As part of my job keeping on top of new offerings for pets, I regularly check the websites of the companies I am passionate about. This is how I discovered that Wholelife recently began offering freeze-dried full meals called LifeBites for cats and dogs.
Knowing that all Wholelife products are 100% human grade and made in-house from scratch in small fresh batches daily, I immediately ordered a bag of the chicken for cats.
The food was an instant hit at Casa Ziskin. I then offered a sample to a client for her cats. Again, a hit.
There are several excellent freeze-dried foods for pets, so what is so different about LifeBites? The meat is cooked before freeze-drying. Nearly all other freeze-dried and dehydrated foods for pets are produced from raw meats. In my opinion, LifeBites are the next best thing to homemade cooked food.
While I am a huge proponent of raw foods for pets, it is not appropriate for every pet or every household. Every cat and dog is a unique individual and should be treated as such.
I contacted John Gigliotti, Wholelife’s Founder and CEO, to find out more about the decision to begin offering full meals.
“It was a natural evolution for us as a company. Much of the decision was based on consumers asking us for a food, but we also saw an opportunity to do something different,” shared Gigliotti.
“There was a need in the marketplace for a freeze dried food that was focused more on whole food ingredients and functional benefits. Current freeze-dried foods are targeted almost exclusively toward raw diet feeders with ingredients that are mostly organ meats with heavy ground bone,” he added.
“Freeze-dried food started as a way to package raw diets without the need for a freezer, but the category has evolved and is becoming more mainstream so we felt the products needed to evolve as well. We use whole muscle proteins and gently cook our poultry before freeze-drying to ensure its safety. Our food is a hybrid that combines cooked meats with raw fruits and vegetables and other healthy ingredients like Cabot Greek yogurt, ground flax, chia. It’s really an awesome food!”
LifeBites was introduced in March and shipped to distributors in May. Retailers started carrying the food in June. Currently there are approximately 200 stores carrying the food. It is also available on Amazon, Chewy and Petflow.
“Overall the feedback has been very strong,” said Gigliotti. “We of course get the occasional my cat won’t touch it but it is super palatable and feeds very well. I’ve had my dog on the food for more than a year and it stopped his chronic shedding and got his weight under control for the first time.”
Not all consumers were happy at first. After purchasing the product they discovered it was not raw food.
“We have some work to do on describing the food more effectively online,” admitted Gigliotti. “That could have been prevented and we have already made changes to our descriptions to make sure these things are clearly communicated.”
Currently, Lifebites comes in three varieties: Chicken, Duck, and Salmon. The company plans on introducing some novel proteins in the near future.
“That is the number one request,” stated Gigliotti. “We will definitely come out with some additional single ingredient formulas that utilize more novel proteins.”
To learn more about Wholelife products and their philosophy, visit WholeLifePet.com.