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Author Topic: Info from Natura about changes to Innova Cat and Kitten Food  (Read 5184 times)
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Jr. Member
Posts: 6

« on: February 21, 2009, 10:39:50 AM »

My five cats used to love Innova Cat and Kitten Food (dry) - it was one of their favorites.  The last time I purchased it, the bag color and design had changed, and apparently the formula had as well.  Suddenly, not one of my five cats would touch it.  One tried to bury it.  I threw out the first bowl, cleaned the bowl, put in fresh food - still no luck.  (My pet store would have taken it back, but I had thrown away the bag after storing the food in mason jars to keep it fresh.)  Put out with other foods, the Innova Cat and Kitten Food remained untouched for days while bowls of other foods were quickly eaten.

I wrote to Innova to see if they had changed their formula.  They have made a LOT of changes as of October 2008, according to the reply I received from them, posted below.  (Note:  this apparently was a standard form letter, since they forgot to change a line and referenced my concerns about dog food instead of cat food in the second line.)  After you get through the marketing pitch for their new and improved products, they discuss specific changes to the ingredients in the Innova Cat and Kitten Food.  So if anyone else has experienced problems, the new formula might be the reason.


January 27, 2009
Thank you for contacting Natura Pet Products with your concerns regarding our Innova Cat and Kitten Food. First and foremost we want to apologize for the inconvenience our “Innova Refresh” has caused you and your dog.
Innova stands for innovation. We’re continually researching the latest developments in pet nutrition to create all-natural pet foods that meet the changing needs of today’s dogs and cats. That means enhancing our formulas with farm-fresh ingredients that pack the right balance of nutrients for every life stage and introducing new products specifically aimed at young, adult and senior dogs and cats.
In October 2008, Innova introduced several new features and products at the request of our customers as part of our overall relaunch. These innovations included:
·         Innova Adult Dry Food – Red Meat – Red Meat is a convenient and healthful dry pet food made from beef, lamb, buffalo and venison. 
·         Innova Cat Treats – Dogs shouldn’t have all the fun. Now cats can enjoy delicious all-natural treats from Innova. 
·         Companion Canned Foods – Innova provides more feeding options for pet owners by introducing canned foods to complement almost every dry food in our line. 
·         Enhanced Ingredients – Innova has increased our levels of EPA + DHA to improve pets’ eye and brain development and replaced garlic with antioxidant-rich pumpkin that helps prevent oxidative cell damage.
Our most important innovation for 2008, however, is the introduction of Innova Flex™, our line of highly palatable stews for dogs and cats. Innova Flex is the only canned stew in the market that adheres to Natura’s Nutritional Philosophy and gives customers complete control over how they feed their pets, whether they feed Innova Flex alone or as a supplement to commercial pet food or human food. 
Our Nutrient Enhanced™ Innova Flex products, which provide at least 125% of each essential nutrient, prevent nutritional deficiencies, control a pet’s weight and improve urinary tract health.  This is all done while avoiding the use of by-products, like liver as an ingredient, so common in other companies’ stews.
As our research uncovers new advances in pet nutrition, Natura will continue to innovate the Innova line with new products that meet the needs of our customers and increase sales for our retailers’ businesses.
The actual changes made to the formula you are currently feeding, Innova Cat and Kitten Food, are…We have added flaxseed to provide increased omega-3 fatty acids, milk was replaced with cottage cheese as this is more consistent with our nutritional philosophy and it is naturally low lactose, Cranberry was added as a healthful fruit ingredient, Lecithin was added to provide an additional source of the essential nutrient choline, and Rosemary extract was also added as part of our natural preservative system.
We have also replaced garlic with pumpkin. When garlic was first introduced as ingredient in Innova only its positive health benefits were known.  More recently consumption of very large amounts of garlic has been found to rarely cause damage to red blood cells.  Although the levels found in Innova foods have always been much lower than any level found to cause any harm and have repeatedly been shown to be completely safe in feeding trials, Natura decided to lead the industry and replace garlic with a “SuperFood” to error on the side of caution.  Therefore, garlic is no longer used in Innova foods and treats and has been replaced by pumpkin.  Although pumpkin is sometimes thought of as mainly a good source of fiber, it is an even better source of vitamins and antioxidants such as alpha- and beta-carotene.   Therefore, the beneficial antioxidants from pumpkin were added to the Innova foods without requiring a significant change in fiber level or stool quality performance.
You may have also noticed that the calorie content per cup has been decreased. Around half of the new Innova bags list different values for the calories per cup of food.  For those select products, half (or about one quarter of the dry products) will have a higher value and half (or about one quarter of the dry products) will have a lower value than previously printed on old packaging.  These updates reflect the more precise specifications Natura is able to meet for each and every batch of product made.  Before Natura manufactured its own dry food in its state-of-the-art facility in Fremont, Nebraska, the ability to as closely monitor and adjust the fat levels and density of kibble in Innova was less.  These wider batch-to-batch variations were accounted for in the older “calories per cup” values.  With Innova’s new packaging, Natura has taken the opportunity to provide the most accurate values possible.  We anticipate that this change in reported value will have no effect on the amount existing customers need to feed as all of the foods’ outstanding digestibility and palatability has remained unchanged.  For those pets new to Innova, the new “calories per cup” values and corresponding feeding guidelines should provide the best initial amount to feed to maintain a healthy body weight.   
All refreshed products have been fed to our “four-legged focus group” at Natura’s Belfield Center.  From their efforts we know that all refreshed products are either equally palatable or more palatable than the formulations they are replacing.  Increases in palatability are mainly due to improvements in our natural flavors. In addition, stool quality is ideal for all products. 
If you have any additional questions or concerns please feel free to contact me at your convenience. 
Best Regards, 
Natura Consumer Service Rep

« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2009, 04:49:01 AM »


Thank you for sharing this information.  It's always a pain, when something's working, to have to find something else.  My older cats are eating a bit of this, not terribly enthusiastically.  They prefer it over another brand they were eating, but won't touch at all anymore.  (I last used the previous formula several years ago)

This is my favorite phrase from the letter you received -- "stool quality performance".   Tongue

« Last Edit: February 24, 2009, 11:06:02 AM by Spartycats » Logged
Chef G
Full Member
Posts: 124

« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2009, 09:32:28 AM »

I was going the try the new "FLEX" line of canned food till I read the ingredients.  Why would you put BUTTER in cat food?  I am in the process of finding a new canned food since my current one has had changes as well and the boys will not eat it.  I wish food companies would leave well enough alone and quit screwing around with "new improved" ingredients.  If is works....leave it alone!!!  You would think they would have learned something from the huge food recall of the past.  Consumer confidence is a big thing...but screw things up and it is gone forever!!

Sandi K
Hero Member
Posts: 7365

« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2009, 11:46:32 AM »

I would be a bit worried about the butter too, Chef G.  Butter is how our other kitty ended up with pancreatitis and she was only getting a few tiny licks off the butter maybe daily before we discovered she had been getting into it.  I dont know how much butter is in that food but for those kitties that might have pancreatitis issues, I would be hesitant to feed this....
Hero Member
Posts: 1848

« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2009, 01:24:15 PM »

Cats don't need butter in their diet and it is way to high in fat. Most definitely felines with any issues like pancreatitis should avoid it.

What I want manufacturers to do is spend more time with quality control of their ingredients and manufacturing process. Especially if it's being marketed as "highest quality premium food".

« Last Edit: February 25, 2009, 01:43:58 PM by Steve » Logged
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