When it comes to what goes into her pets’ dinner bowls, Lucy Postins believes that marketing buzzwords are for the birds. For Postins, what’s printed on a label matters less than honoring the link between food and health. This ethos inspired her to seek a culinary solution when her dog suffered chronic ear infections, and in the process set the stage (table?) for the healthy, human grade meals she produces for pets as co-founder and CEO of The Honest Kitchen.
“I grew up in the English countryside planting, tending and picking produce. I think that naturally turned into a love of preparing meals,” she says. “When I wasn’t having success with ear flushes and antibiotics [for Mosi’s ear infections], I began preparing a homemade raw diet. It cleared up his ear problems, but made a mess of my kitchen! That gave me the idea to make a dehydrated whole food.”
Fourteen years later, The Honest Kitchen is one of the top premium pet foods – and the only national brand to have FDA approval to say “human grade” on their label. That’s because 100% of the ingredients are sourced directly from the human food chain, and the line is made in a facility that produces human goods like breakfast cereals and bakery mixes.
“One of my goals when I started The Honest Kitchen was to raise the bar in the industry,” says Postins. “I wanted to educate customers on the differences in ingredients and production across our industry and raise expectations in terms of what they demanded from pet food companies.”
Postins’ bar-raising has paid off – literally. As the demand for transparency in sourcing grows, pet parents are spending money only with companies they trust. Those who put in the effort to make better quality products, like The Honest Kitchen, are becoming the new benchmark; human grade, organic and non-GMO products are the fastest growing segment in the pet food industry.
It’s all a remarkable outcome from that first simple meal Postins prepared in her kitchen. Not only is The Honest Kitchen sold in 4,000 pet retailers in North America, but Postins has even published a cookbook, Made Out of Love.
“When you make a meal, it’s infused with love and good intention,” says Postins. “Not only is whole food nutrition important for everyone in the family, but [preparing a meal] is also a time to connect. I always say there’s no better way to show love for another being than through food.”
Naturally, Postins doesn’t mind bringing her work home with her. She says her family – which includes husband Charlie, two young daughters, Rhodesian Ridgebacks Willow and Taro, a rescued senior Pug named Jackson, a former racehorse, a pony, four chickens and two guinea pigs – makes it a priority to eat healthy, homemade meals.
For the pets, this often means treats from The Honest Kitchen, but the dogs also get a raw egg cracked into their food once a week when the chickens are laying, plus healthy leftovers from salmon dinners cooked for the two-legged Postins crew.
When they’re not making meals, Postins and her pets can be found hiking before work or day-tripping to the coast.
“The dogs love the beach, although games of fetch are a non-starter,” Postins says. “Johnson can’t tell that you threw anything, and Willow and Taro stand there in disbelief with a look on their faces that says, ‘Didn’t you want that anymore?’”
Fetch many not be in the game plan, but being active is still a big part of staying healthy for the Postins pets (and their people), and this commitment to living well is part of what makes The Honest Kitchen brand resonate so deeply with customers.
“Cooking for others is a rewarding thing, and preparing food for pets is a natural continuation of that,” says Postins. Next up for The Honest Kitchen is the launch of a new superfood product called Proper Toppers in March, and Postins is always developing new recipes to add to the menu – both at the office and at home with her husband and children.
“There’s nothing in our finished products that we can’t eat ourselves, so we do taste everything we make! As a family, we’re focused on keeping a balanced, healthy lifestyle as we manage the rapidly growing company and ensuring we never waver from our core values as we grow,” says Postins. “That means making time for hikes, riding our horses, the kids’ sports – and of course, lots of laughs around the dinner table.”
— published in fetch! magazine, the “Birds & Bees” issue