Laura Ward

Written by Laura Ward

Georgia Jeremiah

Reviewed by Georgia Jeremiah

Updated: January 18, 2024

Primal Freeze-Dried Nuggets Review Review

Updated: January 18, 2024

Our Verdict

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Highly Recommended

Primal Pet Food Freeze-dried Nuggets cat food receives the Cat Food Advisor highest rating, 5 stars.

This freeze-dried cat food range is made with real, human-grade meat such as duck, chicken, and pork. Recipes are high in protein and free of grain and synthetic vitamins. They also contain organic vegetables.

Pros
  • High in protein
  • Human-grade recipes
  • No artificial vitamins or minerals
  • Good choice of flavors
Cons
  • The brand has had a number of recalls

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

The product line includes seven cat foods.

Product line Rating AAFCO
Beef & Salmon 5 A
Chicken & Salmon 5 A
Duck 5 A
Pork 5 M
Rabbit 5 M
Turkey 5 M
Venison 5 M

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Recipe and Label Analysis

Primal Pet Foods Freeze-Dried Nuggets Chicken & Salmon were 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.

Primal Freeze-Dried Nuggets Chicken & Salmon

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

51.1%

Protein

34.8%

Fat

6.1%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Chicken (with ground bone), chicken liver, salmon, organic kale, organic squash, organic carrots, organic apples, organic pumpkin seeds, organic sunflower seeds, organic parsley, organic broccoli, organic blueberries, organic cranberries, organic sunflower oil, dried yeast, organic apple cider vinegar, fish oil, montmorillonite clay, salt, fish oil, cod liver oil, organic coconut oil, taurine, organic rosemary extract, Vitamin E supplement, liquid lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, liquid lactobacillus casei fermentation product, liquid lactobacillus reuteri fermentation product, liquid bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, organic ground alfalfa, dried organic kelp


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 2%

Red denotes any controversial items

Ingredients Analysis

The first ingredient is chicken (with ground bone). Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1

Chicken is naturally rich in the 11 essential amino acids required by a cat to sustain life. Ground bone is an excellent source of natural calcium.

The second ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The third ingredient is salmon. Salmon is an oily marine and freshwater fish not only high in protein but also omega 3 fatty acids, essential oils needed by every cat to sustain life.

The fourth ingredient is organic kale, a type of cabbage in which the central leaves do not form a head. This dark green vegetable is especially rich in beta-carotene, vitamins C, vitamin K and calcium.

And like broccoli, kale contains sulforaphane, a natural chemical believed to possess potent anti-cancer properties.

The fifth ingredient is organic squash, a nutritious addition high in complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.

The sixth ingredient is organic carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

The seventh ingredient is organic apples, a nutrient-rich fruit that’s also high in fiber.

The eighth ingredient is organic pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and, more importantly, linoleic acid — an essential omega-6 fat.

The ninth ingredient is organic sunflower seeds, a good source of plant-based fatty acids that are also rich in vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.

The tenth ingredient is organic parsley. Due to its exceptional vitamin and mineral content, parsley exhibits a remarkably high nutrient Completeness Score2 of 91.

The eleventh ingredient is organic broccoli. Broccoli is a healthy green vegetable and a member of the kale family. It’s notably rich in vitamin C and fiber and numerous other nutrients.

Like other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli is believed to provide anti-cancer benefits.

The twelfth and thirteenth ingredients are organic blueberries and organic cranberries. Both are a good source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.

The fourteenth ingredient is organic sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3’s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.

Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.

There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.

The fifteenth ingredient is dried yeast. Dried yeast can be a controversial item. Dried yeast contains about 45% protein and is rich in other healthy nutrients.

Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.

Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular cat is allergic to the yeast itself.

In any case, unless your cat is specifically allergic to it, we feel yeast should be considered an addition.

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.

Since this recipe contains a number of organic ingredients, we feel compelled to grant this line a more favorable status as we consider its final rating.

That’s because organic ingredients must comply with notably more stringent government standards — standards which significantly restrict the use of any synthetic pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, hormones or antibiotics.

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

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Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Primal Freeze-dried Nuggets Chicken & Salmon looks like an above-average product and is high in protein too.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 51.1%, a fat level of 34.8% and an estimated carbohydrate level of 6.1%.

As a group, the brand features an above-average protein content of 55.2% and a mean fat level of 26.4%. Together these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 10.4% for the overall product line, alongside a fat-to-protein ratio of 50%.

This means the Primal Freeze-dried Nuggets product line contains higher than average protein, above average fat and below average carbohydrate content when compared to typical freeze-dried cat food.

Final Word

Primal Pet Foods Freeze-dried Nuggets Chicken & Salmon recipe is an excellent source of high-quality protein and nutrients. It is made with natural, organic ingredients free from grains, carrageenan, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

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

Yes, Primal Pet Foods Inc. has had a number of recalls.

Since 2011 the following products have been recalled:

  • Single lot of Raw Frozen Primal Patties for Dogs (2022)
  • Primal Canine and Feline Freeze-dried Poultry Formulas (2017)
  • Feline Turkey Raw Frozen Formula (2015)
  • Feline Chicken & Salmon Formula (2011)

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

Primal Pet Foods Inc. is based in Fairfield, California. It was founded in 2000 by Matt Koss and acquired by Kinderhook Industries, LLC. in 2021.

Kinderhook owns Prairie Dog Pet Products, Himalayan and Holistic Hound, and will combine all four brands under a new name, Primal Pet Group.

All Primal Pet Foods products are manufactured in Fairfield, CA and Abilene, TX.

Sources

1: Association of American Feed Control Officials

2: Completeness Score is a measure of a food’s relative nutrient content and is computed by NutritionData.com from the USDA’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference

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