Freshpet Vs. Blue Buffalo: Which Is The Better Pet Food?

When it comes to feeding our furry companions, we want to provide them with the best nutrition possible. Two popular brands of pet food that promise quality ingredients and nutrition are Freshpet and Blue Buffalo. But with so many options on the market, how do you decide which is the better choice for your dog or cat?

This comprehensive guide will compare Freshpet and Blue Buffalo pet foods to help you determine the pros and cons of each.

A Brief Comparison Table

FactorFreshpetBlue Buffalo
Food TypesRefrigerated rolls, patties, stewsDry kibble, canned wet food
Manufacturing ProcessHigh pressure pasteurizationExtrusion, baking
Main Protein SourcesChicken, beef, turkey, salmonChicken, fish, lamb, bison
Fruits/Veggies UsedSpinach, carrots, apples, blueberriesSpinach, cranberries, celery, parsley
Grain IngredientsBrown rice, oats, barleyBrown rice, barley, oatmeal
Price Per Pound$4.29-$10.99$3.75-$4.00 (dry kibble)
Recall HistoryNo recallsInfrequent limited recalls
Food SafetySuperior via high pressure processGood manufacturing protocols
DigestibilityExcellent due to minimal processingModerate digestibility
Life Stage OptionsFormulas for all agesFormulas for all ages
ConvenienceRequires refrigerationReady to serve from bag or can

Overview Of Freshpet And Blue Buffalo


Freshpet and Blue Buffalo both market themselves as natural, healthy pet food options.

Freshpet is a refrigerated pet food that uses fresh meats, vegetables, and grains in its recipes. It has increased in popularity in recent years as pet owners have become more concerned about using fresh, minimally processed ingredients.

Blue Buffalo offers both dry kibble and canned wet food. It was one of the first brands to focus heavily on natural ingredients free of by-products, corn, wheat, and soy. Blue Buffalo advertises itself as pet food made by pet lovers and promotes the use of “cold-formed manufacturing” which helps preserve nutrients.

When comparing ingredient labels, both brands feature real meat as the first ingredient with added fruits and vegetables. They also pride themselves on the exclusion of artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors. One difference is that Freshpet undergoes high-pressure pasteurization to extend shelf life while ingredients in Blue Buffalo formulas are simply cooked.

Freshpet Nutrition

Freshpet foods are cooked using a patented High Pressure Pasteurization process. This uses high pressure to eliminate harmful bacteria while preserving the integrity of ingredients. Freshpet claims this unique cooking process sets them apart from any other pet food, fresh or dry, in nutritional quality.

Protein sources vary based on the recipe and include chicken, beef, salmon, turkey, and eggs. Carbohydrate sources come from grains like brown rice, barley, and oats. Fruits and veggie ingredients feature spinach, blueberries, apples, and carrots. Freshpet selects only 100% natural ingredients with no fillers, artificial preservatives or flavors.

Key nutritional benefits of Freshpet foods:

  • Excellent source of protein from meat and egg ingredients
  • Natural fiber from fruits and vegetables
  • Probiotics to support healthy digestion
  • Antioxidant-rich from real fruits and veggies
  • Free of corn, wheat, soy, by-product meals, artificial preservatives

The high pressure pasteurization process allows the food to retain more nutrients than traditional extrusion or baking manufacturing. The food also has lower carbohydrate levels compared to many dry kibbles.

Blue Buffalo Nutrition

The key ingredients in Blue Buffalo formulas include real meat, fish or poultry as the first ingredient plus wholesome whole grains, garden veggies and fruit.

Some of their unique proteins include venison, bison, duck, rabbit, salmon, trout, and turkey which provide pets with a variety of nutrients. Their carbohydrate sources include oatmeal, brown rice, barley, and sweet potatoes.

Similar to Freshpet, Blue Buffalo foods also contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals from ingredients like spinach, blueberries, kelp, and parsley. They add in Omega fatty acids from fish oil sources and never use corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

Blue Buffalo
Blue Buffalo

Pros of Blue Buffalo nutrition:

  • Real meat or fish is always the first ingredient
  • Whole grains provide fiber
  • Contains fatty acids, vitamins and chelated minerals
  • Free of by-product meals and artificial additives
  • Some grain-free options available

One thing to note is that while Blue Buffalo meets basic nutritional requirements, their quality control has come under scrutiny over inaccurate labeling claims. Make sure to read each formula’s ingredients list closely.

Ingredient Sourcing

Freshpet and Blue Buffalo take pride in using high quality ingredients from American based suppliers.

Freshpet Sources:

  • Beef and chicken from North America
  • Salmon from the Pacific Northwest
  • Fruits and veggies from U.S. based farmers
  • Grains sourced from sustainable America farms

Blue Buffalo Sources:

  • Meat from American farms and ranches
  • Fish supplied from trusted vendors and certified sustainable fisheries
  • Fruits and vegetables from U.S. farmers
  • Grains like oats, barley and brown rice from America

Both brands aim to source as many ingredients as possible from the United States. They list all supplier sources and countries of origin on their websites for transparency.

Also Read: Choose Between TLC Dog Food And Blue Buffalo.

Product Safety Standards

Safety should be your top priority when selecting any pet food. Here is how Freshpet and Blue Buffalo measure up:

Freshpet Safety:

  • High pressure pasteurization eliminates harmful bacteria like Salmonella and Listeria
  • Small batch cooking reduces risk of cross contamination
  • Validation through testing each batch for nine known pathogens
  • Use of human food grade ingredients

Blue Buffalo Safety:

  • Stringent safety protocols for all manufacturing facilities
  • Supplier approval process and raw material testing
  • Individual product line changeovers and equipment cleaning
  • Random end product sampling and testing

Both adhere to strict quality control and have extensive testing processes in place to ensure safety. Freshpet’s unique pasteurization process gives them an advantage over traditional extruded and baked kibbles in reducing pathogen risks.

Recall History

It’s always a good idea to research any brand’s recall history before purchasing. Here is the recall background for each:

Freshpet Recalls:

  • None to date

Blue Buffalo Recalls:

  • March 2017 – one canned dog formula recalled due to potentially elevated beef thyroid levels
  • May 2016 – Health bars recalled due to possible mold contamination
  • November 2015 – some packages of bones had potential salmonella contamination

While Blue Buffalo has issued a few recalls over labeling and quality issues, none have caused serious widespread cases of illness or injury in pets. Their willingness to quickly issue recalls shows dedication to fixing errors. Overall their recall rate is average for the pet food industry.

Freshpet’s lack of any recalls to date is impressive and instills great confidence in the safety of their products. Their unique technology likely contributes to their excellent recall track record thus far.

Pricing Differences

There is a significant price difference between Freshpet’s refrigerated foods versus Blue Buffalo’s traditional kibble and canned formulas:

Freshpet Pricing

  • Refrigerated rolls and patties range from $4.29 to $10.99 per pound
  • Wet stews and chunky recipes run $3.79 to $7.49 per 12.5 ounce container

Blue Buffalo Pricing

  • Dry kibble bags start at $14.99 for 4 pounds up to $64.99 for 24 pounds
  • Wet canned formulas cost $1.79 to $3.99 per 13 ounce can

Based solely on price point, Blue Buffalo provides the more budget friendly option. However, with Freshpet you are paying for the convenience of refrigerator-stored food with no preservatives. You can feed the rolls over a longer timeframe as needed Vs. canned food.

Freshpet does offer bundle pricing on their website and select retailer subscriptions to help offset the higher prices. Blue Buffalo also regularly offers coupons and rebates.

Also Read: Comparison Between DogVacay And Rover

Cat Food Options Comparison

Both brands offer extensive selections for cats:

Freshpet Cat Food

  • Varying chunk sizes from pate to shreds
  • Eight dry matter formulas like chicken and salmon
  • Four broth-based recipes for hydration
  • Six wild inspired recipes with unique proteins

Blue Buffalo Cat Food

  • Four different dry kibble lines including Freedom grain-free
  • Dozens of canned wet food recipes
  • High protein options for kittens to seniors
  • Limited ingredient formulas for food sensitivities

No matter your cat’s life stage or dietary needs, both brands have recipes suited for them. Blue Buffalo does have more size options on their dry kibble and slightly lower calorie selections for less active cats.

Dog Food Options Comparison

As with cat food, Freshpet and Blue Buffalo offer a wide selection when it comes to their dog foods:

Freshpet Dog Food

  • Nine dry matter recipes featuring their roll or patty formula
  • Six wet food Stew recipes for dogs of all sizes
  • Four wild inspired protein lines like Venison & Bison
  • Specific formulas for puppies and small breeds

Blue Buffalo Dog Food

  • Eight dry kibble lines including Freedom grain-free
  • Canned wet foods in stew, grill and chunky styles
  • Formulas for puppies, small breeds, large breeds and seniors
  • Several grain-free and limited ingredient recipes

Both feature recipes to match a dog’s life stage and accommodate common food sensitivities. Blue Buffalo does have more protein-boosted and athlete formulas for highly active dogs. Their dry kibble also comes in different sized bags better suited for multi-dog households.

Customer Reviews

Looking at actual customer feedback can provide helpful insight into quality and palatability.

Freshpet Reviews

  • 78% give 5 star rating
  • Praise ease of switching dogs or cats over to it
  • Dogs and cats love taste
  • Helps resolve digestive issues
  • Main complaints on pricing and consistency

Blue Buffalo Reviews

  • 68% give 4 or 5 star rating
  • Dogs enjoy the taste and have less waste
  • Helps dogs with allergies and skin issues
  • Some quality issues noted around mold and bugs
  • Most takeaway is need to switch formulas frequently

For both brands, the majority of reviews are overwhelmingly positive. The main drawbacks noted are affordability for Freshpet and some quality control issues with Blue Buffalo.

Feeding Transition Tips

When switching your pet from any current food to a new diet, follow these tips:

  • Gradually transition over 5-7 days by mixing in increasing amounts of the new food
  • Keep an eye on stool consistency and energy levels
  • Avoid sudden food transitions which can upset your pet’s stomach
  • Monitor for new signs of food intolerance or allergic reaction
  • Adjust amount fed based on your pet’s ideal body weight and activity level

Transition slowly between any brand, type or protein source of food. This allows your pet’s digestive system to adjust.

Also Read: Comparison Between World’s Best Cat Litter Multi-Cat and Regular

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is Freshpet a good brand?

Yes, Freshpet is considered a top brand in the premium pet food category. They use high quality proteins, minimal added carbohydrates, all natural ingredients, and a unique cooking process to create nutritious refrigerated foods.
The majority of customer reviews and pet owner feedback on Freshpet are extremely positive. Their products are made in the USA in company-owned facilities giving them good control over sourcing and production.

Is Freshpet dog food safe for dogs?

Freshpet goes above and beyond most pet food brands when it comes to food safety. Their high pressure pasteurization process eliminates any pathogens like salmonella and listeria that could make dogs sick. They adhere to strict quality control measures with extensive testing at their own facilities.
To date, Freshpet has never issued a recall which is quite impressive for a pet food company. Based on their safety record and processing standards, Freshpet dog food appears to be very safe for canine consumption.

What brands are similar to Freshpet?

Some other refrigerated fresh style pet food brands that compare to Freshpet include:
The Farmer’s Dog
Pet Plate
These all offer minimally processed, preservative-free recipes using premium ingredients. They require refrigerated storage and timely feeding like Freshpet. Some other brands that align with Freshpet’s natural, high protein focus are Wellness Core, Castor & Pollux Organix, and Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost.

Is farmers dog better than freshpet?

The Farmer’s Dog and Freshpet are comparable in terms of their use of fresh, human grade ingredients and emphasis on natural nutrition. The Farmer’s Dog may have an edge when it comes to protein content with most recipes exceeding 35% protein.
Their foods also undergo a gentle cooking process called High Pressure Processing versus Freshpet’s high temperature High Pressure Pasteurization.
However, Freshpet does offer better customization for different life stages and food sensitivities. They also have two manufacturing facilities to keep up with demand versus Farmer’s Dog’s one location. Overall, The Farmer’s Dog and Freshpet are likely on par nutritionally so you can’t go wrong with either brand.
Hopefully this detailed comparison of Freshpet and Blue Buffalo pet foods has provided some helpful guidance to choose the best option for your dog or cat. No matter which brand you select, providing our pets with quality nutrition helps set them up for long term health and happiness.

Also watch this about Freshpet!

The Verdict

So, which comes out on top in this Freshpet versus Blue Buffalo comparison?

Here is a quick recap:

Freshpet Pros:

  • Minimally processed, refrigerated fresh foods
  • Superior food safety via high pressure pasteurization
  • Excellent digestibility when transitioned slowly
  • Simple ingredient lists of high quality
  • Protein-rich with added vitamins from fruits/veggies
  • Customized nutrition for different life stages

Potential Freshpet Cons:

  • Much higher cost per pound
  • Must feed promptly or refrigerate leftovers
  • More frequent purchases required
  • Limited protein formulas

Blue Buffalo Pros:

  • Uses premium proteins and carbohydrate sources
  • Good variety of grain and grain-free recipes
  • General positive feedback on taste
  • Better pricing for budget-conscious owners
  • Range of diet styles from limited ingredient to high protein

Potential Blue Buffalo Cons:

  • Recalls related to quality control issues
  • Some formulas change more frequently
  • Higher carbohydrate content in some recipes
  • Less transparent about manufacturing

Overall, both Freshpet and Blue Buffalo offer quality nutrition and would be great choices for your dog or cat. Freshpet does seem to edge out Blue Buffalo in terms of minimally processed recipes, superior food safety, digestibility, and use of fresher ingredients. For pet owners needing a more affordable option, Blue Buffalo provides good nutritional value at a reasonable price point. Try out samples of both when making your decision and feed whichever your pet seems to tolerate and enjoy the most.

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