Bestie Kitchen

We're on a mission to
change the way we
feed our dogs.

it all began with mondoe

I’m a foodie. I’m also a dog-parent. Over 10 years or so, as our little dog Mondoe inched closer to 22 years old, we moved further and further away from processed food. For ages we tried kibble for what I thought was ‘the balanced stuff’ with fresh lean mince on top. But both Mondoe and pack-partner, 18-year old Alfy (seen with me up top), ate the mince…and left the kibble. (Then I found out how bad kibble was.)

We always seemed to end up throwing the kibble out. We moved to air-dried, freeze-dried – you name it, we tried it. But fast never worked as well as fresh.

The truth is that Mondoe loved nothing more than the chicken soup my partner Michael makes for me when I have a cold – the broth, the chicken, the veges. Both he and Alfy woofed that down. (Sorry.) As time went on, we made more and more homemade food. But was it balanced? Not entirely. And so my quest to feed my besties the fresh and balanced meals they needed, began.

BESTIE KITCHEN FOUNDER AMANDA FALCONER AND DOG MONDOE

THE MORE I RESEARCHED HOW KIBBLE AND OTHER DRY FOOD IS MADE, THE MORE WORRIED I BECAME. THE MORE I RESEARCHED THE SCIENCE OF DOG NUTRITION, THE MORE PISSED OFF I BECAME.

THE PROBLEM WITH KIBBLE

The fact is kibble uses heat-rendered meat meals, meat slurries and often, high carb, starchy veg. It uses a high temperature extrusion process that creates continuous chemical and physical alterations to the ingredient mixture. This process changes the protein's molecular structure and reduces concentrations of vitamins, fatty and amino acids. [Read more about that here.]

Frankly, even though I’m clear that my dogs are dogs and not people, I love them as much as I would a person. There’s no way I would put the human equivalent of what I’ve just described in my body, so why should I do it to them?

BIG BUSINESS

Which brings me to why I’ve become increasingly pissed off. Firstly, you need to recognise that dog food is bloody big business. In Australia alone, it’s worth about $1 billion. (Globally? In 2018, the dog food market was about US $34 billion.)


Large corporate players dominate the Australian market, just as they do globally. In Australia, the three largest players account for more than 80% of pet food industry revenue. There isn’t necessarily anything bad with big companies per se. However, my point is that there are some very entrenched interests. And those entrenched interests are at war.

ON ONE HAND, WE HAVE A WHOLE #FRESHFOOD REVOLUTION GOING ON.

It’s no accident I’ve created bestie. bestie is part of a revolution that’s going on across the world, as people like me want to change the way we feed our dogs. That’s why there’s been a rise in raw and homemade feeding; dehydrated and air-dried high meat products. They’re being created because people want to feed their dogs food that’s biologically appropriate – high meat and low carb – and they want to do it with fresher, more natural ingredients.


However, on the other hand there’s unquestionably a pushback campaign. (And given that it IS big business, I understand why. That doesn’t make it right.)

THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST 'BEG'

That campaign against BEG (yep, they’ve invented an acronym to tar everything with the same brush: boutique, exotic and grain-free) suggests that the science of dog nutrition is something dog owners can’t get their heads around, that vets are the only ones with answers and that the only companies who should be trusted to make it, have full-time, on-staff nutritionists, their own manufacturing facilities, conduct and publish research, and lab test every nutrient. (Does that sound like a large corporate to you?)


I repeat, that I agree that dog nutrition is a science. But I don’t agree that what I’ve described above, is the only method to create and get a nutritionally complete food for my dogs.

ALL OF THIS HAS LED ME TO BESTIE. AND HERE’S HOW WE’VE MADE IT SCIENTIFICALLY ROBUST

1. THE FORMULATION

The food formulation has been developed by one of Australia’s top pet nutritionists, Denis M’Gee, who works for bestie on an ongoing basis. Denis has developed food for Bonne, Purina, Ivory Coat, Stay Loyal, and a number of natural dog food brands. He also manages quality control for several independent pet food manufacturers. He was previously the Research & Development Manager APAC for Ralston Purina Australia. 

2. EXCEEDS STANDARDS

bestie, combined with protein in recommended quantities, meets and exceeds the nutritional levels in the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for all life stages, including large breed dogs ie 31kg (70lbs) or more as an adult.

3. LAB TESTED

The bestie formulation has been tested by Agrifood Labs. Agrifood has been a major provider of physical and chemical testing servicing the Australian grain, food and feed industries since 1989. It has a wide scope of test methods that are accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA).

4. AUSTRALIAN INGREDIENTS

Our ingredients are primarily sourced from Australia, except for three herbs that have overseas sources, and specialty ingredients like the green lipped mussel and cod liver oil from Norwegian cod. (Read more about our ingredients here.) In addition, most of the fruit, veg and specialty ingredients like Manuka honey, have been dried using low-temperature processing, for optimum nutrient retention. 

5. accredited partners

Our blending and packing is done by a Fairhaven Copack, a Central Coast social enterprise with HACCP and Australian Organic Certification.

6. SCIENCE-based feed guide

Our app works out the right quantities for each meal, tailored to the individual dog, to avoid them getting fat, based on accepted Resting and Maintenance Energy Requirements (kcal/day) of dogs.

LET ME SUM IT ALL UP

My dogs are like my kids; I believe in fresh food for good health; what I do for myself I want to do for them; I want it to be biologically right and I want it to give them everything they need – and more.

I want to show my love through food, but I don’t want to spend a day making it. I also want to share what I’ve made, with you! (And I want to celebrate Mondoe, who kicked the whole thing off.)

picture of complete meal made with bestie nutri-mix

THE ANSWER, FOR ME, IS BESTIE.

THE VALUES THAT GUIDE WHAT WE DO

1. BE OF SERVICE

Sure, this is a business, but it’s a business designed to serve you and the problems we imagine you have. (Because we had them too.) However, our values aren’t just about you. We also want to be of service to our staff, colleagues and partners. That means sharing help when they need it or having tough conversations when they’re needed too.

2. STRIVE FOR SIMPLE

This encompasses so much! We want to speak straightforwardly. This is also the test for our product development – how can we make the process of feeding your dog scientifically robust but also simple? How simple can we make our packs? The ordering process? The app? We don’t want to make things complicated or hidden – we want them to be transparent and straightforward. But we also want them to be beautifully designed…simple is not code for ugly!

3. KEEP IMPROVING

We put time and effort into designing things of service at the outset. But that isn’t where we want to stop. We want to keep looking for ways to make things work even better – and we want to take on board your feedback too.

4. BALANCE THE 3PS - PEOPLE, PETS, PLANET

This is an ongoing challenge and it affects the choices we make about ingredients – their source and how they’re processed; our manufacturing, our packaging – and we can definitely do more in that area to make them more sustainable. We’ll also be certifying as a B Corp – which will raise the bar even higher.

5. DO WHAT MONDOE WOULD LIKE!

Ok, this is an extra! My final test for what we do is how it would have helped or hindered Mondoe - as my stand in for all plucky dogs! Here's my Ode to Mondoe - independent spirit and constant sentinel. Much loved.

MONDOE ON GRASS

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We use compostable mailers, carbon neutral shipping and food-grade manufacturing.