Within the pet food industry, the classifications of pet food marketed today are described as followed, according to Dr. Martin Glinsky, animal nutritionist.
Basic – usually contains corn, wheat, animal by-products, artificial colors and preservatives, and meets AAFCO nutrient guidelines. Example: Alpo
Value Added – may contain different shapes/colors and/or elevated nutrition. Example: Beneful
Premium – higher nutritional levels, usually preserved naturally, “better” ingredients. Examples: Iams, Science Diet, Royal Canin
Super-Premium – almost always “natural”, usually does not contain corn, wheat, or glutens. Non-processed animal protein may be the first ingredient. Example: California Natural
Super Premium x2 – usually “holistic” in concept, with functional ingredients for added health benefits, i.e glucosomine or Omega 3’s. Example: Blue Buffalo, Innova
Super Premium x3 – grain-free and organic formulations. They are the most expensive and complicated to manufacture. Example: Newman’s Own, The Good Dog Food Company
Note: As many super premium labels were recalled in the pet food recalls of 2007 as basic or value-added labels.