A Q&A Session with Solid Gold Senior Brand Manager, Jennifer LaPointe
Solid Gold started with just one dog food formula in 1974 and has since grown to be a leader in the natural and holistic pet food space. They offer a large variety of dry and wet food for cats, along with a small selection of dietary supplements.
I had the opportunity to hear the Solid Gold story from Jennifer LaPointe, the Senior Brand Manager at Solid Gold. She answered a few questions about the company’s history and what makes Solid Gold different from the other pet foods on the market.
The Solid Gold story is fascinating. Can you go into more detail on how company founder Sissy Harrington McGill discovered nutritional differences between the food consumed by Great Danes in Germany versus the United States and how that lead to the creation of the first Solid Gold food in 1974?
Sissy had been raising Great Danes from Europe to show in the United States and in conversations with her breeder she realized that the Danes in Europe were living 3-4 years longer than Danes she had brought back to the US. Since the Danes shared the same blood line (and were loved and cared for just as much) she started researching the differences in the diets to explain the reason why the European dogs were living longer. After analyzing several different foods she realized that the natural diet the Danes in Germany were fed was contributing to their longer, healthier life. With additional testing, research and trials, she was able to create Hund-N-Flocken. Not only was the nutrition inspired by Germany, so was the name – meaning dog flakes in German.
Your site says that for over 40 years, you’ve traveled the world in search of the most nutritious ingredients on Earth. Could you go into a little more detail on your sourcing strategy?
When Sissy began her journey she had one mission in mind – making a food to help pets live a longer life. She wanted to make the best food in her power, which did not necessarily translate to an easy task. She travelled to many different countries and regions to find the best ingredients – evaluating quality, sourcing and nutritional density. Each ingredient in our Solid Gold foods has a specific purpose and is designed to work harmoniously together to provide dogs and cats a meal that not only tastes great but makes them feel great too!
Are your products manufactured in a company-owned facility, or do you partner with a co-packer? If you work with a co-packer, how do you ensure that all foods are manufactured according to your recipe specifications and safety standards?
All of our dry food, wet dog food, treats and supplements are manufactured in the United States. The majority of our wet cat food is produced in Thailand. At Solid Gold all of our products are co-manufactured while we maintain strict oversight into the process. We take pride in providing high-quality, safe products! Our robust quality program is grounded in the principles of consistency, redundancy and transparency across the entire supply chain from ingredient sourcing to finished product. Thus, consumers can have confidence that every Solid Gold meal they feed their pets is made from high-quality ingredients.
How does Solid Gold go above and beyond to create exceptional cat food?
At Solid Gold we understand that texture is extremely important for palatability for cats. We have worked to develop a wide variety of wet cat food textures combined with unique and purposeful ingredients that provide the nutrient profile cats need and that cats enjoy eating. From Bisque to Mousse to Pate, we have 6 unique textures currently and are continually innovating to provide more flavor combinations and textures that cats will love. Also, cats are carnivores that thrive on high meat based diets. Each Solid Gold cat food recipe has meat as the #1 ingredient to satisfy their taste while providing all of the nutrients needed for a complete and balanced diet.
I understand that Solid Gold donated over $1 million of food to animal rescues and shelters across the United States in 2012. You’re also the exclusive food provider for Warrior Canine Connection. Can you tell me more about your philanthropic efforts?
Helping pets and people in need is something that Solid Gold is very passionate about. Solid Gold continues to make donations to a variety of animal shelters, rescues and food pantries across the United States by donating over 250,000 meals to pets in need each year. In addition, we have partnerships with great organizations across the United States feeding their pets and supporting their efforts to help those in need.
Specifically regarding Warrior Canine Connection, we are proud to be their exclusive food provider and hear the amazing stories of these life changing dogs. Warrior Canine Connection is a pioneering organization that uses a Mission Based Trauma Recovery (MBTR) model to help wounded Warriors reconnect with their families, their communities and each other. This nonprofit supports recovering combat Veterans and their families through the healing power of dogs.
In which countries is Solid Gold currently available?
Solid Gold is currently available in the United States, Canada, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand.
A Personal Experience with Solid Gold Cat Food
I was sent a sample pack of Solid Gold cat food in exchange for an unbiased review.
I was pleasantly surprised to find a variety of products inside of the box. I’d received the following Solid Gold cat food products:
- Tropical Blendz with Turkey and Coconut Oil
- Tropical Blendz with Chicken Liver and Coconut Oil
- Tropical Blendz with Salmon and Coconut Oil
- Solid Gold SeaMeal Powder
The first four are canned pate cat foods, while the Solid Gold SeaMeal powder is a nutritional supplement. As soon as I received the foods, I opened up a can and fed it to my foodie cat, Wessie. His finicky housemate, who usually turns her nose up at anything other than fresh rodents, refused to participate in the taste test.
This meat-based canned cat food is formulated with high-quality turkey, chicken, and tuna as the first ingredients. When I cracked open the can, the tuna smell was powerful, dominating any poultry aroma.
Wessie must have loved the tuna smell and extremely soft, almost mousse texture.
He barely looked up from the plate until it was clean.
Although chicken liver is usually a palatability star in our household, Wessie ate this food with only moderate relish. It had a slightly firmer, more crumbly texture than the other Tropical Blendz recipes in the sample pack.
Note that you can clearly see the coconut oil that’s accumulated on the surface of the food. Coconut oil is a rich source of lauric acid, which has antibacterial properties. While I’d prefer to see animal-sourced fat in the food, coconut oil is one of the most nourishing vegetable fats available.
I was impressed by the fresh, natural salmon scent of this food. While low-end foods often have an unappetizing and overpowering fish smell, this food smelled like a delicious salmon dinner. It had a soft texture that Wessie absolutely loved.
This blend of seaweed, flaxseed, digestive enzymes, dried pineapple, and dried lemon peel is designed to support skin and coat health while providing digestive and immune support. It comes with a small plastic scoop in the container, which allows you to measure out the supplement to mix into your cat’s food.
Digestive enzymes are a great addition to your cat’s diet, supporting overall health. They’re a particularly good choice for cats with a sensitive stomach.
My only problem with this supplement is the fact that it relies on flaxseed as a source of omega-3 fatty acids. As carnivores, cats cannot effectively convert the ALA in flaxseed to nourishing DHA and EPA. Instead, they thrive on direct sources of EPA and DHA like fish and krill oil.
In Conclusion – Is Solid Gold Cat Food a Good Choice?
My feline taste tester absolutely loved Solid Gold cat food. I would feed it again just to give him a soft, delicious treat.
But flavor and texture aren’t the most important qualities to evaluate in cat food. How does Solid Gold stack up nutritionally against other popular brands?
If you compare Solid Gold to the standard brands that aren’t targeting the “holistic” and “natural” category, it’s superior in the absence of highly-processed, nutritionally devoid ingredients. If you rate Solid Gold against other brands targeting the same demographic, like Wellness, Blue Buffalo, and Nature’s Variety, it’s about average to slightly above average in terms of recipe composition.
Here’s what’s great about Solid Gold cat food:
Every recipe begins with high-quality meat, honoring your cat’s carnivorous nature. Every formula is free from animal by-products, artificial ingredients, and carrageenan, and none of their ingredients are sourced from China.
Solid Gold stands out as a more reliable company than similar brands like Blue Buffalo and Wellness, both of which have been recalled multiple times during the last decade. After over 40 years in the industry, Solid Gold retains a reputation for high-quality food and boasts a history of food safety. Note that although Solid Gold cat food has never been recalled, the brand’s dog food was recalled in 2012 due to concerns about salmonella contamination. Because of the quick response to the recall and the fact that this incident is an isolated moment in the brand’s history, this recall doesn’t change Solid Gold’s reputation as a reliable brand.
But Solid Gold isn’t perfect.
In addition to highly digestible, protein-rich meat, the recipes include ingredients like pumpkin, carrots, coconut oil, and spinach as natural sources of vitamins and nutrients. Solid Gold describes these as superfoods, saying that they “help deliver nutrition for your pet to thrive”.
If you’re 100% in agreement with the idea that cats are obligate carnivores and therefore should only consume fresh, whole muscle meat, organs, and bones, and if you believe that cats have virtually zero carbohydrate requirement, the inclusion of fruits, vegetables, and grains in Solid Gold foods is unnecessary and far from ideal.
Because they’re positioned as a holistic brand, Solid Gold opts to avoid the controversial corn, soy, and wheat and instead relies on trendier items like tapioca, peas, and chickpeas. At the end of the day, these are all high-carbohydrate ingredients that don’t belong in your cat’s food.
Because Solid Gold is positioned as a premium cat food brand, it’s expensive. For example, the Tropical Blendz canned foods could cost over $3 every day. This makes it one of the highest-priced foods on the market.
Ultimately, Solid Gold is a good mid-point between the big brands laced with corn gluten meal, wheat middlings, and other extremely low-value ingredients and top-of-the-line foods that truly honors your cat’s natural dietary requirements.