With the slowing of the homemade pet food trend that followed the melamine scandal, grain-free has become the latest fad, on the perfectly reasonable theory that cats' and dogs' diets in nature would have been nearly all meat-based, and that the grains in traditional pet foods aren't benefiting them any. Combine that with the modern pet design movement, and what do you get? Before Grain, the new line from Merrick Pet Foods that I discovered on the shelves yesterday at Brooklyn's own NYCPet.com, which is actually not an online store, but a chain of brick-and-mortar stores with a perfunctory website.
It was the charmingly minimalist packaging that drew me to the display, but the delicious-sounding ingredients -- sweet potato, alfalfa grass, salmon oil, acai berries -- didn't hurt, nor did the straightforward flavor selection -- chicken, beef, turkey, quail, buffalo, tuna, salmon -- which put me in mind of the hearty menu at Craft, where I ate the other night. The food pellets themselves are dark brown, with a friendly, rounded shape; they look as if they'd make a lovely breakfast cereal.
Unfortunately, the Before Grain line isn't organic, which would have been a huge plus. And since the bags are plastic, a resealable ziploc top would have been great, and they really should have been biodegradable. But with its trial packages costing $2.49 apiece, with a $2.50 coupon on the side, it was impossible to say no. And I have to admit the bag looks pretty on my counter!