-owned plant where quality and sustainability are of the utmost importance.
Strict Quality Control
Purina pet foods undergo 30,000 quality control checks per day. Their foods and snacks are quality checked every step of the way. When an ingredient comes in the door, it is checked for quality right then and there. After literally every step, a quality check is made. Something as minor as the color of an ingredient will render it useless to the company. The quality assurances are extremely strict, and because of this, Purina stands by the food it sells. Once the product is packaged, a final quality check is made. We had the pleasure of getting to see the quality check being done on some foods and snacks. My friend, Beeb’s untrained eye couldn’t tell what was wrong with the food, even with a diagram in front of her. It was as simple as the carrot shaped food in Beneful being the wrong shape. There would have been nothing else wrong with the food because it had passed all previous quality checks, but because of this minor discrepancy, the batch would have been tossed. Purina meets or exceeds all federal and state requirements. They believe that quality starts with having the very best people on their team. They hire the best of the best in the industry, spend time investing in them and training them, and they have technology that allows them to scan ingredients for purity and quality before they even become the pet food you purchase on the shelf. After visiting Purina, I believe that my pet food goes through more quality checks than the food my family and I eat. The fact that the employees were so excited about the pet foods they lend a hand in putting on the shelves meant a lot to me. A company as large as Purina, full of employees who feed their pets those foods and snacks, that’s a really big deal.
Chef Amanda with Purina is absolutely amazing. She views food as an experience and she helps Purina develop flavors based on food that we find appealing, while making it healthful for our animals. We had the pleasure to sit in her kitchen and taste some of the creations she has made – food for humans inspired by certain Purina pet foods and snacks, and it was the best meal I’ve had in a long time. My husband is a 4-star restaurant general manager and was previously at a 5-star restaurant. Chef Amanda’s creations rivaled the food I’ve had at those restaurants.
Nestlé Purina has a rich history founded on the principle of purity being paramount, and I believe they stand by that. Their pet food was the first on the market and it was created out of necessity in St. Louis, MO where there was a need in this overwhelmingly busy hub of industry. Their food has evolved greatly since that time, but the checkerboard logo and high quality have remained the same.
Purina isn’t a company out to turn a profit, they are a company with a big heart for our pets and for the communities that they serve. They have built partnerships with non-profits in many areas of the country, and we had the pleasure to meet two of those organizations. One was the St. Louis Children’s Hospital where Purina has built a 300sf room where patients suffering from serious and sometimes terminal illnesses can go to visit with their animals. Having an area where patients can visit their animals completely embodies the Purina belief that humans and animals are better together.
Another organization was Urban Resource Institute NYC, or URI. They are an enormous shelter system for abused women and children. Research shows that many times, a woman will stay in an abusive situation because they cannot leave their pets behind for fear that their abuser will also abuse their animals. URI has partnered with Purina to allow women fleeing their abusers to take their pets with them in a program called URIPALS. I was really touched to the point of tears when Mr. Nathaniel Fields spoke of the program. I think it’s an incredible partnership and I feel so strongly about this as a cause.
Purina’s enormous heart and philanthropic efforts, combined with their strict quality assurances and care for our pets have made me a convert. I’ll never overpay for pet food again when I can buy food I know is of the very highest quality from a company I believe in so strongly I’d be willing to move to St. Louis tomorrow if they offered either Kyle or myself a job.
Thanks for the enlightening trip, Purina. I will never forget my visit to St. Louis and I would be happy to return any time you’ll have me.