Taste of the Wild vs. Orijen
Taste of the Wild is one of the many brands owned by the Diamond Pet Food Company. The company’s focus from inception has been to produce premium pet food at an affordable price.
Here are some of the other brands owned by Diamond Pet Foods: Diamond, Diamond Naturals, Diamond Naturals Grain Free, Diamond Care, Professional+, Premium Edge, Bright Bights, Nutra-Nuggets US & Global, Nutra-Gold, Nutra-Gold Grain Free.
In addition to making all of these pet food brands, Diamond also manufactures pet food for other brands. In other words, Diamond Pet Foods operates as a co-packer for brands that lack the resources to manufacture their own pet food products.
On the other hand, Orijen is owned by a Canadian company called Champion Pet Foods. This company also owns the Acana brand of pet food. Unlike Diamond, Champion exclusively manufactures Orijen and Acana pet food products. This is an important distinction and one of the key differences between Diamond Pet Foods and Champion Pet Foods.
In addition to manufacturing differences, there are many other significant differences between Taste of the Wild and Orijen. To identify these differences, we’ll use aggregated data provided by PawDiet’s proprietary database of product information.
Guaranteed Analysis Comparison: Taste of the Wild vs. Orijen
Guaranteed Analysis is the pet food equivalent of the Nutrition Facts label used for human food. It provides guaranteed minimums (protein, fat) and maximums (fiber, moisture) for certain key macro-nutrients.
Because Orijen does not manufacture any canned or wet pet food, we’ll focus our analysis on dry pet food products. You’ll also notice the term crude used throughout this discussion, this term refers to the method of testing used to determine the nutrient content of pet food.
Taste of the Wild Dog Food vs. Orijen Dog Food
|Taste of the Wild||Orijen|
|Crude Protein||31.85%||42.35%||Dry Food|
|Crude Fat||18.02%||23.90%||Dry Food|
|Crude Fiber||4.88%||6.28%||Wet Food|
There is a significant difference between the protein content of Taste of the Wild and Orijen. On average, Orijen dry dog foods provide 42.35% protein, whereas Taste of the Wild provides 31.85% protein. The difference is more than 10% which is a significant amount.
In addition, Orijen provides a 6% higher guaranteed minimum of crude fat (on average). Typically foods with contain more protein also contain more fat, especially if the protein comes from meat.
The average percentages of protein and fat provided by Taste of the Wild are slightly higher than most popular commercial brands of “premium” pet food. On the other hand, the average protein and fat provided by Orijen foods are significantly higher than the vast majority of commercially available dry pet food products.
Whether dogs truly need the extra protein is a topic in itself. But, if you’re looking for pet food with more protein and more meat, Orijen is the clear winner.
Taste of the Wild Cat Food vs. Orijen Cat Food
|Taste of the Wild||Orijen|
|Crude Protein||41.11%||45.78%||Dry Food|
|Crude Fat||18.89%||21.11%||Dry Food|
|Crude Fiber||3.33%||4.00%||Wet Food|
There are minor (likely insignificant) differences between the protein, fat, and fiber content of Taste of the Wild and Orijen dry cat foods.
Orijen typically provides 4 to 5 percent more guaranteed protein and slightly more fat and fiber. If you’re looking for a higher protein cat food, Orijen is the correct choice.
However, as we’ll discuss later, Orijen is very expensive when compared to Taste of the Wild. Therefore, you’ll have to decide if the higher protein content of Orijen is worth the premium in price.
Taste of the Wild Pet Food Ingredients vs. Orijen Pet Food Ingredients
Like other premium brands, both Orijen and Taste of the Wild are free of artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors. In addition, both brands do not use any cheap anonymous meat ingredients (e.g. meat meal, poultry by-products).
Outside of the aforementioned points, Taste of the Wild does not provide any other meaningful information regarding ingredient quality. In stark contrast, Orijen provides information about ingredient suppliers, origin of each ingredient, and other important quality statements.
According to the Orijen website, meat ingredients are deemed fit for human consumption. Fruits, vegetables, and botanical ingredients are of table quality and also deemed fit for human consumption.
Here is an excerpt provided by Orijen.
The fresh meats, meat meals, and fat ingredients – every animal ingredient we use – are produced exclusively from animals that have been deemed fit for human consumption, and are produced in European Union Category 3 facilities (human grade facilities, no flushing, and no 4-D animal parts permitted on premises).
Fruit, vegetable, and botanical ingredients are of table quality, and all meat ingredients come from animals deemed fit for human consumption.
Orijen also provides detailed information regarding the suppliers that produce the ingredients used by Orijen. This type of transparency is very rare in the pet food industry.
As mentioned earlier, Taste of the Wild is not very transparent in regards to the ingredients used to produce Taste of the Wild pet food. Hardly any information is provided on the Taste of the Wild or the Diamond Pet Foods website.
When brands go the extra mile to use great ingredients, they usually display this information proudly on their websites and packaging materials. Orijen most likely provides higher-quality ingredients given the lack of transparency on the part of Taste of the Wild.
If you’re judging on ingredient quality alone, Orijen is definitely the winner.
Compare Manufacturing Between Taste of the Wild & Orijen
Diamond Pet Foods (company which owns Taste of the Wild) owns five different facilities across the United States. These manufacturing facilities are used to produce Taste of the Wild alongside dozens if not hundreds of other brands. In other words, Diamond is a co-packer which manufactures food for other competing brands within its own facilities.
These third-party companies are able to focus on marketing and ingredient formulations while outsourcing the physical manufacturing to Diamond Pet Foods. Many of the most well-known brands of pet food are current or former clients of Diamond (e.g. Natural Balance, Canidae, Wellness, and others).
Champion Pet Foods (company which owns Orijen) owns-and-operates two state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities. One of these facilities is located in Kentucky, USA and the other is located in Alberta, Canada.
The facilities owned by Champion Pet Foods are used exclusively for Orijen and Acana. Unlike Diamond Pet Foods, they do not make food for any other brands. This is an important distinction between the two companies.
In general, facilities which operate as co-packers are dealing with thousands of different ingredients from all over the world. In our opinion, the likelihood of contamination is elevated in these facilities.
One contaminated ingredient used for a single brand could cause cross-contamination across multiple brands. In other words, problems for one brand can easily spread to another brand made in the same facility.
With Champion Pet Foods, manufacturing is completely focused on the Orijen and Acana brands of pet food. In our opinion, this is the safest type of manufacturing because the company has complete control over everything.
Product Safety: Which Brand Is Safer?
Taste of the Wild and Orijen have both issued one recall throughout their history. Given that both brands have been available for more than a decade, one recall is nothing to be alarmed about.
In 2008, Orijen issued a recall for cat food sold in Australia. This was a fairly complicated situation that was mainly caused by the Australian government. If you’d like to learn more about this recall, visit our Orijen Recall History page.
In 2012, Taste of the Wild issued a recall for a potential salmonella contamination. This recall included both Taste of the Wild dog food and cat food.
Although Taste of the Wild has only issued one recall throughout its history, Diamond Pet Foods has had many more recalls. As we’ve mentioned before, Diamond makes food for many different brands of pet food including Taste of the Wild.
In 2005, Diamond Pet Foods announced a recall for aflatoxin contamination. Many dogs died as a result of consuming the contaminated food. This recall is just one example of many serious contamination problem that occurred inside Diamond Pet Food facilities.
If we evaluate Taste of the Wild without looking at Diamond Pet Foods, it appears to be a safe brand of pet food. However, when we consider the overall history of Diamond Pet Foods, we’re faced with an entirely different reality.
In our option, Orijen is the safer brand of pet food. They have been available for decades and outside of one hiccup, they’ve never had any serious issues.
Product Variety & Availability: Taste of the Wild vs. Orijen
Both brands offer dry food options for dogs and cats. Among the dry food options, you’ll find different products that are designed for specific age groups, breeds, and activity levels.
Taste of the Wild offers a complete line of canned pet food products. Currently, Orijen does not manufacture any canned or wet food items. Instead, Orijen makes freeze-dried raw food which is typically re-hydrated with water before feeding to pets.
Orijen also offers many different treat options for dogs and cats. Unfortunately, Taste of the Wild does not currently offer any treat products.
In general, these two brands can be difficult to find within brick-and-mortar retail stores. Check with your local independent pet stores for availability. Recently, Petco has started selling Orijen online, which means that they may soon carry the brand in-store.
Thankfully, Orijen and Taste of the Wild can be purchased online from most major online pet food stores. If you’d like to see a comprehensive price comparison among stores that current carry these two brands, try our price comparison tool.
Price Comparison: Which Brand Provides More Value?
|Taste of the Wild||Orijen||Difference|
|Dry Dog Food||$1.90||$3.77||$1.87|
|Dry Cat Food||$2.30||$5.47||$3.17|
As we’ve mentioned throughout this article, Orijen is significantly more expensive than Taste of the Wild. On average, Orijen dog food will cost you $3.77 per pound and Orijen cat food will cost $5.47 per pound.
Over the course of your dog or cat's lifespan, choosing Orijen will cost you thousands of dollars more than choosing Taste of the Wild. If you’re budget cannot accommodate the higher price of Orijen, Taste of the Wild is a good alternative. Both brands are significantly better than most commercially available pet foods.
For cost saving opportunities, see our price comparison feature.