A survey from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals showed that 23 million U.S. households invested in a pet dog during the COVID pandemic. The changes in the pet sector of the retail industry are reflected in the changing face of pet foods. Like me, many pet parents have been recently trying to give their pampered pups the best fresh dog food available. The market for the best fresh dog food companies has grown, with a tough competition among several brands rising.
However, this article focuses only on Nom Nom vs PetPlate. I like that both brands use a variety of vegetables, superfoods, and proteins in their recipes. I sampled Nom Nom’s Beef Mash and Chicken Cuisine against PetPlate’s Barkin’ Beef Entrée and Chompin’ Chicken dish. Read along as I share my experience and assessments on Quality, Convenience, and Costs.
Who should get Nom Nom?
If you want to give your dog a great-tasting fresh dog food for an affordable price, I highly recommend Nom Nom’s recipes.
Who should get PetPlate?
Compared against Nom Nom, I would recommend the other brand because of its superiority in quality. PetPlate has it’s own strengths, but considering all other factors, Nom Nom is a clear choice.
Let’s dive into the meat and potatoes in this comparison and see how these dog foods stack up in terms of quality. The things I look at when evaluating a fresh dog food’s quality are appearance, smell, taste, and ingredients.
What is really striking to me at first is that Nom Nom’s recipes are comprised entirely of large chunks of the ingredients. You can see sweet potatoes, large chunks of the chicken tissue, some summer squash whereas on the other hand with PetPlate you do have nice chunks of the ingredients especially the green beans and red lentils which make the dish look appetizing for sure, but the meat itself looks a bit like a paste. It looks a bit mushy and if I were to remove all those nice large chunks of vegetables and grains, it would definitely look like dog food and generally the overall color of it is a bit on the sort of drab, the food is generally dull. Although not the worst looking fresh dog food I’ve seen, there are many better ones for sure. So I would say that of the two chicken recipes, Nom Nom definitely takes the upper hand.
I also compared Nom Nom’s Beef Mash recipe and the Barkin’ Beef dish from PetPlate. Right away it’s the same story here—you can see really nice large chunks of all the ingredients from Nom Nom’s recipe including the ground beef, chunks of carrot, potatoes, green peas, and eggs. On the other hand with PetPlate, it looks even more so like how I described the chicken recipe. With PetPlate’s Barkin’ Beef, there are nice chunks of potatoes and whole green peas, but the rest kind of looks a bit like a mush which makes it a bit unappetizing and like traditional dog food. Therefore, in my opinion, hands down Nom Nom is the better looking fresh dog food.
Smell really ignites a dog’s appetite, which is why this part of the quality test is very important. With the chicken cuisine by Nom Nom, the really prominent smell is the sweet potatoes. Generally speaking, however, it smells very clean, with no off-putting flavors at all, and it’s definitely fairly appetizing. On the contrary, PetPlate’s Chompin’ Chicken Entrée definitely has a strong smell which is a lot more like dog food and makes me not want to try it at all. It just doesn’t really smell appetizing like most of the fresh dog foods I’ve tried.
Nom Nom’s Beef Mash smells clean. It smells like real ground beef and is not off-putting in any way, which definitely makes me happy to give this a try. The Barkin’ Beef Entrée from PetPlate smells a little bit better than their chicken recipe. One can definitely smell the beef and green peas which makes it fairly appetizing.
As always with Nom Nom, their Chicken Cuisine tastes really clean. The sweet potatoes really add a nice sweetness to the recipe and the textures are just phenomenal—it’s really one of Nom Nom’s biggest advantages. When it comes to all the fresh dog foods, there’s not many that really compare with the textures that you get from Nom Nom. With the Chompin’ Chicken from PetPlate, the most noticeable feature is its strong flavor. Although it’s not the worst tasting fresh dog food I’ve had, there are many others out there that just tastes a little bit better than PetPlate to be frank. What PetPlate does have going for it is along the lines of Nom Nom’s. The textures of those large chunks of ingredients are really nice so they kind of make up for the kind of strong, off-putting, heavy flavors that you get with the PetPlate recipes. If it weren’t for those nice large chunks of ingredients, PetPlate would fare a lot worse in the taste department. But between Nom Nom’s Chicken Cuisine and PetPlate’s Chompin’ Chicken, there’s no question that Nom Nom wins.
Like most of their recipes, Nom Nom’s Beef Mash tastes exactly like the protein used—real beef. The textures are fantastic and the contrast of the tender potato against the ground beef is a really nice touch. Between the clean flavor profile and the nice texture, Nom Nom really does an excellent job with their food. When you compare that to the Barkin’ Beef Entrée from PetPlate, you will immediately notice the strong flavor difference. I had a bit of a hard time stomaching PetPlate’s beef dish; it did taste like dog food and there’s really no other way to say it. The textures are there, which are definitely better than some fresh dog food I’ve tried, but it’s a very strong flavor—not something I would recommend feeding to your dog. Without a doubt Nom Nom takes the cake over PetPlate when it comes to the beef recipes and all of the recipes in general.
Nom Nom offers four recipes to choose from, whereas PetPlate offers six so they have a little bit more variety. The recipes from both companies are formulated by board certified veterinary nutritionists and these are nutritionally balanced to complete the AAFCO standards. Both of these companies use human-grade ingredients in their recipes, although PetPlate does cook their meals in USDA kitchens so there might be a little bit more quality assurance there.
In terms of nutrition, I always look at the protein content as fed and they’re roughly similar. Nom Nom’s recipes are a touch lower at about 7% to 10% protein as fed, whereas PetPlate’s are about 8% to 11% percent protein as fed which is quite typical for what you see in most fresh dog food recipes.
Interested to know how easy it is to deal with these companies? I’m sharing below my experience when it comes to purchasing, shipping, and packaging.
Both companies require a subscription, as do most fresh dog food companies out there. Note that in both cases it couldn’t be easier to cancel a plan. You just log into your account dashboard on their website, select the option to cancel subscription, answer a few questions as to why, and then you won’t get any more shipments and bills. You should be good to go in that regard, no need to pick up the phone or call customer service.
In terms of shipping speed, both of these were a little bit on the slower side, although definitely not the slowest I’ve seen with fresh dog food delivery services. Nom Nom was a little bit quicker when you look at the business days in transit. I placed my order on a Friday night and it was scheduled to be there the following Saturday, but due to a mishap on the shippers end, it didn’t actually arrive until the following Monday. All in all it took five business days between placing my order and receiving it on my doorstep. With PetPlate on the other hand, I had my orders placed on a Sunday and I received it two Tuesdays after that, so it took six full business days before I received it. I would say both are fairly similar in that regard and neither one’s impressively fast or a standout slow in the world of fresh dog food.
Both of these companies do use completely recyclable shipping materials and insulation, so all you have to do once you unpack it is put the box and everything in your recycling bin. There’s none of that cellulose insulation that you have to wash down your sink for disposal.
When it comes to how the food itself is packaged, I really like how both of these companies do it. With Nom Nom, my meals were packaged in 400 gram frozen patties and these were vacuum sealed with an easy pull tab so it’s nice and easy to work with. PetPlate also did a great job. They give you plastic tubs—the only company that I’ve seen that with. Each tub has about 340 grams or 12 ounces of fresh dog food in it and has all the nutritional information on the label. You can also see all the ingredients printed on it which is a nice touch.
The main good thing here is that both of the companies give you a smaller amount of dog food to defrost each time. That means you won’t be up against the clock worrying about whether or not your dog’s going to finish it before you have to throw it away. And then in terms of serving, all you have to do is pull the food out of the fridge the night before. Once it’s been thawed, both of these companies say your dog has a week to eat it.
When I look at the costs, I always evaluate them on a dollars per pound basis to keep things fair. When they tell you the price on a dollars per pound basis, they’re not accounting for the fact that different brands calculate your dog’s nutritional needs varyingly, so you get a different amount of food from each brand.
According to my calculations both PetPlate and Nom Nom come in at about $4 a pound which is as low as it gets from what I’ve seen in the world of fresh dog food.
Clearly, cost isn’t that big of a factor in the Nom Nom vs PetPlate comparison. In my opinion, it really comes down to how these dog foods taste—which, based on my firsthand experience, is dominated by Nom Nom. As dog lovers, we want to make sure we’re giving our dogs the best food that we can get for them . If I’m buying a fresh dog food and I wouldn’t eat it myself, I wouldn’t want to be giving it to my dog either. If price isn’t that big of an issue and you’re looking for a nice quality dog food, I’d also recommend that you check out The Farmer’s Dog.