Taste of the Wild vs. Blue Buffalo: Our 2019 In-Depth Comparison

As a responsible pet owner, you want what is best for your dog – especially when it comes to choosing a high-quality dog food. Unfortunately, things are not always as simple as they seem. With hundreds of dog food brands offering thousands of recipes, how can you possibly choose just one?

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Because there are so many options to choose from, the best place to start is with a reputable brand.

Taste of the Wild and Blue Buffalo are two of the top pet food companies on the market, and they each offer a variety of tasty recipes made with premium ingredients. Though either brand could be a great choice for your dog, we wanted to find out which one is really the best.

In this article, we’ll compare and contrast Taste of the Wild with Blue Buffalo in several points including recall history, product lines, ingredients, and price to bring you our top pick. If you don’t want to wait to find out what that pick is, here’s a sneak peek:

Sneak Peak at the Winner: Taste of the Wild

After a thorough comparison of products, ingredients, and prices, we’ve chosen Taste of the Wild as our top pick over Blue Buffalo. Here are some of the reasons we love this brand:

  • Taste of the Wild dry food is available in 5-, 15-, and 30-pound bags and, on the whole, is more affordable than Blue Buffalo when priced per pound.
  • Every one of Taste of the Wild’s recipes is naturally grain-free, made with digestible carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, peas, and lentils.
  • All of Taste of the Wild’s formulas begin with a premium source of animal protein, and many of their meats are smoked or roasted for flavor.

Some Background on Both Brands

With hundreds of different brands to choose from, dog owners have a difficult task when it comes to choosing just one recipe to feed their dog. Though the products you see on pet store shelves may all look alike, the truth of the matter is that not all dog foods are created equal. If you want to make a thorough comparison of two top brands like Taste of the Wild and Blue Buffalo, you need to start by learning about the background of each brand.

Taste of the Wild was founded in 2007 which makes it a fairly new brand. Manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods, Inc. and owned by Schell and Kampeter, Taste of the Wild is a family-owned, privately-held business. According to the company website, this brand was created to fill a need for high-quality, affordable pet food – the kind of diet nature intended for cats and dogs. Today, Taste of the Wild is produced in five state-of-the-art facilities in the United States and ingredients are sourced locally and globally from suppliers that have been carefully vetted.

Blue Buffalo was created by Bill and Jackie Bishop when their Airedale Terrier, Blue’s, health problems necessitated the kind of diet that simply wasn’t available on pet store shelves. The Bishops created their own line of nutrient-rich dog foods made with only the highest quality natural ingredients – the kind of quality a family member deserves. Developed with input from holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists, all of Blue Buffalo’s recipes contain their LifeSource Bits, a proprietary blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to ensure complete and balanced nutrition.

Recall History of Both Brands

When it comes to choosing a dog food brand, there are many factors to consider, but one of the most important is safety. All pet food brands are subject to recall from time to time, but if a brand experiences frequent recalls it could be a sign that something is wrong.

If a pet food brand has frequent recalls, you may start to wonder about the quality of their ingredients and the safety of their manufacturing processes. Here is a quick overview of the recall history for both Taste of the Wild and Blue Buffalo.

Taste of the Wild Recalls:

  • May 2012 – Potential for salmonella.

Blue Buffalo Recalls:

  • March 2017 – Potential for elevated levels of naturally-occurring beef thyroid hormone.
  • February 2017 – Packaging quality; potential for metal (aluminum) contamination.
  • May 2016 – Possible mold contamination.
  • November 2015 – Potential for salmonella; may contain low levels of propylene glycol.
  • October 2010 – Potentially too much Vitamin D.
  • April 2007 – Melamine concerns.
Though it is certain alarming to see that Blue Buffalo has had six recalls compared to Taste of the Wild’s single recall, there are many factors to consider here. One thing to look at is the size of each recall. While Blue Buffalo has had several separate product recalls, most of them affected a limited number of products, and some of them were nothing more than packaging errors.

Taste of the Wild’s only recall affected thousands of products. There is also some concern about the number of recalls Diamond Pet Foods (the company that manufactures Taste of the Wild) has had, though only one has been known to affect Taste of the Wild Products in particular.

Taste of the Wild vs. Blue Buffalo Review

Both Taste of the Wild and Blue Buffalo are top-quality dog food brands. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be some of the most popular dog food products on the market. At a glance, these brands are very similar in the quality of their ingredients and in the types of recipes they offer. If you want to know which brand is best, however, you’ll need to look a little deeper into factors such as ingredients, variety, and value. Keep reading to see how the two brands compare on these points:

Product Line Comparison

One of the best ways to compare different pet food brands is to take a closer look at their product offerings. This is one of the areas in which Taste of the Wild and Blue Buffalo are vastly different. Blue Buffalo offers five distinct product lines including a line of natural veterinary diets while Taste of the Wild only offers two product lines, one of which is extremely new.

Here is an overview of the product lines Blue Buffalo has to offer:

  • BLUE Life Protection Formula – Made with the finest natural ingredients and enhanced with vitamins and minerals, this line of products features real meat as well as fresh fruits and garden vegetables for premium-quality nutrition.
  • BLUE Freedom Grain-Free – Designed for dogs who have trouble tolerating grain, this line of products is free from gluten and grains but loaded with premium animal proteins and other natural ingredients as well as Blue’s LifeSource Bits.
  • BLUE Basics – An exclusive line of limited ingredient diets, BLUE Basics features novel proteins like turkey, duck, and lamb but excludes common food allergens.
  • BLUE Wilderness – Designed to mimic the natural evolutionary diet of wild wolves, this product line is high in protein but entirely grain-free for optimal nutrition and easy digestion.
  • BLUE Natural Veterinary Diet – This line of products offers a natural, dietary solution for veterinary problems such as kidney problems, mobility issues, and weight management.

Here is an overview of the product lines Taste of the Wild has to offer:

  • Taste of the Wild – In their original line of products, these dry and wet foods feature premium proteins including fresh meats and meat meals, supplemented with grain-free carbohydrates and plenty of healthy fats for energy.
  • PREY Limited Ingredient – The newest addition to the Taste of the Wild lineup, this product line features three limited ingredient recipes made with premium proteins, non-GMO ingredients, and just 4 main ingredients or fewer to maximize digestibility and reduce food allergies.

When it comes to variety, it seems that Blue Buffalo has more to offer than Taste of the Wild simply in terms of numbers. Not only do they have more than twice as many distinct product lines, but each product line contains over a dozen unique dry and wet food products. Taste of the Wild, on the other hand, has fewer than 20 distinct products to offer.

Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular products each brand has to offer.

Popular Taste of the Wild Recipes

These three recipes were chosen based on the number of customer reviews on the Taste of the Wild website and Chewy.com. You can purchase all three online or in stores. Here are some of the key benefits for the top three recipes:

High Prairie Canine Recipe with Roasted Bison & Venison

Featuring premium roasted meats, this protein-rich recipe also contains digestible grain-free carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and peas. It also contains plenty of omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat with prebiotic fibers and probiotics to ensure healthy and regular digestion. Here are the key values from the guaranteed analysis:

  • Crude Protein = 32.0%
  • Crude Fat = 18.0%
  • Crude Fiber = 4.0%
  • Moisture = 10.0%

Pacific Stream Canine Recipe with Smoked Salmon

This recipe contains three separate salmon ingredients – fresh salmon, salmon meal, and smoked salmon – as well as ocean fish meal to provide a concentrated source of premium animal protein. It also contains fresh fruits and vegetables for balanced nutrition with probiotics for digestion. Here are the key values from the guaranteed analysis:

  • Crude Protein = 25.0%
  • Crude Fat = 15.0%
  • Crude Fiber = 3.0%
  • Moisture = 10.0%

Sierra Mountain Canine Recipe with Roasted Lamb

Made with a single source of animal protein, this recipe is naturally grain-free and highly digestible. It features sweet potatoes, lentils, and peas as grain-free carbohydrates with fresh fruits and veggies for nutritional balance. It also contains chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption and probiotics for healthy digestion. Here are the key values from the guaranteed analysis:

  • Crude Protein = 25.0%
  • Crude Fat = 15.0%
  • Crude Fiber = 5.0%
  • Moisture = 10.0%

Popular Blue Buffalo Recipes

These three recipes were chosen based on the number of customer reviews on Chewy.com. You can purchase all three online or in stores. Here are some of the key benefits for the top three recipes:

BLUE Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

Featuring real meat, whole grains, garden vegetables and fruit, this recipe is rich in high-quality protein and digestible carbohydrates. It contains plenty of omega-3 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat as well as fresh fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources for key vitamins and minerals. Here are the key values from the guaranteed analysis:

  • Crude Protein = 24.0%
  • Crude Fat = 14.0%
  • Crude Fiber = 5.0%
  • Moisture = 10.0%

BLUE Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Food

Designed to mimic your dog’s natural evolutionary diet, this recipe is entirely grain-free and rich in animal protein. It features fresh deboned chicken and chicken meal as lean sources of animal protein with digestible grain-free carbohydrates and plenty of omega fatty acids. Here are the key values from the guaranteed analysis:

  • Crude Protein = 34.0%
  • Crude Fat = 15.0%
  • Crude Fiber = 6.0%
  • Moisture = 10.0%

BLUE Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Formula Turkey & Potato Recipe

From the Basics line of limited ingredient diets, this formula features both fresh, deboned turkey and turkey meal for a concentrated source of lean protein. It contains grain-free carbohydrates like potatoes, peas, and tapioca, with a blend of omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. Here are the key values from the guaranteed analysis:

  • Crude Protein = 20.0%
  • Crude Fat = 12.0%
  • Crude Fiber = 6.0%
  • Moisture = 10.0%

Price Comparison

The price of dog food varies according to where you shop. If you buy your dog food from a boutique pet shop, for example, you will likely pay a great deal more for the same product you can find online or in big box pet stores. Generally speaking, you’ll find the best prices online from retailers like Chewy.com.

To give you an idea how much you might spend on Taste of the Wild and Blue Buffalo dog food, here is a quick breakdown of prices for the six recipes reviewed in the previous section:

  • Taste of the Wild High Prairie Canine Recipe = $48.99/30lbs. = $1.63/pound
  • Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Canine Recipe = $48.99/30lbs. = $1.63/pound
  • Taste of the Wild Sierra Mountain Canine Recipe = $49.99/30lbs. = $1.67/pound
  • Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Chicken & Brown Rice = $48.99/30lbs. = $1.63/pound
  • Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Chicken Recipe = $50.00/24lbs. = $2.08/pound
  • Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Turkey & Potato Recipe = $51.99/24lbs. = $2.17/pound

Based on these prices alone, it seems that Taste of the Wild is both more affordable and more consistent in price. These prices are based on the largest bag size available from Chewy, without discounts for Subscribe and Save.

Ingredient Comparison

According to their website, Blue Buffalo uses only the finest natural ingredients, and each product starts with real meat like chicken, lamb, or fish. Every recipe contains a blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for skin and coat support as well as plenty of fiber for healthy and regular digestion. All of Blue Buffalo’s recipes are fortified with LifeSource bits which contain a proprietary blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to ensure complete and balanced nutrition. They don’t use any by-products or artificial additives, and every recipe is free from corn, wheat, and soy.

Taste of the Wild also uses high-quality natural ingredients including a wide range of animal proteins including chicken, lamb, salmon, venison, bison, and more. Many of Taste of the Wild’s meats are roasted or smoked for flavor, and all of their recipes are made with grain-free carbohydrates. Like Blue Buffalo, Taste of the Wild supplements each recipe with vitamin supplements and chelated minerals for optimal nutrition and every formula contains probiotics for healthy digestion.

Our Final Verdict: Taste of the Wild

The truth of the matter is that while all dogs have the same basic nutritional requirements, every dog is an individual. The recipe that perfectly suits one dog’s unique needs may not be the right choice for another dog. This being said, it is difficult to say whether Taste of the Wild is truly better than Blue Buffalo, or vice versa. It is more important to consider your dog’s unique nutritional needs and to choose a brand and recipe that works well.

If you really want to know which of these two brands is best, however, you can take a closer look at comparisons between the ingredients, selection, and prices each brand has to offer:

Which Brand Uses Better Ingredients: Taste of the Wild

Both Blue Buffalo and Taste of the Wild use high-quality animal proteins as the first ingredient in every recipe, though both use plant proteins in small amounts as well. They both include fresh fruits and vegetables in every recipe for nutritional value, though only Taste of the Wild guarantees that every recipe is grain-free. Neither brand uses artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives in their products and all recipes are free from by-products and low-quality fillers. Both brands supplement their recipes with chelated minerals to ensure optimal nutrient absorption as well as probiotics for healthy digestion. Both of these brands offer excellent quality in terms of their ingredients, but our top pick is Taste of the Wild simply for the variety of proteins they offer and because their products have shorter lists of ingredients.

Which Brand Has a Better Selection: Blue Buffalo

If you’re looking for a dog food brand that offers the greatest selection of unique products, Blue Buffalo takes the prize. Not only does Blue Buffalo offer four distinct lines of products, but each product line contains over a dozen dry and wet food recipes. Taste of the Wild, on the other hand, offers just two product lines for a total of fewer than 20 wet and dry food recipes. If your dog has specific preferences or dietary requirements, Blue Buffalo offers a wider selection of products to meet those needs.

Which Brand Has the Best Price (Value): Taste of the Wild

At a glance, Taste of the Wild has a lower price per pound across the board than Blue Buffalo. For a 30-pound bag of Taste of the Wild grain-free dog food, you’ll pay between $1.63 and $1.67 per pound. Blue Buffalo Life Protection dog food comes in at a similar price point, but these recipes are not grain-free. The Blue Buffalo Freedom line of grain-free dog foods costs about $1.97 to $2.14 per pound, depending on the recipe. It should also be noted that Taste of the Wild dog food comes in a 30-pound bag for about the same price as Blue Buffalo’s 24-pound bag. Based on these things, Taste of the Wild offers better price and value than Blue Buffalo for similar products.

When it comes to choosing the best dog food for your dog, don’t get too caught up in a debate about which brand is better. Start by learning as much as you can about your dog’s basic nutritional needs and then choose a recipe that fulfills those needs while also meeting your dog’s individual preferences and unique dietary requirements.

Check out our library of articles to find the best dog food for every need!

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