The Cats.com Standard—Rating Rachael Ray Nutrish On What Matters
We’ve rated the brand on six key criteria for quality. Here’s how it rates in each of these six crucial areas.
- Species-Appropriateness – 5/10
- Ingredient Quality – 5/10
- Product Variety – 7/10
- Price – 8/10
- Customer Experience – 6/10
- Recall History – 4/10
Overall Score: 5.9/10
In total, we give Rachael Ray Nutrish cat food a 35 out of 60 rating or a C grade.
Rachael Ray Nutrish Video Review
About Rachael Ray Nutrish
Currently owned by J.M. Smucker, Rachael Ray Nutrish is a celebrity brand created by Ainsworth Pet Nutrition.
When Ainsworth and celebrity chef Rachael Ray teamed up to create the brand in 2008, the pet food world was ready for change. The 2007 pet food recalls had left consumers suspicious of the industry and were turning to smaller, independent companies in search of safe products for their pets.
Ainsworth had previously focused on the value market, but knew that it was no longer sustainable. Consumers were moving towards “super-premium” foods and Ainsworth needed to find a smart way to move into that space.
They chose celebrity chef Rachael Ray as the ambassador of that transition.
Rachael Ray’s warm, fuzzy, friendly persona and public love of animals made her an ideal face for Ainsworth’s first venture into the premium pet food space. The food was, and still is, marketed as premium food that’s affordable for the average buyer.
Rachael Ray Nutrish became Ainsworth’s biggest brand. In 2017, it was named the US’s fastest-growing pet food.
In 2018, J.M. Smucker bought Ainsworth for approximately $1.7 billion. J.M. Smucker is the massive conglomerate that owns Meow Mix, 9Lives, and Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Pet Foods.
It’s also involved in philanthropy.
A portion of the proceeds from each Nutrish sale is donated to the Rachael Ray Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to help animals in need and support other charitable organizations like Feeding America, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, and FoodCorps.
Together with The Yum-o! Organization—Ray’s other philanthropic organization—The Rachael Ray Foundation has donated $4 million to organizations working on COVID-19 relief efforts for both pets and people.
Sourcing and Manufacturing
Rachael Ray Nutrish dry cat food is manufactured in Ainsworth Pet Foods’ manufacturing facilities in Meadville, Pennsylvania and Frontenac, Kansas. Their wet foods are made in Thailand.
Most of their ingredients are sourced from the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Rachael Ray Nutrish maintains that none of their ingredients are sourced from China, but recall that most synthetic vitamins, minerals, and amino acids originate from China.
Over decades of producing these supplements, China has established a strong safety record and there’s no indication that they’re inferior to those made elsewhere.
Rachael Ray Nutrish cat food was recalled in 2015. Several varieties were pulled due to excessively high levels of Vitamin D.
2018 Class Action Lawsuit—Rachael Ray Cat Food Contains Weed Killer?
In August of 2018, a New Yorker filed a $5 million class action lawsuit against Rachael Ray Nutrish.
According to the plaintiff, Rachael Ray Nutrish is guilty of mislabeling products by claiming that the foods are “natural”. Independent lab testing revealed that the food contained traces of an undisclosed herbicide called glyphosate.
This herbicide, commonly found in Roundup, is described in the lawsuit as “a potent biocide and endocrine disruptor, with detrimental health effects that are still becoming known”.
It’s important to reiterate that this lawsuit doesn’t focus on the hazards of glyphosate residue in the food. It’s about misleading labeling.
The term “natural” has a loose legal definition, but it has a definite meaning in the minds of consumers. According to the lawsuit, a national phone survey in 2014 found that 66% of respondents said that a “natural” label on packaged and processed foods means that no toxic pesticides were used in the making of that product.
In reality, glyphosate is present in many foods, including those labeled as natural. Glyphosate is used to treat many crops, including soybeans, corn, wheat, lentils, peas, and oats. When researchers tested nine popular pet food formulas for glyphosate, they found significant amounts of it in all nine.
In 2019, the FDA named Rachael Ray Nutrish among the 16 brands associated with a potentially increased risk of heart disease in pets.
As part of its ongoing investigation of a potential link between grain-free foods and an increased risk of DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy) in dogs and some cats, the FDA released a list of 16 brands that were associated with at least 10 reports of heart disease.
None of the listed brands were recalled and the probe remains inconclusive as of May 2020.
What Kinds of Cat Food Does Rachael Ray Nutrish Offer?
Rachael Ray Nutrish offers three lines of dry cat food. These are Peak, a line of ultra-premium high-protein foods, Zero Grain dry food, and Super Premium dry food, which includes grains and is the brand’s biggest dry food line.
Their wet food selection includes four lines. These are Purrfect Entrees, Peak Ultra Premium, Purrfect Broths, and Grain Free.
What Do Customers Think of Rachael Ray Nutrish Cat Food?
Most Rachael Ray Nutrish customers seem to like the food, saying that it fits within their budget, their cats enjoy it. They also appreciate the company’s philanthropic efforts.
Negative customers are offended by misleading labeling. While the company claims that Rachael Ray Nutrish foods are free of ground corn, several of their foods contain corn gluten meal, meaning they’re not corn-free products.
Let’s take a look at a few real customer reviews selected from various popular Rachael Ray foods listed online.
“This food is awesome! My cats eat way less food are now having more calm day compared to being constantly hyper. Small pieces good for all sizes for cat from adult to kitten. The vomiting for other foods has completely stopped Plus Rachel Ray gives back to help other animals in need. A win win in my book.” – Food, reviewing Rachael Ray Nutrish Indoor Complete
“I usually rotate in Go! Daily Defence Chicken dry food for my house furbabies, but I use this to feed the neighborhood unsocialized kitties, at least until I catch them for relocation to a safer environ. If you’re pinching pennies you can’t beat this for the money 🙂 Just make sure to rotate some great wet food so their innards don’t get dried out!” – Gary, reviewing Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Chicken & Brown Rice
“Thought this would be a great natural food for my (cat) boys. But as soon as I started to feed this food to one of my cats he was itching non stop. I stopped giving it to him for a day and he stopped scratching. I thought this was an all natural food but saw one main ingredient is corn gluten meal. Sad to say it was a waste of money :(“ – SarahB, reviewing Rachael Ray Nutrish Indoor Complete
“It says corn free but has Corn Gluten Meal in the ingredient list? That’s derived from corn, it’s a by-product of corn. Haven’t done a ton of research but technically this isn’t a corn-free food.” – jenn, reviewing Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe
Rachael Ray Nutrish Cat Food – Top 3 Recipes Reviewed
|Natural Chicken & Brown Rice
|$2.07 per lb
|Indoor Complete Chicken with Lentils & Salmon
|$2.08 per lb
|Tuna Purrfection Natural Grain-Free
|$0.43 per oz
All nutritional percentages in this table and hereafter are taken from the manufacturer’s guaranteed analysis. Exact nutritional percentages are not available.
All calculated values are determined using these minimum and maximum published values and may differ from actual values. Rachael Ray Nutrish is the ultimate authority on their products, so please contact the company for more nutritional information.
How Much Does Rachael Ray Nutrish Cat Food Cost?
Rachael Ray Nutrish’s parent company’s mantra is “Pet Store Quality. Supermarket Easy,” and it’s reflected in the Rachael Ray Nutrish brand.
Assuming that your cat needs around 200 calories per day, it will cost about $0.45 each day to feed one of the brand’s popular dry foods and around $1.55 daily to feed Rachael Ray wet food.
Overall, Is Rachael Ray Cat Food a Good Choice?
On the bright side, Rachael Ray cat food is one of the few budget cat foods made from identifiable ingredients rather than anonymous animal by-products.
Theoretically, this means that the animal ingredients are held to a higher standard than those falling into the by-product category, making the foods safer and more digestible than others at the same price point.
That said, Rachael Ray Nutrish foods tend to contain large amounts of plant ingredients. High-carb diets can contribute to diabetes and plant protein is less efficiently digested than protein from animal sources.
Where Is Rachael Ray Nutrish Cat Food Sold?
Rachael Ray Nutrish is easy to find in chain retailers including Dollar General, KMart, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Walmart, Target, and more. It’s sold in major grocery chains and pet stores like PetSmart.
Online, you can buy it on Amazon, Chewy, Jet, PetSmart, Target, and Walmart, among others.