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Against the Grain Cat Food Review15 min read

July 10, 2020 12 min read

Against the Grain Cat Food Review15 min read

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Reading Time: 12 minutes

The grain-free trend has gained a great deal of traction in the pet industry and more brands are started to offer grain-free products exclusively – Against the Grain is one of them. This company only sells wet food but offers products for both dogs and cats. Their cat food recipes are made with whole, fresh, non-processed ingredients and formulated to provide nutrients that are biologically available. Not only does Against the Grain manufacture their own products, but they are family-owned and -operated as well.

Read on to see what we think of the brand and to see our reviews for their top products.

Against the Grain Cat Food1 min read
Brand
Overall Score
Pros
    Cons
      Variety of Recipes
      9/10
      Ingredient Quality
      8/10
      Price Per Pound
      9/10
      Recall History
      8/10
      Availability
      9/10
      Customer Reviews
      9/10

      How We Review Cat Food Brands

      Before we start exploring the Against the Grain brand, you probably want to know what makes us qualified to review these products. We know you want what’s best for your cat and we do too! It’s our goal to provide you with honest, objective information about the top pet food companies on the market so you can make an educated decision for yourself.

      When evaluating a pet food company, the most important thing we look for in cat food is a high-quality source of animal protein.

      It’s important to remember that cats are obligate carnivores, so they require a meat-based diet. Real animal protein like meat, poultry, or fish should be the first ingredient in any high-quality cat food. Healthy fats are important as well, and all cats require certain vitamins and minerals.

      Most pet food brands on the market are formulated to provide for a cat’s basic nutrient requirements, but the quality of each product varies. Some brands are better than others as well. In this review we’ll talk about how Against the Grain stacks up against the average brand.

      Here are some of the things we look for in a good cat food brand:

      • High-quality animal protein as the first ingredient
      • Rich in healthy animal fats (ex: chicken fat or salmon oil)
      • Few to no carbohydrate ingredients (especially within the top 5)
      • Limited number of main ingredients plus supplements
      • No low-quality fillers, grains, or by-products

      In addition to making sure any cat food we give our recommendation is one made with high-quality ingredients, we evaluate several other factors as well. We typically like brands that offer a wide variety of recipes and those that provide plenty of information about their ingredients and products. We also consider pricing and recalls as well as the availability of the brand as a whole.

      Overview of the Against the Grain Brand

      Against the Grain believes the equation for good quality of life is high-quality food and promises to give pets and their parents a revolutionary pet food experience.

      The Against the Grain brand offers only grain-free and gluten-free products made with carefully selected, fresh and sustainable ingredients. They use unique processing methods as well to ensure quality, safety, and maximum nutritional value.

      This company believes that all pets deserve a naturally nutritious, protein-based food that is minimally processed. Their formulas are made with no less than 85% meat with 0% grains, and everything they do is environmentally friendly.

      Against the Grain offers both cat food and dog food products, but only wet food.

      Their cat food products belong to two product lines: Farmers Market cat foods and Original cat foods. There are only a dozen cat food formulas in total, but each of them is designed for optimal protein content, maximum flavor, and quality nutrition.

      What Kind of Cat Food Products Do They Offer?

      As was mentioned earlier, Against the Grain is a wet-food only company. They offer two lines of cat food products: Farmers Market and Original.

      The Farmers Market product line is described as “new generation super food” for cats. Each of the six recipes features premium proteins and hand-selected superfoods like fresh-picked berries, turnips, and eggplant. These formulas are full of flavor and complete and balanced for cats.

      The Original cat food line includes seven recipes, each made with chicken or seafood. You’ll find unique proteins like crab, tilapia, and krill paired with egg and other protein-rich ingredients, all simmered in a flavorful gravy or sauce.

      Here is the nutritional information for the brand’s wet cat food recipes:

      Wet Food Recipes

      RecipeProtein %Fat %Fiber %Moisture %Calories
      Original Big Kahuna with Crab & Tilapia Dinner1220.58267 kcal/can
      Original Bimini Brunch with Krill & Egg Dinner12218270 kcal/can
      Original Captain’s Catch with Sardine & Mackerel Dinner1020.58360 kcal/can
      Original Chicken & Pumpkin Samba Dinner1220.583.568 kcal/can
      Original Aloha Tuna with Crab & Seaweed Dinner1220.58267 kcal/can
      Original Shrimp Daddy with Tuna & Salmon Dinner12218270 kcal/can
      Original Caribbean Club with Chicken & Cheese Dinner13.520.58274 kcal/can
      Farmers Market Chicken & Polyhauaii Berry Dinner12218265 kcal/can
      Farmers Market Chicken Mayflower with Turnip Dinner90.30.588.248 kcal/can
      Farmers Market Tuna Aubergine with Snapper & Eggplant Dinner110.50.58668 kcal/can
      Farmers Market Tuna Mango Tango with Duck Dinner100.50.58771 kcal/can
      Farmers Market Tuna Toscano with Salmon & Tomato Dinner12218265 kcal/can

      Product Recall History

      Pet food recalls happen when there’s a problem with the product. In many cases, recalls are issued due to safety reasons such as potential contamination or improper formulation, though they can also be caused by something as simple as a labeling error.

      Against the Grain has two product recalls in its history, but neither of them are for cat products.

      Here is an overview of Against the Grain pet food recalls:

      • February 14, 2017 (possible contamination) – Against the Grain issued a voluntary recall of its Pulled Beef with Gravy Dinner due to possible contamination with pentobarbital.
      • February 28, 2017 (possible contamination) – Against the Grain issued a voluntary recall of its Pulled Beef with Gravy Dinner due to possible contamination with pentobarbital.

      Having a product recall or two in a brand’s history isn’t necessarily an indication that the brand isn’t a good one. Mistakes happen, especially when products are manufactured in large quantities. It’s good to know that Against the Grain manufactures their own products instead of outsourcing production – this may, in part, account for their low number of recalls.

      Products Included in This Review

      NameTypeProtein %Fat %Top 5 Ingredients
      Original Big Kahuna with Crab & Tilapia DinnerWet122Tuna, water, tilapia, crab, palm oil
      Original Chicken & Pumpkin Samba DinnerWet122Chicken, water, pumpkin, tricalcium phosphate, palm oil
      Original Shrimp Daddy with Tuna & Salmon DinnerWet122Tuna, water, shrimp, salmon, palm oil
      Farmers Market Chicken & Polyhauai’i Berry DinnerWet122Chicken, water, sunflower oil, tapioca, polyhauaii berry
      Farmers Market Tuna Toscano with Salmon & Tomato DinnerWet122Bonita tuna, water, tapioca, sunflower oil, salmon

      Original Big Kahuna with Crab & Tilapia Recipe

      Product Info:

      • Type of Food: Wet
      • First 5 Ingredients: Tuna, water, tilapia, crab, palm oil
      • Guaranteed Analysis: 12% Protein Min, 2% Fat Min, 0.5% Fiber Max, 82% Moisture Max
      • Calories per Cup: 67 kcal/can (2.8 oz.)
      • Price Per Pound/Ounce: $0.35/ounce

      Ingredients:

      Tuna, Water Sufficient for Processing, Tilapia, Crab, Palm Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate, Cellulose Fiber, Xanthan Gum, Taurine, Ferrous Sulfate Monohydrate, Zinc Sulfate Heptahydrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Manganese Sulfate Monohydrate, Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate, Pantothenic Acid, Riboflavin Supplement, Choline Chloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Dicalcium Phosphate, Folic Acid, Potassium Iodide, Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Sulfate Monohydrate, Biotin, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin B12 Supplement.

      If you’re looking for a grain-free, gluten free recipe packed with flavor, this Against the Grain Original Big Kahuna with Crab & Tilapia Dinner could be a good choice.

      This recipe features fresh tuna as the primary ingredient with supplemental protein from tilapia and crab. Real animal protein makes up 3 of the first 4 ingredients, the other being water which is included for moisture. The total crude protein content is 12%, or about 66.7% dry matter.

      These three proteins are the primary ingredients used in the recipe – the only other main ingredients are palm oil, calcium triphosphate, cellulose fiber, and xanthan gum.

      Palm oil is a somewhat strange ingredient to see in pet food, and not one we often find. Palm oil is commonly found in cosmetics and personal care products and it is an ingredient that causes a great deal of conflict – its harvest is also linked to climate change.

      In the pet food industry, palm oil is typically used as a filler, so it’s a little concerning to see it used here.

      Original Chicken & Pumpkin Samba Recipe

      Product Info:

      • Type of Food: Wet
      • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, water, pumpkin, tricalcium phosphate, palm oil
      • Guaranteed Analysis: 12% Protein Min, 2% Fat Min, 0.5% Fiber Max, 83.5% Moisture Max
      • Calories per Cup: 68 kcal/can (2.8 oz.)
      • Price Per Pound/Ounce: $0.39/ounce

      Ingredients:

      Chicken, Water Sufficient for Processing, Pumpkin, Tricalcium Phosphate, Palm Oil, Tapioca, Taurine, Xanthan Gum, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Pantothenic Acid, Riboflavin Supplement, Choline Chloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate Monohydrate, Zinc Sulfate Heptahydrate, Manganese Sulfate Monohydrate, Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Potassium Iodide, Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Sulfate Monohydrate, Sodium Selenite).

      For cats who aren’t sensitive to chicken ingredients, this Against the Grain Original Chicken & Pumpkin Samba Dinner might be a good choice. Featuring fresh chicken and pumpkin as the top two ingredients, this recipe doesn’t contain any other added carbohydrates except for tapioca.

      Again, this recipe contains palm oil as a filler. Palm oil is the fifth ingredient on the list, so it’s possible that it contributes significantly to the composition of the food.

      Another ingredient worth noting is tapioca. Typically used as a grain free carbohydrate, tapioca is derived from the cassava plant. This ingredient is grain-free and has a very low risk of triggering food allergies, but it doesn’t contain a significant amount of starch.

      Overall, this recipe contains some very good ingredients like fresh chicken and pumpkin but some questionable ones as well. It’s also worth noting that there are a significant number of synthetic supplements rather than natural sources for key nutrients.

      Original Shrimp Daddy with Tuna & Salmon Dinner

      Product Info:

      • Type of Food: Wet
      • First 5 Ingredients: Tuna, water, shrimp, salmon, palm oil
      • Guaranteed Analysis: 12% Protein Min, 2% Fat Min, 1% Fiber Max, 82% Moisture Max
      • Calories per Cup: 70 kcal/can (2.8 oz.)
      • Price Per Pound/Ounce: $0.35/ounce

      Ingredients:

      Tuna, Water Sufficient for Processing, Shrimp, Salmon, Palm Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate, Cellulose Fiber, Xanthan Gum, Taurine, Ferrous Sulfate Monohydrate, Zinc Sulfate Heptahydrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Manganese Sulfate Monohydrate, Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate, Pantothenic Acid, Riboflavin Supplement, Choline Chloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Dicalcium Phosphate, Folic Acid, Potassium Iodide, Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Sulfate Monohydrate, Biotin, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin B12 Supplement.

      This Against the Grain Original Shrimp Daddy with Tuna & Salmon Dinner features three high-quality animal proteins: tuna, shrimp, and salmon. These ingredients make up three of the first four, water being the other ingredient added for moisture.

      Like the first two recipes, this formula contains palm oil as a main ingredient. There are no added carbohydrates, however, aside from small amounts of cellulose fiber and xanthan gum for thickening.

      This formula contains more synthetic supplements than main ingredients which is a little concerning, but not particularly surprising at an affordable price point. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly cat food high in protein, this could be one to consider.

      Farmers Market Chicken & Polyhauai’i Berry Dinner

      Product Info:

      • Type of Food: Wet
      • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, water, sunflower oil, tapioca, polyhauaii berry
      • Guaranteed Analysis: 12% Protein Min, 2% Fat Min, 1% Fiber Max, 82% Moisture Max
      • Calories per Cup: 65 kcal/can (2.8 oz.)
      • Price Per Pound/Ounce: $0.51/ounce

      Ingredients:

      Chicken, Water Sufficient For Processing, Sunflower Oil, Tapioca, Polyhauai’I Berry, Tricalcium Phosphate, Salt, Guar Gum, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Vitamin A Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin), Minerals (Zinc Oxide, Reduced Iron, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Sulfate Monohydrate, Copper Glycine Complex, Potassium Iodide), Choline Chloride, Taurine, Magnesium Sulfate, Potassium Chloride.

      The Farmers Market line of products from Against the Grain is priced a little higher than the Original product line, so we would expect the quality to be higher as well. However, this Chicken & Polyhauai’i Berry Dinner leaves something to be desired.

      It’s definitely a good sign that fresh chicken is the first ingredient, but the primary source of fat is plant-based (sunflower oil) and there are still a significant number of synthetic supplements.

      We’re happy to see this recipe doesn’t include palm oil and the use of tapioca is not a problem. We don’t know anything about Polyhauai’i berry, but we can assume it’s a natural source of nutrients. Other than that, the only other ingredients are salt and guar gum for thickening.

      Farmers Market Tuna Toscano with Salmon & Tomato Dinner

      Product Info:

      • Type of Food: Wet
      • First 5 Ingredients: Bonita tuna, water, tapioca, sunflower oil, salmon
      • Guaranteed Analysis: 12% Protein Min, 2% Fat Min, 1% Fiber Max, 82% Moisture Max
      • Calories per Cup: 65 kcal/can (2.8 oz.)
      • Price Per Pound/Ounce: $0.51/ounce

      Ingredients:

      Bonita Tuna, Water Sufficient For Processing, Tapioca, Sunflower Oil, Salmon, Tomato, Tricalcium Phosphate, Salt, Guar Gum, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Vitamin A Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin), Minerals (Zinc Oxide, Reduced Iron, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Sulfate Monohydrate, Copper Glycine Complex, Potassium Iodide), Choline Chloride, Magnesium Sulfate, Taurine.

      This Farmers Market Tuna Toscano with Salmon & Tomato Dinner is similar to the previous recipe but contains a secondary source of animal protein. Tapioca comes in as the third ingredient with sunflower oil again as the primary source of fat listed after.

      Like the first two recipes, this formula contains a significant number of synthetic supplements instead of relying on natural sources of key nutrients. Tapioca is natural, of course, but it is primarily a source of starch. Tomato provides some nutrition, but it’s difficult to tell how much is actually used in the recipe, considering the next ingredient is a supplement.

      It’s also worth noting that this recipe and the previous contain added salt. Many commercial pet foods do, but it’s generally not considered necessary as an additive to a balanced diet.

      What Do Customers Think of Against the Grain Cat Food?

      Against the Grain doesn’t seem to be the most popular cat food on the market in terms of sales, but the customers who’ve tried it seem pleased. Most products on Chewy have fewer than 80 customer reviews but most carry a 4-star average or higher.

      Many customers like the fact that Against the Grain offers a variety of poultry-free options, though some found their cats simply don’t enjoy the flavor.

      How Much Does Against the Grain Cat Food Cost?

      Generally speaking, Against the Grain is a fairly affordable cat food brand. It does, however, depend which product line and which formula you choose.

      The Original line of wet foods from Against the Grain cost an average of $0.35 per ounce which puts it in line with other affordable wet food companies. The Farmers Market line is a little more expensive, priced just over $0.50 per ounce. Even so, it’s a moderately priced brand by comparison.

      To give you a better idea how Against the Grain stacks up against other cat food brands, here is a quick chart to show you some average prices:

      Where Can You Buy Against the Grain Cat Food?

      When it comes to shopping for Against the Grain pet food, you have several options. Not only is this brand available from major online retailers like Chewy and Amazon, but you can purchase products directly from the brand’s website as well.

      National pet store chains like Petco and PetSmart don’t seem to carry the brand, but you may be able to find Against the Grain products in local pet shops.

      Our Final Thoughts: Is Against the Grain a Good Brand?

      Overall, Against the Grain seems to be a decent brand for the price. It’s unique that the brand only offers wet food formulas, and we like that many of them are poultry-free. The trouble is the company makes heavy use of plant-based fats and the Original line of products uses palm oil as a main ingredient.

      If you’re looking for a grain-free recipe for your cat, particularly if you’re concerned about food allergies, Against the Grain could be a good option to consider. It certainly isn’t the best brand on the market, but it’s easy to find online and the price isn’t exorbitant.

      Honestly, we wouldn’t recommend Against the Grain over objectively higher-quality brands rated 4/5 or higher, but it definitely wouldn’t be a bad choice for your cat.

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      Kate Barrington is avid dog lover and adoring owner of three cats, Kate’s love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. Kate is also a blogger for a number of organic and natural food companies as well as a columnist for several pet magazines
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