Written by John Seeberg

Julia Ogden

Reviewed by Julia Ogden

Updated: January 18, 2024

Essence Pet Foods Original (Dry) Review

Updated: January 18, 2024

Our Verdict

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Recommended

Essence Pet Foods Original dry cat food receives the Cat Food Advisor rating, 4.5 stars

This range of food lists good quality animal meat as the first two ingredients.  Protein levels are high, however, be aware that some plant-based proteins are used too.

Pros
  • First two ingredients listed as animal meat
  • High in protein
  • Good fat and moisture content
Cons
  • Contains some plant based protein
  • Limited range

Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile: Growth (kitten), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Essence Pet Foods Original dry product line includes three cat foods.

Product line Rating AAFCO
Air & Gamefowl 4.5 M
Ocean & Freshwater 4.5 M
Ranch & Meadow 4.5 M

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Recipe and Label Analysis

Essence Original Air & Gamefowl dry recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for a detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.

Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.

Essence Original Air & Gamefowl dry recipe

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

44.4%

Protein

20%

Fat

27.6%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Turkey, chicken, duck, duck meal, turkey meal, chicken meal, red lentils, chickpeas, green lentils, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural flavor, guineafowl, potassium chloride, coconut flour, choline chloride, pumpkin, magnesium proteinate, dandelion , taurine, fructooligosaccharide, salt, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, vitamin E supplement, rosemary extract, chia oil, niacin supplement, copper proteinate, sodium selenite, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin B5 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, vitamin A supplement, calcium iodate, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D supplement.


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4%

Red denotes any controversial items

Ingredients Analysis

The first, second and third ingredients are turkey, chicken and duck. All are considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin derived from the parts or whole carcasses of the bird” 1 and are naturally rich in the 11 essential amino acids required by a cat to sustain life.

The fourth and fifth ingredients are duck meal and turkey mealBoth are considered a meat concentrate and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh duck.

The sixth ingredient is red lentils which are a quality source of carbohydrates.  Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, lentils contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this cat food.

The seventh ingredient is chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Like peas, beans and lentils, chickpea is a nutritious member of the fiber-rich legume (or pulse) family of vegetables.

However, chickpeas contain about 22% protein.

The eighth ingredient is green lentils, another quality source of carbohydrates which contain about 25% protein.

From here the list goes on to include a number of other items. But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of the product.

However, this recipe contains sodium selenite, a controversial form of the mineral selenium.  Sodium selenite appears to be nutritionally inferior to the more natural source of selenium found in selenium yeast.

We note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added as probiotics to aid with digestion.

Also, this food also contains chelated minerals that have been chemically attached to protein.  This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better cat foods.

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Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, the Essence Original Air & Gamefowl dry food looks like an above-average product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 44.4%, a fat level of 20% and an estimated carbohydrate level of 27.6%.

As a group, the brand features an above-average protein content of 44.1% and an above-average fat level of 18.5%. Together these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 29.4% for the overall product line, alongside a fat to protein ratio of 42%.

This means that the Essence Original dry range contains higher than average protein, near-average carbohydrate and higher than average fat, when compared to typical dry cat food.

Final Word

This range of dry cat food offers high protein levels sourced from quality animal protein.  There is some plant based protein used which needs to be considered when evaluating the protein levels.  However, with added vitamins, this food offers a well balanced diet.

Has Essence Pet Foods cat food been recalled in the past?

No. Essence cat foods have never had a recall.

You can view a complete list of all cat food recalls since 2021 here.

To stay on top of any cat food product recalls, sign up for our free email alerts, here.

About

Essence Pet Foods was created by Pets Global, a California-based company that specializes in “holistic wellness pet food”.  

Essence is made in the same Minnesota and South Dakota facilities that produce Zignature foods.  The ingredients are sourced from the United States and imported from around the world.

Sources

1: [1. Adapted by the Cat Food Advisor and based upon the official definition for chicken published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, Official Publication, 2008 Edition]

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