Originally Posted by Big-Cat-Fan
Most of the time your just paying for the name. Like with anything else.
I personally think this Maxximum cat food is good. They say make sure chicken or fish or some other meat is the first ingredient and with Maxximum chicken is.
You're not actually paying for the name with most pet foods, Science Diet being the one exception. Other than that, you absolutely do get what you pay for.
"Paying for the name" really means paying for the advertising. Certainly Friskies and Purina and Meow Mix commercials are all over the TV. Advertising is expensive! But the food is still very inexpensive. It definitely tells you something if a huge advertising budget still leaves you with an inexpensive product.
For contrast, you will not see TV commercials for Innova or Nutro or Wyson or Wellness or other premium brands. It doesn't really make sense to say that you are "paying for the brand" when Joe Average Consumer has never even heard of Natura Pet Products (the makers of Innova and California Natural). What you are paying for is top quality ingredients.
But most importantly, the ingredients speak for themselves. For a side-by-side comparison:
Nine Lives Super Supper
GROUND YELLOW CORN, CHICKEN BY-PRODUCT MEAL, CORN GLUTEN MEAL, SOY HULLS, BREWERS RICE, POULTRY FAT (PRESERVED WITH MIXED TOCOPHEROLS, ROSEMARY EXTRACT, AND CITRIC ACID), CHICKEN BROTH, MEAT AND BONE MEAL, ANIMAL DIGEST(SOURCE OF BEEF & TURKEY FLAVORS ), CALCIUM SULFATE, CARAMEL COLOR, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, CHOLINE CHLORIDE, CALCIUM CARBONATE, DL-METHIONINE, SALT, VITAMINS (VITAMIN E SUPPLEMENT, NIACIN SUPPLEMENT, VITAMIN A SUPPLEMENT, D-CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, THIAMINE MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN SUPPLEMENT, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE, MENADIONE SODIUM BISULFITE COMPLEX, VITAMIN D3 SUPPLEMENT, FOLIC ACID, BIOTIN, VITAMIN B12 SUPPLEMENT), MINERALS (FERROUS SULFATE, ZINC OXIDE, MANGANOUS OXIDE, COPPER SULFATE, CALCIUM IODATE, SODIUM SELENITE) , TITANIUM DIOXIDE*, TAURINE, YELLOW 5*, YELLOW 6*, RED 40*, BHA (USED AS A PRESERVATIVE)* ARTIFICIAL COLORChicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul
(all life stages/adult formula):
Chicken, Salmon, chicken meal, whole grain brown rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), oatmeal, whole grain white rice, potatoes, cracked pearled barley, millet, turkey, duck, flaxseed, natural chicken flavor, salt, choline chloride, chicory root extract, dl-methionine, potassium chloride, taurine, carrots, peas, apples, dried skim milk, kelp, cranberry powder, rosemary, parsley flake. Vitamins and minerals.
These are just two examples chosen more or less at random. One does not need a degree in animal nutrition to see that the ingredient lists are nowhere near equivalent.
Your point about the first ingredient being the most abundant is accurate, but it is not the whole picture. The other ingredients on the list are in the food too! If I gave you a plate of food and said "there's just a little bit of the sludge they scraped off the slaughterhouse floor in that, it's not a big deal", you probably wouldn't touch the food! But that stuff is what pet food manufacturers call "animal digest" and if you feed most grocery/discount store brands of cat food, then that is exactly what you are feeding to your cat.