When looking at the ingredient of a dog food formula, you may have noticed Tomato Pomace or Dried Tomato Pomace as one of the minor ingredients.
But what exactly is Tomato Pomace? Why is it used in so many dog food recipes, and is it a nutritious ingredient that can provide a notable benefit to your dog? Let’s break down these critical questions one at a time.
What is Tomato Pomace?
The skin, pulp, and crushed-up seeds of raw tomatoes are the core ingredients of that makeup Tomato Pomace.
It is created as a by-product of the juicing process that creates ketchup, tomato juice, tomato soup, and many other tomato-based products that we see and purchase on our grocery shelves.
Many years ago, this particular by-product may have gone to waste as there was no valuable use for it.
Today, however, Tomato Pomace is sold to dog food manufacturers who use it as an ingredient in their dog food formulas.
Many consumers consider the word by-product to be sinister and believe it should be avoided.
Why is Tomato Pomace in Dog Food?
There are a few reasons why Tomato Pomace is present in dog food. One of the most notable of these reasons is that Tomato Pomace contains a significant amount of soluble fiber.
Dogs need soluble fiber in their diet for the same reason that humans do – healthy digestion and regular bowel movements.
This soluble fiber attracts water and slows the overall speed of digestion. This reduced rate of digestion then allows for more minerals, vitamins, and nutrients to be absorbed as the food sits in the stomach for a more elongated period.
Therefore soluble fiber is essential for healthy and regular bowel movements. Soluble fiber can also be important for another reason.
It can help lower cholesterol and keep blood sugar levels stable, which can particularly help dogs suffering from diabetes.
The importance and the critical role of fiber in the diets of dogs is one of the reasons that analysis of dog food must contain the minimum amount of fiber present.
Is Tomato Pomace Nutritious?
The nutrition of Tomato Pomace is perhaps its most debatable feature and very much depends on the quality of the Tomatoes that the Tomato Pomace is derived from.
High-quality tomatoes are likely to contain high amounts of antioxidants and other vitamins such as Vitamin C, Vitamin K1, and Potassium.
However, lower-quality tomatoes are likely to provide a minimal amount of these beneficial antioxidants and vitamins.
Therefore, without knowing the exact quality or source of the tomatoes used to produce the Tomato Pomace used in dog food formulas, it is difficult to say whether it will add any significant nutritional value past its high levels of soluble fiber.
It is also worth noting that the nutrition found in Tomato Pomace will likely depend on the process used to produce it and how efficient that extraction is.
If the process is highly efficient, there may be little to no nutrition remaining and only soluble fiber.
What is the Difference Between Tomato Pomace and Dried Tomato Pomace?
The first thing we need to understand is that Tomato Pomace is naturally high in water. This is unsurprising as we just discussed the large portion of soluble fiber that it contains.
As a consequence, this soluble fiber will naturally retain water unless it is dried out. Drying Tomato Pomace removes the majority of this water.
However, this drying process does not reduce the ability of Tomato Pomace to act as an excellent source of soluble fiber.
What most people do not realize is that dry dog food or kibble is cooked during the manufacturing process.
This cooking process removes the vast majority of moisture from all the ingredients used in the formula. This cooking process is very similar to the drying process that Dried Tomato Pomace would undergo.
Therefore non-dried Tomato Pomace will end up being in a very similar state to dried Tomato Pomace by the time it reaches your dog’s bowl.
A similar comparison could be the use of meat meals vs. fresh meat. Both ingredients can both provide the same nutrition, but the meat meal has already had its moisture removed, and therefore its portion will not shrink during the cooking process.
Should I be Concerned about High Levels of Pesticides in Tomato Pomace?
It is without question that most Tomatoes contain high levels of pesticides. Pesticides are widely used in Tomato production across the USA, Mexico, and Canada.
However, there are two reasons that you should not be overly concerned about this heavy use of pesticides.
Firstly the tomatoes used for Tomato Pomace are the same tomatoes that we eat on a daily basis in foods such as Pizza, Pasta, Ketchup, and Tomato Juice.
Therefore if you aren’t concerned about eating these yourself, then it would be hypocritical and odd to be so overly worried on behalf of your dog.
Secondly, the quantities of Tomato Pomace present in most dog food formulas is quite low.
So low, in fact, that your dog would have to eat a considerable amount of their food to consume any significant quantity of Tomato Pomace.
While it is true that dogs, especially toy breeds, are much smaller than humans, even the proportion of Tomato Pomace relative to the dog’s size is not significant.
However, if you are very concerned about your and your dog’s consumption of pesticides or the general use of pesticides in modern farming, you may want to go with a dog food formula that contains ingredients that need minimal pesticides to grow effectively.
Which Dog Foods Contain Tomato Pomace?
Tomato Pomace sees widespread use across the industry, and Premium dog food brands such as Taste of the Wild, Weruva, Fromm, Wellness, Victor, Blue Buffalo, Hill’s Science Diet, Royal Canin, and Canidae, among others, use Tomato Pomace as an ingredient in some of their recipes.
While researching ingredient use in dog food recipes, we found that of the 100 bestselling dry dog food recipes on Chewy.com, 23 of them contained Tomato Pomace, which is not an insignificant portion.
You can see an example of this below in the ingredient list of Taste of the Wild’s High Prairie Puppy Formula.
As you can see, Tomato Pomace is present in a notable portion, nestled between Chicken Fat and other meat ingredients like Bison and Venison.
Some of these dog food brands also advertise the logic behind Tomato Pomace’s inclusion in their recipes, such as Taste of the Wild.
As you can see below, Taste of the Wild state that Tomato Pomace is included in their formulas as it is an excellent source of Soluble Fiber and Antioxidants, which mimics what we just discussed above.
What Dog Foods Don’t Contain Tomato Pomace?
However, not all dog food brands use Tomato Pomace as an ingredient. While we don’t know the exact reason why these brands choose not to include Tomato Pomace, we can make an educated guess.
Some premium dog food producers include other sources of soluble fiber and antioxidants in their formulas, such as fruits or vegetables like berries and Pumpkin.
Similar Ingredients To Tomato Pomace
However, there are other brands out there that don’t use Tomato Pomace but instead use other similar fiber-providing ingredients like Dried Beet Pulp.
While derived from a different source, Dried Beet Pulp is extremely similar to Tomato Pomace and is easily interchangeable.
It is produced from sugar beet, but due to the efficiency of the processing, there is almost no sugar remaining, leaving a high-fiber material that can be sold to pet food manufacturers.
You can learn more about this ingredient in our article Dried Beet Pulp In Dog Food.
Alternatively, some pet food brands have chosen to use questionable sources of fiber in their recipes that raise many more eyebrows than Tomato Pomace or Dried Beet Pulp.
The most notable example of this is Powdered Cellulose which is an extremely vague ingredient that is essentially pure fiber derived from some form of plant material.
While this may not sound awful, it’s important to understand this may not be an agricultural product, and there are claims that Powdered Cellulose can be produced from industrial or forestry waste.
You can learn more about this controversial ingredient in our article Powdered Cellulose In Dog Food.
Tomato Pomace – The Verdict
Tomato Pomace is not something you need to feed your dog actively, and therefore you should not get worked up or fret if it is absent from your dog’s favorite formula.
While it does have some benefits in antioxidants and soluble fiber, both of these can be provided both other ingredients such as Pumpkin or fresh fruit. These could be given to your dog from within a formula that contains them or as a tasty treat.
If you are worried that Tomato Pomace could be dangerous, rest assured that in small quantities, it is likely to have no serious adverse effects on your dog’s diet or overall health.
The only reason to avoid Tomato Pomace is if it is used in overly high quantities, as it will not provide the protein and fat that your dog desperately needs.