If you study the ingredient list of your dog’s favorite food, you almost always come across ingredients you aren’t familiar with, and meat meals like Beef Meal may be one of those.
While Beef is well-known, many dog owners are unsure what Beef Meal means and if it’s something their dog should be eating.
What Is Beef Meal?
Beef Meal is a concentrated form of Beef meat and tissue that has been processed to remove most of its moisture content.
This process, known as rendering, is done on an industrial scale and produces other well-known animal by-products like Beef Tallow.
Many dog owners do not realize that whole meat ingredients like Turkey, Chicken, or Beef contain a very high portion of water or moisture, as much as 75%.
You can see a few examples in the below chart.
As you can see, Beef is one of the worst offenders of this, containing far more moisture than other meats, at approximately 73%.
This high moisture content means that once this meat is cooked during the production process of dry dog food recipes, most of this moisture is lost, leaving a relatively small portion of meat remaining.
But the portion remains relatively stable due to meat meals like Beef Meal having this moisture removed in advance.
Beef Meal is an example of an accountable and transparent meat meal ingredient as it must be produced from Beef -based ingredients.
This contrasts with other meat meals like Bone and Meat Meal, which are far less accountable and could be made from various ingredients.
You can learn more about Bone Meal in our dedicated discussion – Bone Meal In Dog Food.
Why Is Beef Meal In Dog Food
As we touched on earlier, Beef Meal has had most of its moisture removed, which means it is a very nutritionally dense ingredient packed with animal-based protein and fat.
This nutritional density allows pet food manufacturers to include a relatively small portion of Beef Meal to provide nutrition compared to whole Beef ingredients.
Just like other red meat ingredients, Beef contains a relatively high proportion of fat compared to some leaner meats, with a ratio of protein to fat of 30:70, although this can vary depending on the source.
It is also typically the case that meat meals like Beef Meal are cheaper to purchase than whole Beef ingredients.
This is because much of the Beef used to produce Beef Meal is scraps and less desirable cuts of meat rather than those you’d be familiar with in the grocery store.
While that may not sound appealing, those scraps and cuts are still very nutritionally dense, and dogs will not turn their nose up at them.
Storage & Safety
An often overlooked reason that meat meals like Beef Meal are used in favor of whole meat ingredients is that they are far less prone to spoilage once they have undergone rendering.
This is an essential trait in the pet food manufacturing industry and reduces the risk of issues that could lead to recalls.
It also allows manufacturers to more easily transport and store the ingredients over a more extended period of time, enabling a more efficient supply chain.
Dog Food Brands That Use Beef Meal
While Beef itself may be one of the most common meat ingredients in dog food recipes, Beef Meal does see less use but is still found in hundreds of recipes.
There are many familiar dog food brands that use Beef Meal in their recipes, including Victor, Diamond, Nature’s Logic, Iams, Instinct, Wellness, Purina Pro Plan, Purina One, Purina Beneful, Pedigree, Acana, Taste of the Wild, Rachael Ray Nutrish, and American Journey.
While recently researching the use of ingredients in dog food recipes, we found that only 4 of the 100 most popular dry dog food recipes on Chewy.com contained Beef Meal which was less than we expected.
It may be a coincidence that very few of the Beef Meal including recipes are in the top 100, but it could also suggest that other meat ingredients are more popular.
You can see a perfect example of the use of Beef Meal in dog food recipes in the ingredient list of Nature’s Logic Canine Beef Meal Feast, shown below.
As you can see above, Beef Meal is the most abundant ingredient in the recipe, and given Beef Meal’s density, it means there is a huge portion of Beef present.
However, other brands tend to use a mix of Beef and Beef Meal in their recipes, and you can see an example of this in the ingredient list of Acana’s Red Meat Recipe, shown below.
As you can see here, Beef is the most abundant ingredient in the recipe and is joined by a smaller portion of Beef Meal.
However, given that Beef Meal is far more dense than Beef, it may be the case that there is more Beef in that smaller portion of Beef Meal than the larger portion of Beef.
It is also noteworthy that this recipe also includes other meat ingredients like Pork, Pork Meal, and Beef Fat which is typical of premium brands like Acana.