Mud Bay has watched Merrick grow from a small high quality producer of 100% USA sourced smoked bones back in the 90’s, to one of the top pet food manufacturers in America. They now offer a full range of super premium canned and dry diets for dogs and cats. Through all of this growth Mud Bay’s relationships with Merrick ownership, formulators, and plant management has remained very consistent. Merrick was purchased by Nestle Purina in 2015. Nestle has provided an increased focus on safety and testing and has given Merrick funding to grow, but has left the same great team in charge of running the company. We visited the Merrick team at their Hereford, Texas production facility in March of 2017 and we were very impressed with their transparency and all of the improvements they have made.
Merrick’s Focus on Safety and Quality
Merrick has achieved an SQF level 3 rating for all of their manufacturing facilities. In the manufacturing world, this is a pretty big deal. It means that they have developed a very complete set of processes and standards that all of their staff have to be trained on. It also means that they open themselves up for regular third party inspections both pre-scheduled and unscheduled. Merrick does both onsite and third-party testing of all of their final product and they don’t allow products to leave their warehouse until all testing is complete and approved for shipment.
Merrick’s Fun Healthy Cans
Wingaling, Smothered Comfort, and Grammy’s Pot Pie, are just a few of healthy canned formulas that Merrick has been making in their own cannery since 2003. Most pet food manufacturers don’t make their own canned product, but Merrick has been operating their own cannery since 1995. Having their own cannery has allowed them to come up with some really fun and delicious recipes including Wingaling, which has an entire pressure-cooked chicken wing in every can. The temperature and pressure of the cooking process soften any bones to a point that they can be easily eaten and digested.
Built from the ground up
It has been amazing to watch Merrick’s manufacturing plants grow over the years. Each time that we return to Hereford to inspect and tour the facilities, there is some kind of new improvement that they are excited to show us. Instead of one massive plant Merrick has 4 different facilities stretching from one end of Hereford Texas to the other. Each Plant specialize in something different; kibble, cans, treats, warehousing. Many of the plant employees have worked for Merrick since the early days and have been a big part innovating the way that they manufacture their foods and treats. Many of the process that Merrick has developed are proprietary and have come from years of mastering their craft.