Home grocery delivery (think Blue Apron) is one of the hottest trends in food lately, so it’s not surprising that pet food companies have picked up on this idea. For example, you can order online and have fresh dog food delivered to your door literally within hours from the time the food is made in a company’s kitchen. Fresh foods can be customized for your dog’s personal diet, and companies like NomNom and Ollie use only the highest quality ingredients.
Many people like the idea of feeding fresh food to their dogs. Some of the benefits include homemade quality, customized orders, the freshness of the food, and convenience. Fresh food meal deliveries come right to your door and (depending on the company) meals are easy to serve. You can feed your dog a home-made type diet without having to shop for ingredients and prepare the food yourself or worry that the food isn’t nutritionally complete and balanced.
Home meal delivery of fresh dog food is an appealing option for pet lovers who are comfortable shopping online. Almost one-fifth of pet owners are currently purchasing pet food of all kinds online and having it delivered, so home delivery of fresh food is a pet food category that’s ready to grow even more.
Our experience with NomNom vs. Ollie
I frequently write about dog foods for various pet food sites so I was delighted when I was asked to compare NomNom and Ollie. I had not previously fed fresh dog food or used this kind of meal delivery service. I was feeding a high quality low grain dog food from an online site prior to starting the fresh dog food.
I have four English Setters ranging from a male dog (three years old) to two sisters (nine years) and an older girl (11 years). They are all quite active with no health problems (knock on wood). My old girl bosses everyone, though she does sleep a little more than she once did. My dogs usually have good appetites. However, the male dog is relatively new to the house. He is super active and doesn’t even stop to eat sometimes. He will happily spend all day chasing squirrels and rabbits. He needed to gain weight. The other dogs were either at a good weight or they could stand to lose a couple of pounds.
Since I’ve been writing about dog food for a long time, my dogs have been taste testers for a lot of foods: canned foods, kibbles, and even homemade foods. They love to try new foods.
Packaging for both brands featured ice packs that are optimized for this kind of meal delivery service.
We received the boxes of NomNom first. I live in the eastern part of the U.S. They were shipped from California by Fedex and arrived less than 12 hours after they left the company’s kitchen, which I found impressive. The food was delivered fresh and cold so I had to warm it a little under some running warm water to make it suitable for the dogs to eat.
The food from Ollie also arrived quickly. It was also frozen. Since it comes in trays instead of small bags, I didn’t think running it under warm water would work to warm it up. I didn’t try to warm it in the microwave, though that might be an option. I let it thaw out in my refrigerator for a few hours before I fed it to the dogs.
When filling out information to select food for the dogs, I chose the chicken and pork recipes. NomNom had five recipes to choose from, so I was more or less guessing which foods my dogs might like best. NomNom included samples of the other foods so the dogs could try them, too. Other recipes include beef, turkey, and egg & veggie.
Chicken Chow-Wow is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for all life stages including growth of large sized dogs.
Ingredients: Boneless chicken thighs, sweet potatoes, yellow squash, spinach, canola oil, sunflower oil, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, fish oil, vinegar, citric acid (natural preservative), taurine, choline bitartrate, zinc gluconate, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, copper gluconate, manganese gluconate, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), selenium yeast, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin B12 supplement, cholecalciferol (source of vitamin D3), sodium iodide.
|Crude Protein||11.5% min.|
|Crude Fat||6% min.|
|Crude Fiber||1.5% max.|
Porkalicious Potluck is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for all life stages including growth of large sized dogs.
Ingredients: Ground pork, russet potatoes, green beans, zucchini, brown mushrooms, kale, canola oil, dicalcium phosphate, salt, fish oil, vinegar, citric acid (natural preservative), taurine, choline bitartrate, zinc gluconate, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, copper gluconate, manganese gluconate, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), selenium yeast, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin B12 supplement, cholecalciferol (source of vitamin D3), sodium iodide.
|Crude Protein||8% min.|
|Crude Fat||8% min.|
|Crude Fiber||2% max.|
The NomNom food looks like real food that people might eat when you dish it up. You could see the chicken, spinach, and squash in the chicken recipe, for example. I really liked the fact that it looked like real food.
Chicken Goodness Ingredients:Chicken, chicken gizzard, carrot, green peas, chicken liver, chia seed, long grain rice, spinach, potato, egg, blueberries sunflower oil, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, fish oil, iodized salt, cod liver oil, zinc gluconate, basil, rosemary, vitamin E, pyridoxine hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
- Protein 10%
- Fat 5%
- Fiber 2%
- Moisture 72%
Hearty Beef Eats Ingredients
Beef, beef heart, beef kidney, sweet potato, beef liver, peas, potato, carrot, spinach, chia seed, dicalcium phosphate, sunflower oil, blueberries, calcium carbonate, fish oil (preserved with tocopherols), iodized salt, zinc gluconate, basil, rosemary, vitamin E supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
- Protein 12%
- Fat 10%
- Fiber 2%
- Moisture 68%
Ollie comes with a packet of probiotics to help your dog digest the food. I thought this was helpful but it did make me wonder why the food might need extra probiotics.
The Ollie food looks like a dressing or stuffing. It reminded me a little of my mother’s cornbread dressing in appearance. I have read that some people add a little water to it when they serve it but I didn’t do that.
When comparing these two foods nutritionally, note that NomNom has more moisture. You should do a dry matter basis comparison of the foods to make a truer comparison of the nutrients. For example, if you remove the moisture and compare the two chicken foods, NomNom has 42.6 percent protein, 22.2 percent fat, and 5.6 percent fiber; compared to 35.7 percent protein, 17.9 percent fat, and 7.1 percent fiber with Ollie’s chicken formula. Ollie also has more carbohydrates.
Both foods looked good but NomNom looked more like food that you might eat yourself. Your dog is also getting a higher percentage of protein and fewer carbs with NomNom — something that’s important to a lot of dog lovers who are concerned about their nutrition.
As I said, my dogs have good appetites. They really enjoyed both NomNom and Ollie. They inhaled the NomNom food every time I put it in their pans and placed them in the floor. The food was literally all gone in two minutes. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them eat dog food that fast.
To be fair, my dogs really liked the Ollie dog food, too. This food was bulkier and the dogs didn’t eat it quite as fast. The texture of the food was different. As I said, it was more like a dressing or stuffing.
Both foods were delivered in boxes very quickly. The boxes are delivered to your door so even if they are heavy (I have four dogs so it was a lot of meals), you only have to move them to your kitchen.
NomNom comes in plastic packets that are easy to open. Then just squeeze the food into your dog’s dish. It’s easy to use these packets for individual servings. Ollie comes in small trays similar to human microwave meals. You cut open and remove the plastic film that covers the tray. Then you can dish the food out into each dog’s bowl.
Storage in your refrigerator can be challenging, especially if you have a big order and/or more than one dog. I found with the NomNom packets that I was stuffing them everywhere in the freezer. But the packets are not large and they are folded, so they can fit easily into small spaces.
The Ollie trays are stacked, but they do take up some space. I had to clear room for them in the freezer.
If you have one or two dogs you probably won’t have any of these issues.
When you read the instructions, you learn that you have to plan ahead for both kinds of food since they are frozen. That means letting them thaw out some ahead of time for your dog so you won’t be trying to feed frozen food. I would move the frozen meals from the freezer to the refrigerator the day before I planned to feed them so they could soften up.
Winner: For packaging, storage, and ease of use, NomNom and Ollie were both good. I thought that fresh food might be a little messy, but both foods were simple to feed and there was really no mess. NomNom’s individual, customized packets are ideal for many situations. I think most people would probably find NomNom easier to feed.
One thing that NomNom has that I really like is that they have a veterinarian on staff – Dr. Justin Shmalberg— who is an expert in veterinary nutrition. A board-certified specialist in both the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN) and in the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation (ACVSMR), Shmalberg is also a Clinical Associate Professor and Chief of Integrative Medicine Service at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. People often worry about the science and research behind a company’s nutrition. I liked knowing that NomNom has a specialist in veterinary nutrition advising the company about their foods.
Ollie doesn’t have anyone in a similar role that I could find online.
Winner for nutritional expertise: NomNom
Another thing that I liked about NomNom was the way you could personalize or customize your dog’s order. When you place your order, the company asks you to answer some questions about each dog, such as their age, activity level, and weight. They use your answers to come up with the ideal number of calories your dog should have in each meal. Each packet they send is an individual portion for your specific dog with the calories he’s supposed to have per meal. Granted, in my home with a couple of dogs that need to lose weight, this was not appreciated! If I continue to feed NomNom, I would increase some of the portion sizes and calories per meal. Healthy portions don’t necessarily mean a happy dog in my house. I have very active sporting dogs, and a couple of them strongly felt that they needed more food even if they are a little pudgy.
That said, I do think that NomNom’s personalization of their food is a positive for most dogs.
You can also customize your dog’s meals with Ollie. They ask similar questions to come up with the calories your dog needs per day. They offer an All Ollie plan, Mostly Ollie, and Some Ollie, depending on how much of their food you want to include in your dog’s diet. One of the main differences with Ollie’s method is that since the food comes in a tray, you still have to scoop it out, so the calories are not as precise. If you have a dog that likes you to fudge on the calories, you might like this method better, but if you really want to stick to exact calories for your dog’s diet, NomNom definitely wins.
Fresh food is a little more expensive than most kibble, but people who buy it are usually looking for the healthiest food option for their dog.
The pricing is dependent on your dog’s profile (current weight and target weight)
For our 50 pound dog, if you feed an All Ollie diet of Hearty Beef Eats, the weekly cost for 14 meals (one week of food) is $59.98. That breaks down to $4.28/meal. (Ollie does offer a discount for your first purchase.) If you feed an All Ollie diet of Chicken Goodness, the cost for 14 meals (one week of food) is $80.36, which breaks down to $5.74/meal.
For our 50 pound pup, if you feed an all NomNom diet of Heartland Beef Mash, the weekly cost for 14 meals (one week of food) is $50.59. That breaks down to $3.61 /meal. (NomNom does offer a discount for your first purchase.) If you feed an All NomNom diet of Chicken Chow-Wow, the cost for 14 meals (one week) is 56.00. That breaks down to $4.00 per meals
After consulting with my dogs, we think that NomNom is the winner. They enjoyed Ollie but there was no mistaking the fact that they really loved the NomNom foods. I really appreciated the individualized portions that made the food very easy to feed and store. I like knowing that NomNom has an expert in veterinary nutrition on staff. I also like the fact that NomNom comes out a little better when you look at the dry matter basis (DMB) figures. NomNom – recommended by English Setters!