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How We Test Pet Food Delivery Services

At DeliveryRank, we know that pet owners want their fur babies to have access to the best food possible. With such a range of pet food delivery services on the market, it’s important to know which ones are the right fit for you and your pet. We research and rank each service’s claims about the recipe design, nutritional benefits, and ingredients. While we don’t taste the food ourselves, we review them based on a range of criteria including packaging, shipping, and if the brand has a history of recalls. Here’s how we review pet food delivery services:

Category Breakdown
  • 10% - Plans and Recipes
  • 25% - Ingredients
  • 3% - Nutrition
  • 3% - Packaging and Eco-friendliness
  • 5% - Food Preparation
  • 10% - Shipping & Delivery
  • 7% - Subscription
  • 10% - Customer Service
  • 7% - Recalls
  • 20% - Prices

1. Plans and recipes

At the very least – The menu has more than one recipe to choose from and meets AAFCO guidelines.

At best – The above, and the food can be customized for allergies/dietary needs.
There are meals for a variety of animals or life stages for a single animal. Meals are designed by veterinary nutritionists.

Our reviewers analyze each service’s current menu. They investigate:

  • The number of recipes or plans available
  • Whether there are specialized plans
  • The state of the food i.e., dry, fresh, frozen
  • How the recipe was designed and what standards it meets
  • Whether the meals can be customized for allergies/dietary needs
  • What species of animal the food is suitable for
  • What life-stage/age the food is suitable for
  • What breed/size the food is suitable for
  • Extras available – such supplements, toppers etc.
  • Whether plans are adjustable as the pet grows / its needs change
  • Whether there’s a trial available

2. ingredients

At the very least – There’s a comprehensive list of ingredients for each meal.

At best – The above, and there is information about how ingredients are sourced, any fillers/grains used in the food, the quality of ingredients, and how they are beneficial to the animal.

Our reviewers analyze:

  • The full ingredient list for each meal
  • Any fillers added to the food
  • The quality of the ingredients (non-GMO, human-grade, natural etc)
  • Where and how ingredients are sourced
  • Ingredient benefits
  • Possible allergens

3. Nutrition

At the very least – There’s Guaranteed Analysis providing a basic nutrition profile of protein, fat, fiber, and moisture.

At best – The above, and a Typical Analysis (TA), which outlines other components such as sodium, phosphorus, and calcium. There is also information about the cooking process.

Our reviewers analyze:

  • The nutritional information for each meal and add-on
  • The manufacturers’ nutritional expertise
  • The Guaranteed Analysis (GA) label for each meal
  • If available, the Typical Analysis (TA) for each meal
  • The cooking process for each meal and how this contributes to the retention of nutrients
  • Quality control measures
  • Whether the service can work with personal vets to create a prescription diet

4. Packaging and Eco-Friendliness

At the very least Food should arrive undamaged and at a safe temperature. Some effort is made to cut down unnecessary unrecyclable materials.

At best – Food should arrive in perfect condition and at the optimal temperature. All packaging is recyclable with instructions on how to recycle each item.

Our reviewers analyze:

  • What each delivery includes
  • How the food is packaged and organized
  • The state of meals on arrival
  • Storage instructions
  • Accessibility of “best before” dates
  • Whether chilled/frozen food arrives at an appropriate temperature
  • The eco-friendliness of the packaging
  • The necessity of any non-recyclable materials
  • Recycling or reuse instructions
  • The company’s eco credentials and goals

5. Food Preparation

At the very least – Food prep should be straightforward with full instructions available on the website or in the delivery.

At best – All items required to prepare the food should be provided. Full instructions should be available with the food in a printed format and also online. There should be clear, feeding guidelines personalized to the pet’s specific needs.

Our reviewers analyze:

  • How much prep is needed (if any)
  • The requirement of food to be thawed or warmed before eating
  • How long food can be stored frozen, thawed, or at room temperature
  • Whether food is pre-portioned
  • Whether portioning instructions are provided
  • Whether chilled/frozen food arrives at an appropriate temperature
  • Whether a scoop, scale, or other device is provided to help with portioning
  • What to do with any leftovers

6. Shipping & Delivery

At the very least – Your shipment should arrive within a week of your first order and delivery should be available to the majority of US states.

At best – A customizable delivery schedule based on your pet’s needs. You can choose a specific day for delivery and receive detailed tracking information from dispatch to arrival. The service should deliver to all US states and arrive on time.

Our reviewers analyze:

  • Geographical availability
  • Delivery dates and times available (including geographical variations)
  • Shipping carriers used (including geographical variations)
  • Tracking processes
  • Ability to leave delivery instructions
  • Local pick-up points and collection locations
  • The ease of amending or rescheduling a delivery
  • Delivery punctuality
  • How flexible the delivery schedule is

7. Subscription

At the very least – Ordering should be simple with a range of payment methods. Managing subscriptions should be easy with free cancellation.

At best – It should be easy to order from a phone or computer. You can amend and cancel your subscription online, without speaking to a customer service representative. It’s easy to amend, skip, or cancel individual orders.

Our reviewers analyze:

  • Ease of the sign-up process
  • Which details are required to subscribe
  • Any questionnaires that gather information about the pet
  • What is hidden behind the “paywall”
  • Which payment methods are available
  • How easy it is to apply discounts
  • At what stage during sign-up you can check delivery locations
  • At what stage you can select meals
  • Whether meals are personalized
  • At what stage you can select meals
  • Whether meals are personalized
  • How easy it is to modify an order
  • How easy it is to cancel an order
  • If applicable, how easy it is to cancel after a trial
  • How easy it is to cancel your first order
  • The cut-off date by which any changes must be made

8. Customer Support

At the very least – The site should have an FAQ library and prompt email support.

At best – All of the above, as well as a phone number, 24/7 live chat, and text support where you can speak to a knowledgeable person who answers questions quickly and efficiently.

We test each company’s customer support by sending a variety of questions across multiple channels and noting the helpfulness and timeliness of responses.

Our reviewers analyze:

  • The email ticket system, sending queries and timing the response
  • The helpfulness and tone of replies
  • The phone system and how easy it is to speak to an operator
  • Time zones and operating hours of phone lines
  • The efficiency of chatbots in answering simple and complex queries
  • How to get past automatic replies and speak to a representative through live chat
  • The level of detail in the FAQ section, and the searchability
  • Online resources like how-to blogs and video tutorials
  • Moneyback guarantees
  • Refund and cancelation policies

9. Recalls

At the very least – Recalls should be transparent with full product info available. There should also be information on the steps taken to prevent the same issue from recurring in the future.

At best – The service has never had any recalls. 

Our reviewers analyze:

  • The number of recalls
  • The dates of recalls
  • The products that have been recalled
  • The reasons for recalls

10. Prices

At the very least – Pricing should be transparent, with an estimated price per serving, per day, or per lb. Prices of add-ons should also be listed.

At best – The service offers a free or discounted trial. The main subscription should offer value for money, with free or affordable shipping, and discounts for new customers.

Our reviewers determine the value of each service by looking at the quality of the ingredients and type of service, and compare prices to similar, alternative services to see if the price falls above or below the market average.

This helps us determine what is good value for money and what is overpriced. 

Our reviewers analyze:

  • The lowest price-per serving (or per day)
  • The lowest price-per-serving (or per day) with available discounts
  • Price variations for different breeds/pet sizes
  • Average weekly orders for different plan sizes and pet sizes
  • Flexibility of deliveries (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly)
  • Shipping costs tested for different size orders
  • Shipping costs tested for various locations
  • Additional costs for customizations, upgrades, or extras
  • Additional taxes
  • Money-back guarantees and refund policies
  • Current discounts

OUR MISSION
We bring you the facts about the top meal delivery services today based on your diet, city, and lifestyle. From ordering meals, to canceling subscriptions, we’ve got you covered.
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