This week Fatima from Tribal has answered a few questions for us. It’s always nice to hear a bit about the background of how a pet business started and it gives a brilliant insight into the food. From experience I know if a business was started with good intent, it always filters down to the product and Tribal TLC is no different.
As you know, when it comes to dog food we’re looking to do our best for our four legged family member. About two years ago I stumbled across Tribal dog treats at a trade show (to be fair it was actually my wife who did!)
We’ve stocked their treats ever since. They’re all grain free and full of great ingredients. When Tribal launched a range of food I wanted to find out more. We’ve been looking to offer a cold pressed dog food for some time as for a few years now I’ve known that it’s a better way of producing a dry food. The issue has been that up until now all we could find was cold pressed food full of grains, meat meal and fillers. As you know we don’t like any of these for our dogs. Thankfully that’s all changed with the Tribal TLC range. All of them are grain free and full of great ingredients!
But what is cold pressed dog food?
It’s very much as it sounds. TLC stands for Truly, Lower, Celsius. The lower temperatures used in the process to create the food means it keeps more of the beneficial nutrients and makes it a tasty, healthy food for your dog. Fatima, the founder of Tribal explains it very well in this video.
A few Questions I put to Fatima the maker of Tribal TLC
As you know we like to do our research and be certain that the products we are offering are as good as they can be. Whilst doing this I was extremely impressed with everyone at Tribal and Fatima. So, I asked Fatima if she would be happy to answer a few questions to give you an insight into Fatima herself and the food.
How long have you been in a pet food industry?
I am a relative newcomer to the pet food industry and entered the market when I launched Tribal just over three years ago. I worked in a variety of industries before that including being a research scientist at the University of Oxford where I researched natural products. Science is my passion and I love being able to apply my knowledge and experience to help make dog’s lives happier and healthier.
Apart from your products are there any other treats on the market your dog really loves?
I try to feed my dogs as natural a diet as possible including treats, so I tend to give them things like carrots and celery to chew on which are great for their teeth. They do also love the dried fish skins and cubes that you can buy which are also completely natural and the skins, in particular, contain lots of healthy fats and oils which are so good for them.
If you could offer one bit of advice to people when they’re choosing their dog’s diet what would it be?
Do your research and try and buy the best food that you can afford. That’s not to say that the most expensive foods are going to be the best but certainly very cheap foods by their nature simply cannot contain high-quality ingredients as that would be reflected in their price. It also tends to be a false economy in the long run as food can affect energy levels, behaviour, skin conditions, allergies and the overall well-being of your dog. I tend to advise people to look for three things: (1) meat and protein quantity, (2) meat and protein quality and (3) processing methods and temperatures. Protein can come from many sources including wheat and other vegetable proteins so don’t be fooled by just looking at the protein content of a food and assuming that the higher it is the more meat there is in the food.
Do you feel it’s important to approach dog food from a scientific point of view and why?
Absolutely! There is so much conflicting advice and clever labelling in the pet food industry which can confuse customers but you simply cannot argue with science. If you approach things scientifically it makes it much easier to see beyond the marketing. For example, we know that heat destroys nutrients; vitamins start to denature (die) and proteins change their structure, making them less digestible. This means then that fresh meat in dog foods will always be better than meat meal which is produced at extremely high temperatures, no matter how that meat meal is cleverly labelled. It’s for this reason that we have developed Tribal TLC which is the only cold pressed food to use fresh meat and will guarantee that at least 98% of all of our ingredients have not experienced temperatures higher than 95C.
On your website, you mention “there are a plethora of natural ingredients out there that have proven health benefits”. We know that your products feature some of these, have you got any favourites that people could look out for that may help their dogs?
There are two in particular that I absolutely love. The first is coconut oil which we use in our coconut, banana and peanut butter treats – it’s the only fat we use in this treat so a great way to incorporate such a healthy ingredient when giving treats. People often are wary of coconut oil as it is a saturated fat but it is actually a unique and rare type of fat (called medium chain fatty acids) which can actually help to boost the metabolism promoting weight loss, lower cholesterol and also has antibacterial properties too. Dogs love it and it’s great for their skin and coat!
The second ingredient is fish hydrolysate sometimes called fish protein powder and is an ingredient we use in all of our TLC recipes. It is a protein that is designed primarily for human consumption as an extremely high-quality form of protein and is significantly different from fish meal which is designated exclusively for pet food. Fish hydrolysate is protein that has been broken down into smaller more digestible pieces, similar to the natural process that would occur in our digestive system. The broken down fish protein pieces are believed to have antioxidant properties and a beneficial impact on digestive and gastro-intestinal issues making it extremely suitable for dogs that may have allergies, sensitive tummies, older dogs and growing puppies. We only use one specific species of fish in our fish hydrolysate (Blue Whiting which is a type of white fish) which means that we can guarantee that our product will be consistent each and every time.
As with any industry the pet food world has many different trends. When it comes to the feed we offer our dogs what can you see coming in the future?
Pet food trends tend to follow those of the human food market so I would hope that we will start to see more transparency in pet food and a move towards more natural ingredients and lower levels of processing.
Tribal TLC is part of a growing trend towards feeding our dogs better quality food. What do you think makes your product stand out?
Often manufacturers talk about what they do as part of their manufacturing process, but they leave out what type of processing the ingredient may have experienced further back in the supply chain, before it gets to them. Not only can this hide damaging temperatures that suppliers may have used to process ingredients but it can also mean that suppliers can add artificial preservatives to their ingredients without the pet food manufacturer needing to declare it. We don’t use any ingredients that have had artificial preservatives added to them.
Tribal TLC is the only cold pressed food to be made with fresh meat and no meat meal and will guarantee that at least 98% of all of our ingredients haven’t reached temperatures of higher than 95C. We believe that this makes Tribal TLC the lowest temperature, dry dog food around and the closest food to raw that you can get in a dry kibble.
If you could pick one part of your “tribal journey” which are you most proud of.
Starting and running a business from scratch and on your own is incredibly hard and can at times be quite a lonely journey. I’ve faced many challenges and successes along the way but I think I am most proud of persevering through the tough times. It’s a wonderful feeling to see our products on the shelf and know that our products are helping make dog’s lives better.
Where do you see yourself (and tribal) in 5 years time?
I would like to see the range we have to offer grow so that we can offer a wider variety of healthy and natural foods and treats for dogs through pet shops across the UK and Europe. I also hope that we can extend our natural offering to the feline members of our tribe – I certainly haven’t forgotten them!
What’s the best part of your job?
Getting feedback from customers whose dog’s we have helped. It always touches me when dog owners take the time to get in touch with us and share how much our products have helped them and definitely gives me that warm fuzzy feeling!
A massive thank you to Fatima for putting so much effort into the answers! We have the full range of Tribal TLC in stock now so make sure you check it out next time you’re in and ask any questions you may have.