Man eats dog food for living, claims he quite likes it
A man who eats dog food for a living has claimed he quite likes it.
Philip Wells is a professional dog food taster. That's exactly the job you're imagining. He eats dog food - usually intended for dogs - every single day for quality testing purposes.
Just like a chocolate tester, but with slightly less enjoyment and a lot more marylebone jelly.
Despite the obvious downsides of the job, it's well paid. A good dog food taster can start on a salary of £20,000 (£1,000 less than a nurse) and earn up to £50,000 (well above the average wage of a paramedic).
The tasting process
Before Philip puts cold dog food in his mouth, Philip takes the time to check the visual side of the product.
"I make sure I can see enough blueberries or green beans for example," he says.
Then he smells it, just like a dog would.
"The aroma of food tells you so much. If it smells bad it probably is bad. Our recipes use only freshly prepared meat and botanical herbs so it doesn’t smell like normal dog food."
Oh yeah? Prepared meat and botanical herbs? Kinda want some now, this guy's selling the f*ck out of it. After smelling the treats, then comes the actual taste test.
"Trying the food is the best way to pick up on the nuances of the cooking. Something that works especially well on the dry kibbles and the treats."
"Taste and mouth-feel along with 'crunch' tells us so much about the baking process."
Pros of eating dog food for a living:
- You don't need to pack a lunch.
- Your coat gets a healthy sheen.
- Potential £50,000 salary.
Cons of eating dog food for a living:
- The smell
- The taste
- You're eating f*cking dog food.
Philip's favourite doggy treat?
After a while of testing any kind of food, you're bound to pick your favourite. This, it turns out, is also true of dog food. Philip, whose full title is Technical Director at Lily's Kitchen, says his personal favourite is Lovely Lamb with Peas and Parsley.
"It’s always a pleasure to quality check this one as the recipe is one of the best, but it’s also great for this time of year – it’s our lowest fat dry food."
Admittedly, Lamb with Peas and Parsley sounds quite nice. We'd eat the hell out of that.
Philip tastes "Every batch. Every recipe. Every day."
Philip, who works for Lily's Kitchen dog food said it was important for humans to test the pet food in the development phase as well as for quality control.
"Dogs’ palates are different to humans’" he says, which would normally be a good excuse to NOT ask humans to taste test dog food.
"But taste is an important quality check to ensure each different ingredient is perfectly balanced in just the right proportions."
He also stressed the importance of testing all their products, every day, for quality control. In short, he ends up eating a lot of dog food:
"Every batch. Every recipe. Every day."
"Because plenty of cats and dogs rely on our food it’s very important we deliver."
As you'd imagine, tasting dog food for £50,000 per year has its upsides and downsides. For Philip, the downsides come when he has to try his rivals', inferior, products.
“No two days are ever the same," he said.
“There are some pretty gruesome pet foods out there and although I don’t taste them, the smell is enough to turn the stomach when I do a bit of market research.”
"I like it"
For all the bad days, when you have to eat rival dog food instead of a delicious lunch, Philip says he actually enjoys the dog food produced by his own company, and going the extra mile to make sure they have a great product.
"'Eating your own dog food' is a term used when describing a company who practice what they preach by using their own products to demonstrate their quality," he said
"Well, at Lily’s Kitchen not only do we feed our dogs and cats exclusively on Lily’s Kitchen foods – we go the extra mile and quite literally eat our own dog food.
"And for what it’s worth, I quite like it."