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A New Report Collects the 50 Foods That Will Keep Us—and the Planet—Healthier

A New Report Collects the 50 Foods That Will Keep Us—and the Planet—Healthier


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Unilever, parent company to Knorr (the boullion cube maker) and the World Wildlife Foundation have collaborated to jointly publish a Future 50 Report, collecting the 50 foods they claim will be best for our world and our waistlines. This report was developed by experts in food sustainability, food security, nutrition, human rights and agriculture to help us understand how to eat for optimal health and a healthier planet.

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The report begins with a harrowing quote from Dr. Tony Juniper, the Executive Director of Advocacy at the WWF, which reads: “Most of us might believe it’s our energy or transport choices that cause the most serious environmental damage. In fact, it’s our food system that creates the biggest impact.” The report notes that farming a narrow range of crops and relying too much on animal protein in our diets are harmful for our health and our world.

The report notes 75 percent of the food we eat comes from only 12 plant sources and five animal sources. Three of the plant sources—rice, corn, and wheat—make up more than 60 percent of our entire food supply. This reliance on so few crops leads to monoculture farming, which is the repeated harvesting of a particular crop, and it can cause nutrient loss in the soil and lead to a need for chemical fertilization and pesticides.

The report advises reducing animal protein consumption, as meat, dairy, and egg production are major contributors of greenhouse gas emissions globally and create a great deal of pollution.

But it's not just bad for the planet. Consuming too much animal protein has also shown to have negative impacts on our health. Because of these factors, no animal products made the list of the Future 50 foods.

The following foods recommended for a healthier planet and people met a very specific criteria. They had to be highly nutritious, have as little impact on the environment as possible, affordable, accessible, and of course, tasty.

Algae: 1-2

According to the report, algae is responsible for half the oxygen production on our planet, and is full of essential fatty acids and plant-proteins. And certain kinds, such as seaweeds, are not only edible, but delicious, and used all over the world. The report specifically called out Laver (a seaweed farmed in Scotland and Wales) and wakame (a major part of Japanese and East Asian diets) were the two varieties suggested to eat as part of a more sustainable diet.

Beans and Pulses: 3-11

The report refers to the legume family as “environmental superheroes,” and notes that they are pretty amazing for bodily health as well. They are rich in fiber, protein, and B vitamins to keep our metabolisms and digestive systems in peak condition. The report suggested swapping out regular old red or kidney beans for adzuki beans, black beans, fava beans, bambara beans, cowpeas, lentils, marmara beans, mung beans, and soybeans.

Cacti: 12

You may think of them as desert decoration or hard-to-kill houseplants, but some cacti are actually extremely nutritious and good for the planet. Nopales, a mexican food staple, are the most common variety used in cuisine and can be eaten raw or cooked.

Cereals and Grains: 13-21

The report cites cereals and grains as the most important source of food for human consumption, which might seem shocking in a world of high-fat, low-carb diets. However, the report urges us to diversify our grain profile and try a wider variety of grains for health and for biodiversity. Instead of corn or wheat, it calls out Amaranth, buckwheat, millet, fonio, KAMUT, quinoa, spelt, teff, and wild rice.

Here are some easy ways to cook with alternate grains:

Vegetable-Like Fruits: 22-24

Vegetable-like fruits (such as squash, tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers) are full of fiber and vitamins for a nutritious boost to any meal. The report calls out pumpkin flowers, okra, and orange tomatoes, as delicious ways to help diversify crop growth and make the food system more resilient.

Leafy Greens: 25-33

It’s no secret leafy greens are one of the healthiest foods in the world, but they are also fast-growing and found all over the world. And kale is only the beginning! To get more variety, the report recommends beet greens, broccoli rabe, moringa, bok choy, pumpkin leaves, red cabbage, spinach, and watercress in addition.

Mushrooms: 34-36

Mushrooms can be a great source of the hard-to-get Vitamin D and are a sneaky source of plant-protein. Plus, their umami flavor makes them a perfect meat substitute. They can also grow in difficult environments, making them a healthy choice for all. Enoki, maitake, and saffron milk cap are the three varieties advised by the report.

Nuts and Seeds: 37-40

Heart-healthy fats are all the rage these days, and nuts and seeds are finally getting the spotlight they deserve. The report especially encourages consumption of flax, hemp, sesame, and walnuts for holistic and environmental health.

Root Vegetables: 41-43

Forget carrots or beets. This report advises some lesser-known root vegetable options. Black salsify, parsley root, and winter radishes are the unique root veggies suggested to branch out with.

Sprouts: 44-46

That staple of 70's health-food-store sandwiches, sprouts have found their way back into the health world over the past few years and can be seen on many plates again. While sprouts have caused a few health scares, the report says the added nutritional value they offer outweighs the potential risks associated with their consumption. Alfalfa sprouts, sprouted kidney beans, and sprouted chickpeas are all given the green light for enjoyment.

Interested in learning more about the world’s healthiest foods?

Tubers: 47-50

The final category urges us to eat some starch, but advises eating a diverse array of these high-carb foods for optimal nutrition and a more resilient food system. The suggested tubers are lotus root, purple yam, jicama, and red Indonesian sweet potatoes.

The report closes with a few more tips for a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle. It provides five steps to identifying a Future 50 food—focus on plant-based foods, optimize nutrient density, evaluate environmental impact, consider culture and flavor, and deliver diversity.


The report identifies 12 plant sources and five animal sources that make up 75 percent of the food humans consume, and three crops (wheat, corn and rice) accounting for about "60 percent of the plant-based calories in most diets". [3] The report points out that lack of variety in food sources threatens food security, and "repeatedly harvesting the same crop on the same land depletes nutrients in the soil, leading to intensive use of fertilizers and pesticides that, when misused, can hurt wildlife and damage the environment". [3]

The report offers five steps to identifying a future food: "focus on plant-based foods, optimize nutrient density, evaluate environmental impact, consider culture and flavor, and deliver diversity." [4]

Criteria for inclusion on the list of 50 foods indicated they must be "highly nutritious, have as little impact on the environment as possible, affordable, accessible, and of course, tasty". [4] The foods are grouped into categories:

Algae Edit

Algae contain essential fatty acids and antioxidants rich in protein, and are a potential replacement for meat. [5]

1. Laver seaweed Porphyra umbilicalis

2. Wakame seaweed Undaria pinnatifida

Beans and pulses Edit

Beans are in the legume family, and are a source of fiber, protein and B vitamins. [2]

4. Black turtle beans Phaseolus vulgaris

5. Broad beans (fava beans) Vicia faba

6. Bambara groundnuts/Bambara beans Vigna subterranea

7. Cowpeas Vigna unguiculata

Cacti Edit

Cacti contains vitamins C and E, carotenoids, fibre and amino acids. [2]

Cereals and grains Edit

These whole grains and cereals provide nutritional value and also improve soil health by diversifying sources of carbohydrates from current dependence on white rice, maize, and wheat. [2]

14. Buckwheat Fagopyrum esculentum

15. Finger millet Eleusine coracana

16. Fonio Digitaria exilis

17. Khorasan wheat Triticum turanicum

18. Quinoa Chenopodium quinoa

Vegetable-like fruits Edit

Compared to vegetables, these fruits are sweeter and usually contain more carbohydrates and water. [2]

23. Orange tomatoes Solanum lycopersicum

24. Okra Abelmoschus esculentus

Leafy greens Edit

Leafy greens contain dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals, and are low in calories. [2]

27. Kale Brassica oleracea var. sabellica

28. Moringa Moringa oleifera

29. Pak-choi or bok-choy (Chinese cabbage) Brassica rapa subsp. chinensis

31. Red cabbage Brassica rapa subsp. chinensis

32. Spinach Spinacia oleracea

33. Watercress Nasturtium officinale

Mushrooms Edit

Mushrooms have high B vitamin content, as well as vitamin D, protein, and fiber. [2]

34. Enoki mushrooms Flammulina velutipes

35. Maitake mushrooms Grifola frondosa

Nuts and seeds Edit

Called "superfoods", these foods are high in protein, vitamin E, and "good fats". [2]

37. Flax seeds Linum usitatissimum

Root vegetables Edit

Root vegetables have a broad variety of vitamins and minerals. [2]

41. Black salsify Scorzonera hispanica

42. Parsley root Petroselinum crispum

43. White icicle radish (winter radish) Raphanus sativus var. Longipinnatus

Sprouts Edit

Sprouts extremely high nutrient content. The sprouting process doubles, and in some cases triples, the nutritional value of the plant. [2]

45. Sprouted kidney beans Phaseolus vulgaris

46. Sprouted chickpeas Cicer arietinum

Tubers Edit

Tubers are usually high in carbohydrates and are a source of energy. [2]

47. Lotus root Nelumbo nucifera

49. Yam bean root (jicama) Pachyrhizus erosus

According to Cooking Light, "This report was developed by experts in food sustainability, food security, nutrition, human rights and agriculture to help us understand how to eat for optimal health and a healthier planet." [4] Eleanor Beardsley of NPR's Morning Edition said, "As it turns out, the way we humans eat is very much linked to preserving wildlife — and many other issues." [3] Claiming a 60% decline in wildlife populations since 1970, David Edwards of WWF advocates addressing "the drivers of habitat loss and species collapse", identifying the biggest driver as global farming. [3]

Global Citizen said, "Adopting a plant-based diet can help reduce your carbon footprint and decrease greenhouse gas emissions." [6] It quoted Peter Gregory in the report: "Diversified diets not only improve human health but benefit the environment through diversified production systems that encourage wildlife and more sustainable use of resources." [6]


The Impact of a Limited Food System

Eating too much of the same foods is not good for our health or the health of our planet. From a dietary perspective, current practices exclude many valuable sources of nutrition. According to the World Health Organization, 2 billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies, which is partly due to our limited diets.

Over-reliance on a small range of crops can also have serious repercussions on the food supply. Growing the same crop on a piece of land instead of rotating in others make them more prone to diseases and pests, and is not good for the soil.

Furthermore, our over-dependence on animal-based foods has an enormous impact on climate change. The World Resources Institute shows that global agriculture and land-use accounts for at least a quarter of all greenhouse emissions, with resource intensive products such as meat and dairy among the biggest polluters.

As a first step toward a global food system that reinvigorates agrobiodiversity, the Future 50 Foods Report identifies under-utilized plant-based foods that optimize nutrient density, reduce environmental impact and unlock variety for the global population. For leaders, it offers a clear path to participate in change, promote health and sustainability from within the business, and demonstrate the benefits of variety to the wider community.

&ldquoMost of us might believe it&rsquos our energy or transport choices that cause the most serious environmental damage. In fact, it&rsquos our food system that creates the biggest impact.&rdquo

Dr. Tony Juniper, CBE, Executive Director for Advocacy at WWF UK


A new report from the Rhodium Group found that China’s annual emissions were higher than all developed nations combined in 2019. China contributed 27% of the global total for all greenhouse gas emissions during that period. The United States contributed 11%.

China’s emissions contribution has been increasing fast. The total gigtaons emitted by all countries were 11% higher than the previous decade. “China alone contributed over 27% of total global emissions, far exceeding the US — the second highest emitter — which contributed 11% of the global total,” the report said. “For the first time, India edged out the EU-27 for third place, coming in at 6.6% of global emissions.”

Rhodium Group counts EU or OECD membership in 2019 as “developed” countries which include all 27 current EU member states, Australia, Canada, Chile, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey, the US, and the UK.

China’s 2019 per capita emissions reached 10.1 tons, nearly tripling over the past two decades. This comes in just below avg levels across the OECD bloc (10.5 tons), but still significantly lower than the US, which has the highest per capita emissions at 17.6 tons 3/5 pic.twitter.com/eUa14ZfiRT

&mdash Rhodium Group (@rhodium_group) May 6, 2021

While China’s population is 1.4 billion, its per capita emissions are lower than the developed world, but that is changing. “In 2019, China’s per capita emissions reached 10.1 tons, nearly tripling over the past two decades,” the report said.

Reinhard Steurer, a climate scientist and associate professor at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna, told CNN that the United States shouldn’t celebrate its relative lower emissions too much. “A lot of the stuff we [in the West] consume is produced in China and the emissions are counted into the Chinese carbon emissions record,” he told CNN. “If you take into account those consumption-based emissions, our record isn’t that good… We should never really blame China as the worst emitter on earth, because quite a lot of their emissions go into our consumption.”


SCAM ALERT: Beware The Oxidized Cholesterol Strategy Swindle

“One single ingredient lowers your cholesterol below 100” screams the headline at Blue Heron Health News. Welcome to yet another installment in Internet-based health marketing scams. Scattered through the Net are Web-based infoscams that overcharge or steal your money for “products” that don’t work or can be found for free. A common scheme they use is “affiliate marketing” by which they try to trick you into thinking that other consumers vouch for the product. Savvy Internet users who follow our basic rules for detecting scams will likely avoid these sales traps. Within a few minutes, you can discover much about someone offering you a “deal”. If you aren’t sure whether any offer that you are mulling over is a scam or not, feel free to ask us. Just use this link to contact us and we’ll check it out for you.

Over the past few years, we’ve identified a handful of “gateway” websites that market many of these scams: Clickbank, ClickSure, and Buygoods are some of the most prevalent ones. These companies are affiliate-marketing networks for digital products like eBooks, software and membership sites in different categories, handling credit card processing, accounting and payouts for these vendors. One of the more recent scams is the Oxidized Cholesterol Strategy promoted by the dubious Blue Heron Health News operation. (more about them later). They want $49 to educate you about oxidized cholesterol. We’ll give you the same information for FREE.

This infoscam works primarily because it pays affiliate marketers to overstate, exaggerate and obfuscate so that you’ll follow their links to this offering. Their pitch is that oxidized cholesterol is the bane of everyone’s diet and if only you were to learn about the foods that cause a build-up of oxidized cholesterol in your body. Here’s what they offer these affiliates — who often claim to be “reviewing” a product when, in fact, they are selling it.

They are offering 75% of the $49 you pay to the affiliate marketers for each sale. But note the words “New Upsell”. That’s how Blue Heron makes their money. Once they get your money, they now know to market the hell out of you. You’ll get besieged with other offers as well as additional services, for which you’ll pay dearly.

The Scoop About Oxidized Cholesterol

Scientists have established that oxidized cholesterol builds up in your blood system if you eat commercially fried foods, (think fried chicken and french fries), eating polyunsaturated fatty acids and smoking cigarettes. So if you do any of these things, then STOP IT! There you go — plus, you just saved $49. According to Healthline, all of these subsstances cause inflammation in your body. This inflammation is caused by damage to your cell membrane and the oxidized LDL particles present.

If you want to know more about how oxidized cholesterol affects your body, you can read this scientific paper published by the very reputable Mayo Clinic. And if you don’t want to read a scientific paper, you can watch this 6-minute video and save yourself $49.

But, in reality, all you have to do is reduce your consumption of foods that you pretty much already knew weren’t very good for you.

Our Recommendation

We urge you to pass on spending your hard-earned money to learn about some foods that stimulate oxidized cholesterol. We’ve given you essentially the same information for $49 less than what Blue Heron wants to take from you. If you want to accelerate your reduction of oxidized LDL cholesterol, try eating apples. That’s not a typo: apples! Aside from exercise, a number of foods have been found to contribute to reduced blood cholesterol and blood pressure. The most intriguing one is the daily apple. Yes, an apple a day might not only keep the doctor away, but it may ward off strokes and heart disease.

We aren’t making this up: a November 2013 British medical study validated that prescribing either an apple a day or a statin a day to everyone over 50 years old is likely to have a similar effect on population vascular mortality. The report concluded that “choosing apples rather than statins may avoid more than a thousand excess cases of myopathy and more than 12 000 excess diabetes diagnoses.”

Other alternatives to statins include sesame and rice bran oil have been staples of Asian cuisine for centuries and their use seem to correlate to the low levels of heart disease and blood pressure in those cultures. In fact, other heart-healthy fats — including olive oil, avocado, nut butters, fatty fish, and flaxseed — may have similar benefits. Harvard University reports that a number of foods can reduce LDLs and that refraining from meats dairy and snack foods can significantly reduce LDLs. Former President Bill Clinton — when faced with chronic heart disease — changed his diet with remarkable results.

You don’t need to spend $49 and subject yourself to more upselling to know for free what Blue Heron wants you to pay for.


Understand how climate change will impact you

If current global temperatures rise above 1.5 degrees Celsius, as the report suggests, the warming atmosphere will create more extreme weather patterns across the U.S., according to Ben Strauss, chief scientist of Climate Central, an organization that reports on climate change. He says people across the country can expect hotter summers and milder winters, which will have a direct impact on food crops and the survival of wildlife.

“It’s getting hotter, so we can expect many more days above 90 degrees or 95 degrees, depending on where you live,” says Strauss.

In the West, continued wildfires will have a direct impact on air quality and human health, according to Strauss. In the Southwest, he says droughts will lead to water scarcity, while the East and Midwest will experience more torrential rainstorms. Strauss says people in eastern coastal areas, especially in low-lying communities, will see more flooding due to heavier and longer-lasting hurricanes, which will have an impact on the value of their homes. In the Northeast, he says, warmer weather will bring more tick and mosquito-born illnesses. The region will see fewer snowstorms, but the storms will become more intense due to increased moisture in the air.

One thing will surely impact people equally across the country, according to the scientist: intensifying summer heat. “Many more days that are danger days in terms of human health and that are ‘black flag’ days — you get to a certain combination of heat and humidity,” Strauss says.


In Vitro Testing

  • Researchers have created “organs-on-chips” that contain human cells grown in a state-of-the-art system to mimic the structure and function of human organs and organ systems. The chips can be used instead of animals in disease research, drug testing, and toxicity testing and have been shown to replicate human physiology, diseases, and drug responses more accurately than crude animal experiments do. Some companies, such as AlveoliX, MIMETAS, and Emulate, Inc., have already turned these chips into products that other researchers can use in place of animals.
  • A variety of cell-based tests and tissue models can be used to assess the safety of drugs, chemicals, cosmetics, and consumer products. For example, MatTek Life Sciences’ EpiDerm™ Tissue Model is a 3-dimensional, human cell–derived model that can be used to replace rabbits in painful, prolonged experiments that have traditionally been used to evaluate chemicals for their ability to corrode or irritate the skin.
  • The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. helped fund the development of MatTek Life Sciences’ EpiAlveolar, a first-of-its-kind 3-dimensional model of the deepest part of the human lung. The model, composed of human cells, can be used to study the effects of inhaling different kinds of chemicals, pathogens, and (e-)cigarette smoke.
  • Devices made by German-based manufacturer VITROCELL are used to expose human lung cells in a dish to chemicals in order to test the health effects of inhaled substances. Every day, humans inhale numerous chemicals—some intentionally (such as cigarette smoke) and some inadvertently (such as pesticides). Using the VITROCELL machines, human cells are exposed to the airborne chemical on one side while receiving nutrients from a blood-like liquid on the other—mimicking what actually occurs when a chemical enters a human lung. These devices, as well as EpiAlveolar, can replace the current method of confining rats to tiny tubes and forcing them to inhale toxic substances for hours before they are eventually killed.
  • Researchers developed tests that use human blood cells to detect contaminants in drugs that cause a potentially dangerous fever response when they enter the body. The non-animal methods replace the crude methods of bleeding horseshoe crabs or restraining rabbits, injecting them with drugs or extracts from medical devices, and taking their temperature rectally to monitor if they develop a fever.
  • Through research funded by the PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. and carried out at the Institute for Biochemistry, Biotechnology and Bioinformatics at the Technische Universität Braunschweig in Germany, scientists created fully human-derived antibodies capable of blocking the poisonous toxin that causes diphtheria. This method can end the practice of injecting horses repeatedly with the diphtheria toxin and draining huge amounts of their blood in order to collect the antibodies that their immune systems produce to fight the disease.

How Nespresso's coffee revolution got ground down

Nestlé’s sleek, chic capsule system changed the way we drink coffee. But in an age when everyone’s a coffee snob and waste is wickedness, can it survive?

Last modified on Fri 31 Jul 2020 12.00 BST

I n 1975, a young engineer named Eric Favre took a trip to Rome that would change the history of coffee. Favre had recently started working at Nestlé’s headquarters in Vevey, Switzerland, and one of his first projects was to develop a machine that would combine the convenience of domestic coffee with the quality of an Italian espresso bar, where customers paid more for a product made by an expert using large, expensive equipment.

Successful products can look inevitable in hindsight, but the gap in the market wasn’t obvious. At the time, two kinds of coffee were drunk at home. There was roast and ground, which was tasty but laborious, whether prepared in a cafetière, stove-top or filter machine. Or there was soluble instant coffee, which was quick and easy but had an unsubtle flavour. To be tempting at a higher price, Favre’s new machine had to offer high-quality coffee with the speed and ease of instant.

Wandering through the centre of Rome, Favre noticed a long queue snaking from a coffee bar near the Pantheon. Plenty of other cafes nearby used the same machines. What was it about this place, Favre wondered, that made it so special? Inside, the barista explained that other operators pumped the piston just once before releasing the coffee. But at Sant’Eustachio Il Caffè, the baristas pumped repeatedly. This meant they forced more water and air into the ground beans, which meant greater oxidisation, which drew out more flavour from the beans and produced more of a crema – the layer of foam formed on top of a good espresso.

In the history of at-home premium coffee, this is perhaps the closest anyone has ever come to a eureka moment. Favre returned to Switzerland and, along with a small team, set about designing a machine that could replicate this procedure. The idea of a portioned coffee system had been around since the 50s, but no one had seriously pursued it. Favre’s aim was to build a world in which espresso was available at home. Customers would own a machine, into which they would place a sealed pod filled with ground coffee. The pod would keep the coffee fresh. (Although roast coffee can stay fresh for weeks, ground coffee loses its freshness after about half an hour.) The capsule design would also ensure greater aeration, mimicking the repeat oxidisations at the Sant’Eustachio. After the pod was inserted, a needle-like spout would pierce one end. Hot water would be pumped through this needle at high pressure. As the capsule became pressurised with water, the foil would be forced against a spiked plate, bursting it inwards, and out through the spout would run an espresso.

The following year, 1976, Nestlé filed its first patent for a single-serve coffee system. “Favre is one of those people who pop up in history and do great things,” Marco Restelli, Nespresso’s head of product and development, told me at Nespresso’s offices in Lausanne. “OK, it’s not Einstein, but what he achieved within kitchen appliances will stay with us for a long time.”

Today, some 14bn Nespresso capsules are sold every year, both online and from 810 brightly lit boutiques in 84 countries. More than 400 Nespressos are drunk every second. Hundreds of rivals and imitators have emerged, some making capsules for Nespresso machines, others pushing competitor systems. The firm employs more than 13,000 people and the Nespresso magazine, which the company has referred to as a “bi-annual pleasure guide”, has a circulation of more than 2m. In 2013, the most recent year it released figures, Nespresso’s revenues totalled $10.8bn. Its success has provided its public face, the actor George Clooney, with the means to maintain a private satellite over Sudan.

For a certain kind of business traveller, the sight of a little Nespresso pod in a drawer by the minibar has become as familiar as a Gideon Bible. Buying a machine grants you membership of the Nespresso Club, literally, and also membership of the Nespresso club, metaphorically – a global fellowship of people who care enough about their morning brew to spend 40 or 50p on 5 grams of it, but not enough to spend more than 30 seconds preparing it. In their homes, the distinctive hum, whirr and clunk of a machine in action has taken its place alongside the churn of a dishwasher. “If Nespresso had been a startup from Silicon Valley, everyone would be hailing them,” says Rory Sutherland, the vice-chair of the advertising agency Ogilvy, who owns three Nespresso machines. “They’re like a Swiss Apple.”

A Nespresso store in Switzerland. Photograph: Laurent Gilliéron/EPA

Thirty years after its first successes, Nespresso has scale, experience and buying power that no other premium coffee company can match. But increasingly it finds itself threatened from below by its rivals’ cheaper capsules, and from above by fussier coffee enthusiasts. The more scrutiny Nespresso has attracted, the tighter it has drawn the curtains. It no longer releases figures about its sales or revenues, with its results buried in the overall Nestlé reports. James Hoffman, the author of the World Atlas of Coffee, describes Nespresso as “a black box of a company”.

Nespresso also faces mounting criticism over the environmental impact of its pods. (It does not release any figures for how many of its aluminium capsules end up dumped in landfill, rather than recycled.) Talk to people in the industry, and you get the sense that Nespresso’s golden age has passed. “In the major markets, Nespresso’s getting close to saturation point, and there’s lots of competition,” says Jean-Paul Gaillard, Nespresso’s former CEO. “The good years are over.”

Nespresso triumphed by selling itself as a sophisticated component of an elite, globalised lifestyle. Wherever you were in the world, you could be a Nespresso person, just as you could wear Nike trainers or use American Express. Now, as that lifestyle looks increasingly bankrupt, it is learning to be just another coffee company. Nespresso helped change the coffee world, but it seems as if the world has moved on. Nespresso argues its coffee has never been better, but the truth is that Nespresso has never really been about the coffee.

A t Nestlé headquarters in Vevey, there is a small museum dedicated to the history of Nespresso. Looking at the early prototypes on display – elaborate Rube Goldberg-type machines with outsize tanks and pumps and tubes – it is easy to see why it took 10 years after the first patent was filed for the product to come to market.

As a private company, Nestlé was able to fund its pet project without justifying the cost to the stock market. Within the company, though, there were doubters. Colleagues feared that if Favre’s invention succeeded it would cannibalise the company’s existing coffee businesses, especially the flagship Nescafé instant brand. At the time, Nestlé saw itself as a mass market company that sold cheap, reliable products: chocolate and baby food and cereal. This was something different, whatever it was.

When Nespresso was finally launched in 1986, it seemed like the sceptics had been right all along. The first models were designed to resemble traditional espresso machines, bigger and clunkier than the sleek designs available today, and only four types of capsule were available, offering various strengths of coffee. Pitched to businesses in Switzerland and Japan, for offices without enough space for a full-size coffee machine, Nespresso failed to find many takers. In 1988, in a bid to rescue the product, Nestlé brought in Gaillard, a tobacco man who had created the clothing brand Marlboro Classics when he worked at Philip Morris. Gaillard would work alongside Favre, but his brief was clear: if he couldn’t turn the ship around, it would be sunk. “At the original launch the product was wrong, the positioning was wrong and the targeting was wrong,” Gaillard told me. “It had cost a lot of money and brought nothing.”

Under Gaillard, Nespresso would be transformed from an office coffee company into a luxury brand, the look and feel of which would be as much a part of the product as the beans themselves. “I wanted to create the Chanel of coffee, and decided to keep it chic and bobo,” he said in a 2010 interview. The idea was to keep it to “the level of people who have a doorman”. He told me he took inspiration from the wine industry. “The coffee was good and easy to make, but how do you spread the luxury feel?”

Where Favre and his team had focused on technical questions – not least how to miniaturise a system that usually took up several feet of bar space and required a skilled operator – Gaillard worried about everything else. He cut the price of the machines and licensed them to third parties. The first home machines had been made with one firm, Turmix. Later, you could buy a Krupps or Alessi Nespresso machine. These brand associations gave Nespresso familiarity in local markets, and encouraged fancy shops such as Harrods to stock them. Gaillard also overhauled the capsules, reducing the aluminium content and putting up the price by 50%. Most importantly, he began marketing Nespresso to individual consumers, rather than to businesses, through the new Club Nespresso. It was no longer just a better coffee for your office – it was a way of life.

A Nespresso coffee bar and shop in Montreal. Photograph: Alamy

When you ordered capsules, you joined the “Club”, which also meant handing over your contact information. Over time, Nespresso gained a huge database of customers it could market to, as well as a way of recording consumer preferences and buying habits. For customers, the club created the sense that you were part of a sophisticated worldwide cabal of corporate espresso lovers. When I first encountered Nespresso, as a student, around 2006, I remember feeling like I was finally part of the global elite everyone kept complaining about. “What Nespresso have done is create a lot of benign bullshit around coffee,” said Rory Sutherland. “But people enjoy the bullshit.”

At the University of Oxford, Prof Charles Spence, head of the Crossmodal Research Lab, has studied how much your experience of coffee is shaped by the way it is presented. In Nespresso adverts, he observed, coffee is almost always displayed in a transparent glass, with a crown of light crema on top of the drink. “It starts to look almost like a pint of Guinness,” Spence said. “Coffee doesn’t come with the visual variation you get in tea or wine – it’s all pretty much the same colour, so perhaps you have to show it with the crema.” (The crema is key to the mythology of espresso. Legend has it that the Italian company Gaggia coined the term in the 30s, rebranding something customers had previously thought of as “scum” on the top of their drink as “caffe creme”, a coffee so fine it made its own froth.)

For the people who sell it, the way coffee looks has long been as important as how it tastes. Until the late 19th century, beans were prized for their size, colour and symmetry. Nespresso applied a similar approach to its capsules: they started rather plain, in greys and golds, but evolved into a full spectrum. Red means decaffeinated, with darker purples and greys for the stronger, more intense flavours. “You are trying to give people visual clues about the origins of the product,” said Spence. “People prefer the taste of things when they think they have made a choice about it.” The Nespresso system made every customer feel like a connoisseur: you had to make a choice every time you put a capsule in the machine, even if it was just between black or purple.

After Gaillard’s reforms, Nespresso finally took off, but it is Favre who tends to take the plaudits as the creator. The story of the tinkerer playing with pipes and valves in his workshop is more appealing than the smooth corporate rebranding exercise. Gaillard is only too glad to correct the record. “Those who really know the story, know it was me,” he said. “Favre was a technician. He couldn’t run the business.” In 1990, after two years of struggle and personality clashes between the two men, Favre resigned, the result of what he described as a “coup d’etat”. It doesn’t take much to reopen the old wounds. “Gaillard is un diable,” Favre told me. In his version of the story, Gaillard was a brash operator who made his position unbearable.

In 1997, Gaillard left Nespresso to run Nestlé’s ice-cream business in the US. He subsequently left the company after falling out with the then CEO, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe. The animosity between Gaillard and Nestlé lingers. “My name is forbidden at Nestlé,” Gaillard said, noting that there is no mention of him anywhere on the company website. He described the Favre-centric Nespresso origin story as, at best, a simplification, which omits the work of the many other designers involved. He also claimed that the original idea for Nespresso came not from within Nestlé but from a research organisation, the Battelle Institute, which Gaillard said sold the idea to Nestlé in 1973. (Nespresso denied the claims. When asked to clarify Favre and Gaillard’s involvement, it replied with a generic history that mentioned no individuals.)

One crucial factor behind Nespresso’s rise, unmentioned by Gaillard, was timing. In 1998, Starbucks arrived in the UK, and elsewhere in Europe from 2001. (Although not in Italy, which somehow held out until 2018.) Previously it had been difficult to get a decent coffee anywhere outside Italy. At Starbucks, you could enjoy Italian-style coffee, which is to say freshly made and with frothy milk, marketed with Italian-style language. According to the historian of consumption, Jonathan Morris, Nespresso capitalised on these new tastes: “When customers started to ask how they could have [Starbucks-style coffee] at home, Nespresso was the best-placed product to take advantage of that.” Between its Fortissio and Vivalto pods, it had the cod-Italian ready to go, too.

The first Nespresso e-commerce site opened in 1998, and the first boutique opened in 2000. The following year, China’s admission to the World Trade Organization enabled the manufacture of much cheaper machines. Even before George Clooney came along, the pot was bubbling nicely.

I n Clooney’s first ad for Nespresso, which aired in 2006, he wanders into a Nespresso boutique and starts making himself a cup of coffee. Wearing a black polo neck and blazer, he eavesdrops as a couple of winsome women exchange adjectives: “Dark, very intense, balanced, delicate and smooth. Rich, very rich.” Clooney: “You’re talking about the Nespresso, right?” They look at him. “What else,” he says. French newspapers still sometimes refer to him as “Mr What Else?”.

Clooney’s public image – sophisticated, cosmopolitan, expensive – fitted Nespresso’s desired image. “Mr Clooney embodies elegance,” Anna Lundstrom, the company’s chief brand officer, told me. “He cares about certain causes, so you know he’s not going to endorse something he doesn’t care about or believe in. But there’s a humour to him, too.”

Clooney has reportedly made more than $40m from his Nespresso work. He has said he spends most of it on the satellite he uses to monitor human rights abuses. “I think it would be hard to endorse any product for an extended period of time if you’re not proud of your association,” he told me via email. “It’s been easy because I love the product. I drink it every day.” Is it true that there are countries where he is better known for the ads than his acting? “Probably. I know there are countries where I’m more famous for being Amal Clooney’s husband,” he said Clooneyishly.

Pretty much everyone agrees that bringing Clooney on board was a masterstroke – except Gaillard. “It was a major mistake,” he told me. “When you select one person to do your branding, you put two stars on the screen – the product and the person. Thanks to Nespresso’s budget, Clooney became better known in Europe: he vampirised the brand.”

The years that followed Clooney’s first ad were Nespresso’s happiest. In 2006, its revenues passed £500m. By 2010 they had reached 3bn Swiss francs (£2.5bn), and the capsule market was growing five times faster than the overall coffee market. In Switzerland, Nespresso took business from roast and ground in China, from tea in Britain, from instant. Nespresso reigned supreme over an entire domain of coffee that it had effectively created from scratch.

George Clooney in a Nespresso advert

As Nespresso kept growing, its pursuit of global homogeneity rubbed up against idiosyncratic national or regional coffee cultures. “If you are somewhere it is hot all the time, and you’ve just had a spicy meal, you don’t want a coffee that lasts very long, so you have a shot,” said Karsten Ranitzsch, Nespresso’s head of coffee, as we stood beneath a row of enormous silos in a state-of-the-art production centre in the Swiss municipality of Romont. “But in Scandinavia it has another function: to warm you up.” The company’s market research suggests that sometimes consumers do not know what they actually want. Culturally, Germans like to believe they like strong coffees, but if you give them a blind taste test, they prefer milder drinks, and often buy the coffee that isn’t the one they prefer.

Nespresso’s factories are gleaming temples to globalisation. Beans are shipped “green” from all over the world to the facilities in Romont, Orbe and Avenches. The beans are roasted, ground and put into capsules, between 5 and 6 grams of coffee and 1 gram of aluminium per capsule. On its long journey to the back of your throat, Nespresso coffee is checked for quality more than 40 times, using colour spectrometers and a battery of tasters in white coats. In some cases, there is DNA analysis. Ranitzsch told me that many of the tasters are trained in France, a nation where “palate” is taken seriously as a qualification. After the capsules have been packaged, they are sorted by robots and sent by train to Antwerp. From there, they are shippedto countries all over the world.

One major market has largely held out against Nespresso’s global conquest: the US. Partly the company was too slow, beaten by Keurig’s K-Cup. Where Nespresso aimed high, with sleek aluminium pods that emphasised quality, K-Cup’s plastic pods, many of which until recently were non-recyclable, emphasise convenience. The Nespresso system also sat uneasily in a coffee culture that prefers to drink coffee in enormous cups, ideally while driving. “Americans are simply not looking for an espresso first thing in the morning,” said Jim Watson, a senior beverages analyst at Rabobank in New York. “One of the biggest issues Keurig and Nespresso face is not making enough ounces. This is the land of the Starbucks venti. People are used to getting a 16oz or even a 20oz coffee.”

In a bid to crack the US, Nespresso introduced a whole new range of machines – the Vertuo system, capable of delivering much larger portions. In 2015, it finally signed up Clooney to a North American deal until then he had only been the face of the firm in the rest of the world. Jean-Marc Duvoisin, who was CEO until the end of last year, told me that brand awareness went up by a multiple of “five or six” when Clooney arrived. But still, to this day, in the US Nespresso exists in the long, dark shadow of the K-Cup.

A lthough Nespresso’s rise can be told in part as a triumph of branding, it also depended on a smart approach to patenting and design. One of Gaillard’s innovations was to rebalance the business towards making revenue from the capsules rather than the machines. Just as Gillette have traditionally made most of their money by selling the replacement razor blades rather than the first handle, so Nespresso’s entry-level machines were sold at lower prices, in the knowledge that customers would have to keep buying the pods, because only Nespresso pods worked in Nespresso machines.

For years, that model underpinned Nespresso’s global growth. But eventually, would-be competitors spotted an opportunity to exploit the niche that Nespresso had created. Nestlé had ploughed a decade of investment into a system that got people to pay five times more for coffee at home than for traditional roast and ground: why not try to piggyback on that? In 2008, Gaillard launched the Ethical Coffee Company, which sold biodegradable capsules for Nespresso machines. In 2010, the American firm Sara Lee started to sell capsules that worked in Nespresso machines.

Nespresso furiously litigated against its rivals, arguing that its patent systems were being infringed. Things came to a head in 2012, when a key batch of Nespresso patents from 1992 were set to expire. That year, Nespresso lost its patent battles in Germany and England, and settled other outstanding cases around Europe. Overnight, the company had to accept it could no longer stop third-party capsules being sold for its machines. Talk to senior executives involved at the time, and it’s clear the rulings were traumatic for the company.

Jean-Paul Gaillard, former head of Nespresso and later founder of its rival Ethical Coffee Company, in 2010. Photograph: Philippe Desmazes/AFP/Getty Images

The court cases also made awkward PR for a company keen to promote its ethical sourcing. To many, it seemed that the Nestlé Goliath had gone after smaller, pluckier, seemingly more ethical Davids and been slain. It didn’t help that in many consumers’ eyes, Nestlé was still tainted by the formula milk scandal of the 70s. A report published in 1974, titled The Baby Killer, showed how Nestlé aggressively promoted formula milk over breastfeeding in poor countries, where clean water was hard to come by. Some sales reps even wore nurses’ uniforms to gain an aura of credibility. The report led to a worldwide boycott and reform of its sales practices. Even today, Nespresso employees I spoke to said the memory of the scandal hampers its messaging around coffee. More recently, the company’s reputation was further damaged when the Channel 4 documentary series Dispatches found children under 13 working 40-hour weeks on farms that supplied coffee to Nespresso and Starbucks. (Nespresso launched an internal investigation after the programme aired. “Protecting children from exploitation and ensuring they are able to learn is of paramount importance to us, and that is why we have zero tolerance for child labour,” a spokesman told me.)

Jean-Marc Duvoisin became CEO in 2013, and was charged with taking Nespresso to a new era, leaving the patent disputes behind. From a closed, Apple-type system – Nespresso products for Nespresso machines – the company had to move to a more open, Android-type model. “There are going to be rival capsules,” Duvoisin told me. “We need to leverage our strengths: knowing our customers, and knowing our farmers.” Having worked for 40 years to be the only coffee-pod system in town, the company had to pivot to arguing that its capsules – made from strong, light aluminium, and filled with high-quality, responsibly farmed coffee – were the best on the market. Eight years on from Nespresso’s annus horribilis, its biggest problem is the aluminium itself.

E very generation has its own anxieties around coffee. In the 16th century, the governor of Mecca feared it would encourage his citizens to overthrow him. At the dawn of the 17th century, Pope Clement VIII declared it to be “the devil’s drink”. Some decades later, in London, women petitioned against coffee houses, claiming it made their husbands impotent. These days we are less worried about what coffee does to us, especially with widely available decaffeinated options, and more worried about what coffee does to the world.

In the past decade, consumers have grown increasingly concerned about the sheer amount of waste caused by coffee pods. Halo, a firm which makes compostable pods, estimates that of the 39,000 pods made every minute, 29,000 will end up in landfill. In 2016, the city of Hamburg introduced a ban on buying coffee pods with council money, as part of a crackdown on “polluting products”. (It did not stop the Nespresso boutique in the city centre from doing a brisk trade.)

Nespresso uses aluminium because it is light, strong and durable, making it the best material for a sealed container that must be flown around the world and then subjected to extreme heat and pressure on someone’s kitchen counter. Only a tiny amount of coffee is used in each pod, so less coffee is wasted than in a cafetière, or with other methods, in which many grams can be used per cup. And the pods are, in theory, 100% recyclable. But because they contain plastic as well as aluminium, they can’t just be dropped in a regular recycling bin. Instead, used capsules must be dropped off at Nespresso boutiques or some convenience stores in some countries, Nespresso offers a service that collects them from customers’ homes.

Nespresso pods being recycled in Cheshire in 2017. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/PA

Unlike plastic, used by many of Nespresso’s rivals, aluminium is 100% recyclable, but there is a big difference between offering recycling facilities and getting consumers to use them. Nespresso says its global recycling rate is 30%, and that 91% of its users have access to one of its 100,000 collection points around the world. But some experts have suggested that just 5% of Nespresso pods are recycled. Even if Nespresso’s figure is accurate, with a conservative estimate of 14bn capsules being sold each year, and 0.9 grams of aluminium per capsule, that means 12,600 tonnes of Nespresso aluminium end up in landfill annually, enough for 60 Statues of Liberty.

“The business model of the future is not in grand statements about what companies will do,” says Tima Bansal, a professor at Ivey Business school in Canada who specialises in sustainability. “It’s about waste measurement and transparency. If someone measured the garbage I put out on the lawn, I’d behave differently.” Bansal was mystified as to why Nespresso didn’t provide more detailed public data, such as regional breakdowns, about how its capsules are recycled. “With their competitive advantage, they could be a model of sustainability, leading the circular economy,” she said. “But once you lose your way, the competition makes it really scary.”

On top of the landfill problem, there are the environmental costs of producing aluminium in the first place. Mining a tonne of aluminium can produce about 10-12 tonnes of waste, including 2-3 tonnes of toxic alkaline red mud. In an attempt to go slightly more green, Nespresso is now working with the commodities giant Rio Tinto to use only “sustainable aluminium”. You might remember Rio Tinto from such edifying corporate stories as “accepting bribes in China”, “corruption allegations in Guinea” and “the Norwegian government concluding that Tinto were ‘directly involved’ in ‘severe environmental damage’ through a mine in Indonesia”. If a tie-in between an Anglo-Australian mining conglomerate with a history of scandals and a secretive Nestlé-owned coffee company doesn’t calm the doubters, what will?

Sustainability in coffee is complex. Lots of the carbon cost is in transport, so by some measures, the most efficient use of beans is instant coffee, where only a small amount of coffee is used per cup. But as that coffee tends to come from large farms growing cheaper beans, it can be a worse deal for farmers, and encourage types of farming that have a bigger impact on the environment. One solution could be reusable pods, where fresh coffee can be loaded into a Nespresso-friendly capsule, but at a significant cost to convenience. Defenders of pods say that as well as using a smaller volume of coffee, they use less energy, as the machine only heats the small amount of water needed for each serving. But until Nespresso pods can be included in household recycling, the figures on reuse are unlikely to improve. More eco-friendly competitors will continue to eat into Nespresso’s market share.

A s Nespresso has grown, it has come up against an awkward truth: the more popular a brand is, the harder it is to maintain a luxury image. “Our competitor is not other coffee companies,” claimed Duvoisin. “When you go into our boutique, you are comparing us to Dior or Louis Vuitton.” That may have been true once, but its boutiques are now on every high street. At the Touchwood centre in Solihull, Nespresso is opposite an Ernest Jones and next to Pandora. On Cheapside, by St Paul’s in London, the boutique faces a Clintons Cards.

Like other high-street businesses, Nespresso has been buffeted by months of coronavirus closure. In its late-00s incarnation, when most of its pods were sold by mailorder or on the internet, Nespresso would have been less affected by coronavirus. (“When I was there we had the highest percentage [profit] margin in Nestlé,” Gaillard told me. “But Nespresso did a ‘reverse-Amazon’. They had an Amazon and turned into a bricks and mortar business.”)

Nearly half a century after it was conceived, Nespresso finds itself in an uncomfortable new world. Consumers who might have once craved its polished, urbane chic now look for dirty-fingered artisanal blends to use with their pour-overs and Aeropress machines. A Nespresso machine on the kitchen counter used to prove your membership of a convenience-loving global consumer coffee elite. Increasingly it suggests that you are not a serious coffee person, and that your attitude to the future of the planet is suspiciously relaxed.

In its heyday, Nespresso fit a story consumers were keen to tell themselves: that for a small premium, quality could be guaranteed, whether you were in Tokyo, Geneva or Los Angeles. Its range of capsules offered the sense of choice, but in reality it was just one option: Nespresso. These days there are more than 400 competitor capsules. Cheap plastic ones, refillable eco-ones, limited-edition batches from faraway places. Specialty coffee has infiltrated the general population to the extent that McDonald’s ran a gently sarcastic TV campaign about the flat white. Nespresso once wooed coffee lovers with its ease of use, and instant coffee drinkers with better coffee. Now there are alternatives for every taste.

“In many ways, the Nespresso pod is the microwave meal of coffee,” said James Hoffman. “Nespresso is expensive for what it is. It’s fine in terms of its quality, but with a little bit of effort you could make something far better at home.” But as Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood, who runs an independent coffee shop in Bath, told me, Nespresso was never meant to rival true specialty coffee. “They don’t want it to taste like that. They want it to have mass appeal.”

“I love small-batch, third-wave coffee, too,” Ranitzsch said, admiring his silos. “The guys with tattoos and beards stirring their beans in Brooklyn. It is artisanal. But here we want consistency.” After the tour of Nespresso’s facilities, Ranitzsch and I sat in the “coffee campus”. Sitting at a tasting table, we sniffed, slurped and spat out a variety of different brews. He suggested aromas of flowers, fruit, earth and caramel and grew slightly wistful. “Coffee comes with history and memories,” he said. “Growing up, you didn’t like it, but you wanted to be like the adults. It has something to do with belonging.”


The Dog Foods That I Feed My Healthy Dachshunds

I’ve fed all forms of dog foods over the years – kibble with grain, kibble without grain, canned “wet” food, pre-made frozen raw food, freeze dried raw food.

Today, no matter what the food type, I primarily choose dog foods that are high in protein.

Protein is important for muscle development, which is really important for active dogs.

Note: High protein works for my dogs. It doesn’t work for all dogs so be sure to check with your vet if you suspect your dog.

Summit and Gretel primarily eat raw dog food now but it’s more of a personal choice.

I give them frozen prepared raw because I’m not interested in learning how to create a balanced diet and making my own raw meals at this time.

However, I do sometimes, for a treat and additional nutrient variety, add fun things to their raw dog food to “dress it up”.

I’m also not a stickler for raw feeding.

I mean, humans don’t eat the same food all of the time. It would make is unhealthy – and, to me, that includes different FORMS of food, not just different brands or sources of protein.

That means, at any given time, Summit and Gretel may be eating a food that is not on this list.

But here are the foods I love and feed the most frequently.

Favorite Frozen Prepared Raw Dog Food for My Dachshunds

Darwin’s Natural Selections™

Darwin’s Natural Selections™ raw dog food is convenient because you can sign up for a subscription and it arrives on your doorstep every 4-6 weeks (your choice) packed in dry ice.

All of their balanced, complete meals – chicken, beef, lamb, turkey, and duck – are made of 75% grass fed or cage-free meat and 25% organic vegetables.

They are also free of gluten, grain, steroids, hormones, and antibiotics.

You can customize your order by choosing the meats you want and the amount of each.

Darwin’s Food can be shipped anywhere in the United States for a $6.50 minimum (shipping costs vary depending on where you are located). If you live in the Seattle or Portland metropolitan areas, you may be in their free home delivery area.

If you’re new to Darwin’s and not sure what or how much to feed you can contact them for a free menu consultation.

Wild Coast Raw

Wild Coast Raw dog food is a “seasonally sourced craft raw food” created with oversight from a veterinarian with 25 years experience.

One of my favorite things about this raw food is that the ingredients are ground but not as small as with most raw foods. You can actually still see chunks of meat in there.

While “flavor” choices can vary by season, their grass-fed beef and free-range turkey meals seem to be available most of the year.

All formulas are made with organic vegetables.

This food is made in Olympia, WA and it appears that it’s only available to purchase in Washington State pet stores.

Steve’s Real Food

Steve’s Real raw dog food is a complete and balanced diet made with grass fed, hormone and antibiotic free meats and poultry.

Steve’s Real Food follows Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (B.A.R.F.) model of 80% Meat/Organ/Bone and 20% Produce.

They source most of the meat and all of the produce from the Northwest.

The meals come in beef, chicken, turkey, turducken, and pork.

Nature’s Variety Instinct® Raw

I like Instinct® Raw dog food because it’s high quality and pretty to easy to find in any major city (and some not so major) when we travel.

Their balanced, complete meals are made with 85% real meat and organs and 15% fruits, vegetables and vitamins and minerals.

They use ingredients closest to their natural state like real meat and non-GMO fruits and vegetables.

Their raw meals never include grain, corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors or preservatives.

Meal choices include beef, chicken, and lamb.

Vital Essentials

Vital Essentials was the first frozen, prepared raw food that I fed Gretel and my previous Dachshund Chester.

Chester was 8 when I made the switch and I saw a huge difference in his energy levels.

That change was likely due to a switch to raw food in general but this Prey Model Raw (PMR) food is unique because it doesn’t contain any fruits or vegetables. Your dog gets all of the nutrients it needs from only meat, organs, and bone.

In the case of Vital Essentials, the ratios are 45% muscle meat, 45% organs and 10% bone content (all from the same protein source).

Vital Essentials raw meat materials are harvested in the U.S.A and they process 100% of our own food in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Meal choices include beef, chicken, duck, rabbit, and turkey.

Favorite Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food for my Dachshunds

There is a disagreement over whether freeze dried “raw” dog food is actually raw. It IS processed and some people claim that the drying process can diminish the benefits of fresh, raw meals.

Personally, I believe that the processing and drying doesn’t make a significant difference in the nutrition, specially if you choose those brands that make an effort to maintain as much of the original nutrients as possible during processing.

However, these foods contain significantly less moisture than raw food so it’s very important to re-hydrate them or at least add a good amount of water to the food when feeding.

Small Batch Freeze Dried Sliders

Small Batch is one of my favorite freeze dried dog foods to use because it’s easier to crumble and rehydrate.

Depending on where you buy this food, it’s either made in a facility in California or Oregon. All ingredients are sourced from those states and/or Washington and Colorado.

Small Batch is made with all-natural, certified, humanely raised and harvested meats that are free of hormones and antibiotics. They try to use certified organic meat whenever possible.

Vegetables and herbs used are certified organic, non-GMO, and free of pesticides.

Meal flavors include beef. chicken, turkey, duck, and lamb.

All of their formulas are 88% beef, 10% produce, 2% supplements (except for the lamb which is 78% lamb, 20% produce, 2% supplements)

Small Batch is available in stores around the US and on Amazon.

BIXBI Rawbble

Rawbble freeze dried dog food comes in little nuggets so you can “feed it just like kibble”, although I still sometimes smash the nuggets a little so they soak up more water (or I just add water to the bowl and let them float on top).

Rawbble is USA made and sourced with 98% meat, bones and organs.

It’s free of grains, gluten, animal meal, hormones, antibiotics, fillers, artificial flavorings or colors, and preservatives.

Meal choices include pasture-fed beef, free-range chicken, free-range duck and wild-caught salmon with free-range chicken.

Rawbble is available at many retailers around the US and on Amazon.

Orijen Freeze Dried

Orijen freeze dried dog food is one of my favorites just because I trust the really high quality of Orijen foods.

They claim that their gentle freeze drying process allows their food to “provide all the benefits of a raw diet in a convenient dry form.”

This is a “Whole Prey” raw food made with 80% meat/game/fish ingredients, 10% vegetables/fruits/botanicals, and 0% grain/potato/tapioca/plant protein concentrates.

It contains no grains or gluten.

Orijen freeze dried food comes in their Original, Regional Red, and Tundra formulas.

Favorite Canned Dog Food for My Dachshunds

Have you looked at the canned food options lately? I feel like there are almost more canned options than kibble and there are a bazillion of those.

To keep it simple for myself, I personally prefer pate style foods that are high in protein.

Identity Canned Dog Food

Identity Canned Dog Food stands out to me for a few reasons.

First, it’s one of the few wet dog foods that I’ve found that, in addition to being grain free, contains no potatoes or legumes.

Second, the company is 100% committed to using only the finest quality ingredients.

All of the flavors – grass fed Angus Beef, free-range quail and turkey, free-range prairie pork, free-range NZ lamb, free-range heritage turkey, free-range Cobb Chicken, and free-range Canadian Duck – use responsibly raised/sourced meats that are never frozen before production.

The meats are also 100% free of added hormones and antibiotics and are 100% GMO & BPA free. The food is manufactured in Canada and the company is US family owned.

A moist it’s a moist, limited ingredient pate that can be fed as a complete & balanced meal or as protein-rich topper to kibble or raw dog food.

I order this food from Amazon.

Hound and Gatos

Hound and Gatos came personally recommended to me by a friend who runs a Dachshund rescue in Florida.

It’s made of 100% Animal Protein (no plant protein), contains no fillers or meat by-products, and is manufactured in the USA in USDA-inspected facilities.

It comes in three flavors – Paleolithic Diet, Pork & Pork Liver, Duck.

Hound & Gatos was awarded, “The Most Trusted Pet Foods” by TruthAboutPetFood.com 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.” It was also included on the Whole Dog Journal approved canned foods list for 4 years.

It’s a pate style grain free canned food that’s a complete meal for all life stages.

Instinct Ultimate Protein

Instinct Ultimate Protein is a grain free pate style canned dog food that’s a complete & balanced nutrition from real ingredients to support your dog’s health from puppy to senior.

The meats used in the food are “responsibly sourced” and the food is at least 95% protein (more for some flavors).

It’s made without grain, potato, corn, wheat, soy, carrageenan, artificial colors or preservatives – ingredients known to trigger food sensitivities.

It comes in two flavors – chicken or beef.

This food is available on Amazon and many pet food stores around the country (including Petsmart).

Favorite Dry Kibble for My Dachshunds

Note: These foods are on the “most commonly reported pet food brands named in DCM (heart condition) reports submitted to the FDA” (although lower on the list). See below for more details and my take on that.

Orijen Dry Dog Food

I’ve been a long-time fan of Orijen “Biologically Appropriate & Grain Free” dry dog food.

I don’t stick with just one of their formulas. However, I choose the Regional Red flavor most often.

They also make Original, Tundra, and Six-Fish flavors.

Although we don’t have to use it because Gretel and Summit are so active, I love that Origen makes a high-quality Fit & Trim food.

No matter which of their foods you choose, it’s at least 80% meat/game/fish ingredients, 10% vegetables/fruits/botanicals, and 0% grain/potato/tapioca/plant protein concentrates.

A full 2/3 of their meat ingredients are fresh (refrigerated, without preservatives) or raw (flash-frozen, without preservatives), including the top 10 ingredients.

Zinc is the only added nutrient because Whole Prey ratios of fresh meat (including muscle meat, organs, and cartilage or bone) provide virtually every nutrient your dog needs.

It’s available at many locations around the US and on Amazon.

Nature’s Variety Instinct Ultimate Protein

Instinct Ultimate Protein Dog Kibble “mirrors the benefits of raw.” Their website says, it’s a kibble “with the highest levels of protein from real meat and unmatched digestibility (compared to other premium natural dog food brands).”

It’s made with up to 2x more real duck and chicken (it only comes in these two flavors) than many other pet food brands and is free of grain, potato, corn, wheat, soy, by-product meal, artificial colors or preservatives.

It does contain guaranteed levels of live, natural probiotics, natural omega oils and antioxidants.


The Bottom Line

So do they keep it real? You betcha. There are not a lot of options for feeding your dog fresh cooked food. If you do not have the time to cook for your dog, which most of us don’t, fresh food is probably not an option without the help of a subscription plan.

As you can tell from this My Ollie dog food review piece, they are a solid choice for people who want to get away from processed dog ‘food’ but are short on time.

It is also a good choice for people who would otherwise choose raw feeding but cannot have raw food in the house, do not have space for it, or just don’t want to deal with it.

So if it’s something you want to try for yourself, you can use this link and get 50% off your first box order. I give it two thumbs up.

Related Posts

Best Raw Dog Food Delivery – The Diet To Put Your Paws On

The Healthiest Wet Dog Food Options – From The Prairie To The Wild

Healthy Homemade Dog Food Grain Free Recipes Your Dog Will Love

Vet Approved Easy Homemade Dog Food Recipes – Chicken Zucchini Anyone?



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