Cat Food Reviews

Essence Cat Food Review14 min read

July 31, 2020 11 min read

Essence Cat Food Review14 min read

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Reading Time: 11 minutes

Your cat is a carnivore – it’s in his blood. When shopping for cat food, protein is the most important thing to look for.

Unfortunately, not all cat food brands have the same priorities you do.

When it comes to protein-rich cat food, Essence is on the ball. This brand understands that protein is what’s important for carnivores like your cat – it’s what builds strong muscles and fuels healthy energy.

Their recipes are designed with a “meat first” philosophy to promote optimal health and wellness.

Just because a pet food brand makes lofty promises doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good. It’s your job as a responsible pet owner to do your own evaluations of products before you buy.

That being said, there’s no harm in asking for help – that’s what we’re here for!

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

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

      How We Review Cat Food Brands

      The higher the quality your cat’s food, the healthier and happier he’ll be. But how do you choose a good cat food brand?

      We’re here to help you decide by providing you with honest, unbiased reviews of some of the most popular cat food brands out there.

      Before you take our recommendations, however, we want to help you understand how we come by these recommendations.

      We test most of these products ourselves, but we also perform an in-depth analysis of the brand itself and their popular products to determine the quality.

      When it comes to a high-quality cat food, it really comes down to the ingredients.

      Any good cat food (especially one we recommend) will start with an animal source of protein as the main ingredient. The carbohydrate content should be as low as possible and these ingredients certainly shouldn’t outweigh the protein. The more digestible and nutritious they are, the better.

      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

      Not only do we check for high-quality ingredients in the brands we recommend, but we also take a look at the variety the brand has to offer and its history of recalls. We also factor in things like pricing, availability, and customer reviews when making our recommendations.

      Overview of the Essence Cat Food Brand

      Your cat is descended from wild ancestors and even though cats were domesticated long ago, your cat’s nutritional needs don’t differ significantly from those of his wild counterparts. He still needs plenty of protein and a balance of essential nutrients. Essence understands that.

      The Essence brand was launched in 2019 by Pets Global, the founders of Zignature and Fussie Cat. Essence cat foods are produced in the United States in Minnesota and South Dakota, sold exclusively in independent brick and mortar stores.

      Every Essence cat food recipe is formulated in keeping with a “meat first” philosophy. Essence knows “protein is important to carnivores” and it is their goal to create premium pet foods made with the highest quality ingredients, loaded with animal proteins to bring your cat closer to nature.

      Not only does Essence focus their recipes on protein, but they make sure their proteins come from clean and responsible sources. They come from all over the world, including unique flavors like guinea fowl, herring, boar, lamb, turkey, and more.

      Essence guarantees that their recipes are made with 85% animal ingredients, one of the highest levels on the market. They use novel protein sources in unique combinations to create flavors your cat will love while providing the balanced nutrition he needs.

      What Kind of Cat Food Products Do They Offer?

      Essence is a very new brand, having only been launched in 2019. Their product offering is fairly limited which isn’t too surprising. At this time, they only offer 3 dry food and 3 wet food formulas.

      Here is the nutritional information for some of the most popular cat food recipes:

      Dry Food Recipes

      RecipeProtein %Fat %Fiber %Moisture %Calories/Cup
      Air & Gamefowl Dry Food4020410448
      Ocean & Freshwater Dry Food4017.5510418
      Ranch and Meadow Dry Food3919410421

      Wet Food Recipes

      RecipeProtein %Fat %Fiber %Moisture %Calories/Can
      Air & Gamefowl Wet Food107178207
      Ocean & Freshwater Wet Food10.571.278184
      Ranch and Meadow Wet Food107178194

      Product Recall History

      Before committing to a pet food brand, it’s always a good idea to check the recall history. A recall or two isn’t necessarily an indication of poor quality, but it is helpful information to know when shopping.

      A pet product recall happens when there’s a problem with the food and it needs to be removed from pet store shelves. This often happens when an ingredient is tainted or when the product tests below proper levels for a certain nutrient. It can also be the result of a packaging or a simple labeling error.

      To our knowledge, neither Essence nor Pets Global has had a product recall to date.

      Products Included in This Review

      NameTypeProtein %Fat %Top 5 Ingredients
      Air & Gamefowl Dry FoodDry4020Guinea fowl, duck, turkey, chicken, duck meal
      Ocean & Freshwater Dry FoodDry4017.5Salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel, cod meal
      Air & Gamefowl Wet FoodWet107Turkey, duck broth, guineafowl, quail, duck
      Ocean & Freshwater Wet FoodWet10.57Trout, salmon, whitefish, fish broth, herring
      Ranch and Meadow Wet FoodWet107Lamb, lamb broth, pork liver, pork, natural lamb flavor

      Air & Gamefowl Dry Food

      Product Info:

      • Type of Food: Dry
      • First 5 Ingredients: Guinea fowl, duck, turkey, chicken, duck meal
      • Guaranteed Analysis: 40% Protein Min, 20% Fat Min, 4% Fiber Max, 10% Moisture Max
      • Calories per Cup: 448 kcal/cup
      • Price Per Pound/Ounce: $4.90/pound

      Ingredients:

      Guinea Fowl, Duck, Turkey, Chicken, Duck Meal, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Garbanzo Beans, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Flavors, Guinea Fowl Meal, Red Lentils, Coconut Flour, Potassium Chloride, Tricalcium Phosphate, Pumpkin, Choline Chloride, Dandelion Greens, Calcium Carbonate, Taurine, Fructooligosaccharide, Salt, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, D-calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate), Chia Seed Oil.

      When reading the ingredients list for this recipe, we were very pleased. Not only does it list a high-quality source of animal protein as the first ingredient, but the first seven.

      More than that, most of these ingredients are concentrated sources of protein like duck meal and turkey meal.

      The first carbohydrate ingredient in this recipe is garbanzo beans and it doesn’t appear until the eighth slot. Red lentils and coconut flour are the only other carbohydrates that appear on the list before any of the supplements.

      Overall, the estimated carbohydrate content of this recipe is under 20%.

      Though the protein content of this recipe is high, the carbohydrate content is not insignificant. Ideally, your cat’s food should be under 10% carbs. That being said, 20% is fairly low for a dry food – many contain 30% or more. It’s also worth noting that the carbs are grain-free and gluten free.

      Ocean & Freshwater Dry Food

      Product Info:

      • Type of Food: Dry
      • First 5 Ingredients: Salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel, cod meal
      • Guaranteed Analysis: 40% Protein Min, 17.5% Fat Min, 5% Fiber Max, 10% Moisture Max
      • Calories per Cup: 418 kcal/cup
      • Price Per Pound/Ounce: $4.60

      Ingredients:

      Salmon, Herring, Sardines, Mackerel, Cod Meal, Pollock Meal, Catfish Meal, Red Lentils, Green Lentils, Olive Oil, Herring Meal, Natural Flavors, Coconut Flour, Navy Beans, Dicalcium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Pumpkin, Taurine, Fructooligosaccharide, Potassium Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, D-calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate), New Zealand Green Mussel, Chia Seed Oil.

      Similar to the previous recipe, this formula starts with seven sources of protein at the top of the ingredients list. Red lentils and green lentils come next, later followed by coconut flour and navy beans as the other primary sources of carbohydrate.

      Overall, the estimated carbohydrate content of this recipe is about 20%. It is slightly higher than the previous recipe, but it’s hard to get an exact calculation.

      We love that this recipe is packed with real animal protein and plenty of fish flavor. As long as your cat isn’t sensitive to fish, it could even be a good option for cats with allergies to chicken or beef.

      Just remember that exposing your cat to more ingredients may increase the risk for allergies to develop.

      In addition to plenty of animal protein and grain-free carbohydrates, this recipe is supplemented with vitamins and chelated minerals. Chelated minerals are chemically bound to protein molecules which helps increase their absorption and bioavailability.

      Air & Gamefowl Wet Food

      Product Info:

      • Type of Food: Wet
      • First 5 Ingredients: Turkey, duck broth, guineafowl, quail, duck
      • Guaranteed Analysis: 10% Protein Min, 7% Fat Min, 1% Fiber Max, 78% Moisture Max
      • Calories per Cup: 207 kcal/can (5.5 oz.)
      • Price Per Pound/Ounce: $0.36/ounce

      Ingredients:

      Turkey, Duck Broth, Guineafowl, Quail, Duck, Turkey Liver, Natural Turkey Flavor, Agar-agar, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, D-calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Salt, Dandelion Greens, Fructooligosaccharide, Kelp, Chia Seed Oil, Minerals (Magnesium Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate), Taurine.

      This wet food formula features fresh turkey as the first ingredient. Supplemental sources of protein include fresh guineafowl, quail, and duck as well as turkey liver. Aside from these, the only other primary ingredients are duck broth.

      You’ll be glad to know that this wet food formula doesn’t contain any added carbohydrates in any significant amount. Dandelion greens are on the list, but the appear after salt which implies a concentration less than 1%.

      In addition to plenty of protein and moisture, this recipe is supplemented with vitamins and chelated minerals plus small amounts of dandelion greens, kelp, and chia seed oil with agar-agar as a gelling agent and natural turkey flavor added.

      Ocean & Freshwater Wet Food

      Product Info:

      • Type of Food: Wet
      • First 5 Ingredients: Trout, salmon, whitefish, fish broth, herring
      • Guaranteed Analysis: 10.5% Protein Min, 7% Fat Min, 1.2% Fiber Max, 78% Moisture Max
      • Calories per Cup: 184 kcal/can (5.5 oz.)
      • Price Per Pound/Ounce: $0.34/ounce

      Ingredients:

      Trout, Salmon, Whitefish, Fish Broth, Herring, Catfish, Mackerel, Sardines, Natural Fish Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Agar-agar, Choline Chloride, Tricalcium Phosphate, Vitamins (Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, D-calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Dandelion Greens, Fructooligosaccharide, Lentils, Salt, Kelp, Chia Seed Oil, Minerals (Magnesium Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate), Taurine.

      This ocean and freshwater formula features fresh trout, salmon, and whitefish as the first three ingredients. Next comes fish broth for flavor and moisture, followed by fresh herring, catfish, mackerel, and sardines.

      Much like the previous recipe, this wet food formula doesn’t contain any added carbohydrate ingredients in any significant amount. Again, you’ll see dandelion greens on the list as well as lentils, but they appear in the latter half of the list right before salt.

      The estimated carbohydrate content of this recipe is under 2% which is well within our recommendations. Essence states that this recipe contains 96% fish ingredients and 4% other ingredients as well, so that certainly helps.

      Ranch and Meadow Wet Food

      Product Info:

      • Type of Food: Wet
      • First 5 Ingredients: Lamb, lamb broth, pork liver, pork, natural lamb flavor
      • Guaranteed Analysis: 10% Protein Min, 7% Fat Min, 1% Fiber Max, 78% Moisture Max
      • Calories per Cup: 194 kcal/can (5.5 oz.)
      • Price Per Pound/Ounce: $0.38/ounce

      Ingredients:

      Lamb, Lamb Broth, Pork Liver, Pork, Natural Lamb Flavor, Calcium Carbonate, Agar-agar, Potassium Chloride, Tricalcium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Salt,vitamins (Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, D-calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Dandelion Greens, Fructooligosaccharide, Kelp, Chia Seed Oil, Minerals (Magnesium Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate), Taurine.

      If your cat loves the flavor of red meat, this Ranch and Meadow recipe is for him. It features fresh lamb as the primary ingredient with additional protein and flavor from pork liver and fresh pork.

      This recipe doesn’t contain as many protein ingredients as the other wet foods, but Essence still states that it is made up of 96% meat ingredients. The estimated carbohydrate content is well under 2%.

      Like the previous recipes, this formula is packed with protein and natural meat flavor, supplemented with vitamins and minerals to ensure optimal nutritional balance.

      What Do Customers Think of Essence Cat Food?

      It’s difficult to know what other customers think of Essence primarily because the brand is still very new – it’s only been out for less than two years.

      The other factor that makes it tricky is that Essence is designed to be sold in independent brick and mortar pet stores. Limited online sales means limited online reviews, so we didn’t have much to go on in terms of customer reactions to the brand.

      How Much Does Essence Cat Food Cost?

      When it comes to pricing, Essence is a little strange. Their canned food formulas are extremely affordable, priced around $0.35 per ounce.

      Dry food, however, is much more expensive – well over $6.00 per pound of you purchase the 4-pound bags. When you buy 10-pound bags, the price is between $4.50 and $5.00 per pound.

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

      Where Can You Buy Essence Cat Food?

      Essence isn’t one of the biggest cat food brands around, so don’t be surprised if you don’t see it on pet store shelves. You’re most likely to find this brand in local and regional pet stores.

      You may also be able to find Essence cat food online at Amazon or from certain pet food retailers.

      Our Final Thoughts: Is Essence a Good Brand?

      Protein is the key to a proper diet for cats, and Essence has it in spades. Though Essence certainly keeps true to their promise of putting meat first, we had a hard time determining the quality and sourcing for many of their ingredients.

      Essence states their ingredients come from around the world and they provide basic information about where certain ingredients are sourced. Their chicken and turkey come from Minnesota, for example, and their guinea fowl and duck from France.

      As a general rule, we tend to prefer brands that say exactly where their ingredients come from over those that don’t.

      Overall, we were pleased with the Essence brand.

      There are some downsides in terms of availability and price, but it’s hard to argue the protein content or the variety of protein sources. We particularly liked the wet food formulas because they were high in protein with very limited carbohydrate content.

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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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