Blue Buffalo Cat Food Review | Recalls & Ratings in 2021

Blue Buffalo

This is our Blue Buffalo cat food review in 2021.

Blue Buffalo is a “new kid on the block” when it comes to the pet food industry.

The company has had its ups and downs over the years, but it has come a long way. Nowadays, Blue Buffalo leads the way as a premium ingredient, grain-free pet food company.

However, Blue Buffalo has been subject to several controversies over the years. And considering the age of the company, it has suffered numerous pet food recalls. 

I would recommend cat owners keep a watchful eye on their furry friends if they are fed a diet by Blue Buffalo. However, since General Mills Inc. acquired the company, there have been vast improvements in its quality control measures.

As a cat owner, I don’t think Blue Buffalo is the premium brand it claims to be. Primarily because of the history of recalls and quality control issues. I don’t believe that their quality justifies such a steep price.

The nutrients and minerals in their cat foods are good enough. Still, I also worry about the linked cases of Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM).

About Blue Buffalo

Blue Buffalo Logo

Blue Buffalo was established in 2003 by Bill Bishop and is now owned by General Mills, Inc., an American international food manufacturer. [1,2]

The company’s formation was initially formed because of a sick dog named Blue and his unhappy owners. 

Blue Buffalo prides itself by having a “by owners, for owners” policy. With the assistance of holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists, the company was formed and took the pet food sector by storm.

Generally, Blue Buffalo formulas will not contain corn, wheat, soy, poultry by-products, or artificial preservatives and colorings. 

Customers who feel strongly about established diets and want a premium quality diet are Blue Buffalo’s target consumers. Blue Buffalo also offers veterinary prescription diets in their ranges.

The History Behind Blue Buffalo

As we previously discussed, Blue Buffalo was founded off the back of a sick Airedale Terrier named Blue being diagnosed with cancer.

His owner, the company founder Bill Bishop, and his sons were dissatisfied with the market’s pet food. They decided to seek veterinarians and nutritionists to provide a diet that met their specific requirements.

Blue Buffalo eventually gained massive traction in the pet food sector and established itself as a grain-free pet food business that offered consumers competitive prices without compromising quality.

However, it wasn’t long before Blue Buffalo faced problems from competitors. The company often marketed itself by comparing its products to other established pet food brands, which lead to hostilities with Purina Petcare Co.

Purina Petcare Co. soon accused Blue Buffalo of false advertising and responded by scrutinizing Blue Buffalo’s signature Life Source Bits. 

The campaign against Blue Buffalo was extensive. Purina was making statements like some of the products by Blue Buffalo contained animal by-products and grains, which they claimed were excluded. [3]

In addition, Blue Buffalo found some of its pet food product lines linked with detailed reports on Dilated Cardiomyopathy and Melamine cases for several years. The FDA reported these related cases between January 1, 2014, and April 30, 2019. [4]

Sourcing, Manufacturing, and Quality

Blue buffalo works with a variety of pet food manufacturers. Reports suggest that these were ANI/Vita-Line Products, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, CJ Foods, ProPet, Tripe T Foods, and Tuffy’s Pet Foods. [5]

Primarily, the business operates production facilities in Joplin, Missouri, and Indiana. 

There is no clear information to substantiate Blue Buffalo’s manufacturing processes. However, based on limited information, it appears most of their products are produced in the U.S.

There also appears to be limited information about the sourcing of the ingredients contained in their recipes. However, this could be because they work with numerous manufacturers and suppliers.

Blue Buffalo frequently market their products targeting with the message of ingredient quality. Primarily they pride themselves in:

  • Excluding common allergen ingredients like corn, wheat, or soy.
  • Excluding animal by-products.
  • Excluding artificial preservatives and coloring.
  • A “real meat” first approach to all their recipes.
  • Providing grain-free alternative formulas.

However, it is worth noting that despite this company being relatively new, they have suffered numerous pet food recall. This casts doubts over their quality control measures.

Controversies and Concerns

Despite being a relative newcomer to the pet food industry, Blue Buffalo has not been without its controversies.

In the past, Blue Buffalo has tried to position its pet food as superior to other leading pet food brands. This still applies today. In fact, their website has pet food comparison features that you can use here

This has resulted in several legal disputes with the company accused of false advertising, mainly by Purina Pet Co. However, several other pet food brands have expanded on these accusations.

And despite Blue Buffalo positioning itself as high quality, the company has been subject to several dog food recalls. This has put into dispute their quality control protocols and blurring their marketing message of “quality.”

However, since General Mills, Inc. purchased the company, these issues have stopped.

Positive Policies

During the early years of Blue Buffalo’s formation, the company prided itself on producing premium pet foods with high-quality ingredients.

However, since its purchase by General Mills, the focus on environmental policies and procedures has steadily increased as time has progressed. General Mills is a well-established business that is actively seeking alternative ways to lower the environmental costs of its production.

General Mills has publicly acknowledged that climate change is a severe threat to the world and their business. Primarily, they believe that environmental factors such as flooding, erosion, droughts, and loss of biodiversity all affect agricultural food production.

As a result, General Mills has committed itself to:

  • Sustainably sourcing 100% of the first ten ingredients in their pet foods. 
  • Reduce green gas emissions by 28% by 2025.
  • Zero waste at 100% of its facilities by 2025.
  • Reduce food wastage.
  • Support sustainable practices (incl. Soil regenerative practices).

General Mills is also contemplating using alternative packaging (plastic to fiber) as part of its future environmental vision. However, it remains to be seen whether this will impact Blue Buffalo’s operating procedures. [6,7]


Blue Buffalo Cat Food Products

Blue Buffalo has an impressive variety of pet food products for both cats and dogs. Blue Buffalo’s marketing focuses on “natural, high-quality ingredients” with a “meat-first” approach.

It is worth noting that all the diets we are about to discuss have a mix of dry and wet foods. If you want to mix both, we suggest using products from the same product line. This is vital for prescribed veterinary diets.

Here are some of the leading products that are available:

Blue Buffalo Life Protection

BLUE Buffalo Life Protection Cat Food

The Life Protection formula by Blue Buffalo is a meat-first diet. It is considered the most popular option among cat owners. Life Protection offers a suitable diet for cats for a variety of different reasons.

The impressive product line is available for all life stages. It even offers a weight control formula for cats that need additional nutritional support to maintain a healthy weight.

This diet also features Blue Buffalo’s Life Source Bits, a unique cold-pressed blend of vitamins and antioxidants formulated explicitly by veterinarians and nutritionists.

Blue Buffalo Basics

BLUE Buffalo Basics Cat Food

BLUE Basics Limited Ingredient formulas are designed to cater to cats with sensitivities caused by common allergens. 

These limited ingredient diets use a single protein source to reduce the chances of allergic reactions. Typically, you’ll see easily digestible ingredients and additional dietary fibers to make the diet easier on a cat’s tummy.

The Basics formulas are also rich in essential fatty acids and amino acids to regulate inflammation and provide a balanced, nutritional meal for your cat. These diets also contain Blue Buffalo’s Life Source Bits, bolstering the vitamins and antioxidants in the diet.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness 

BLUE Buffalo Wilderness 

Blue Buffalo Wilderness formulas feature high protein, healthy fats and excludes common allergen ingredients like grains. 

Blue Buffalo prides itself on having a “meat-first” approach, and that’s easy to see in this cat food. The high protein levels are more than enough to meet your cat’s daily nutrient requirements. 

Blue Wilderness recipes will exclude poultry by-products, artificial preservatives, and flavors. As a result, this makes room for amino-rich ingredients that provide nutritional support for a cat’s daily activities. 

Like most of Blue Buffalo’s formulas, these diets contain Life Source Bits. These cat foods cater to cats of different life stages and also features a weight management formula.

Blue Buffalo Freedom

BLUE Buffalo Freedom Cat Food

Blue Buffalo Freedom is available for cats in both wet food and dry food. This diet also considers cats with sensitivities by limiting ingredients that cause adverse reactions, like grains. 

Similar to Blue Buffalo Basics, this formula uses a single protein source but uses other ingredients to bolster the protein content of the recipe later in the ingredients list.

Cats benefit from ingredients rich in amino acids, which are essential to their overall health. Healthy fatty acids also manage inflammation which prevents allergies. 

Blue Buffalo Freedom uses Life Source Bits to bolster vitamins and minerals needed for cats to thrive.

Blue Buffalo True Solutions

BLUE Buffalo True Solutions Cat Food

This formula is available in a variety of dry foods and wet foods. Notably, True Solutions does not require a veterinary prescription. However, the diet is formulated by PhD animal nutritionists, food scientists, and veterinarians.

Primarily, these cat foods aim to provide additional support and intervene early in conditions, so they do not require clinical support later on.

Life Source Bits bolster the overall nutritional content of the recipes and provide essential antioxidants and vitamins that a cat needs for everyday life and activities.

Blue Buffalo claims this diet helps with joints and mobility, supporting healthy coat and skin, digestive issues, and weight control. 

Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet

BLUE Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet

Blue Buffalo is one of the few pet food brands that offer a prescription veterinary diet.

The product range caters to many health conditions, including food allergies, kidney and urinary disease, gastrointestinal diseases, and weight management. 

Likewise, the products come in both wet food and dry food.

Like previous Blue Buffalo products, these diets exclude corn, wheat, or soy and by-products and grains. These diets contain Blue Buffalo’s exclusive Life Source Bits to provide a precise blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Blue Buffalo Tastefuls

BLUE Buffalo Tastefuls Wet Cat Food

A relatively new product line launched by Blue Buffalo, BLUE Tastefuls will gradually replace the premium Healthy Gourmet product line. 

Blue Buffalo announced the launch of this new product range on March 16, 2021, saying they aimed to provide a nutritional meal that appealed to picky eaters too. 

The company stated “55% of cat owners said they feel they must choose between food that is good for their cat and food their cat enjoys. The company seeks to bridge this gap.”

Real meat is featured as the first ingredient of all the wet formulas. The product range also features fortified minerals, vitamins, and amino acids to provide a balanced, nutritional meal.

The product range excludes common allergen ingredients like corn, wheat, or soy and artificial flavors and preservatives.


What Do Customers Think Of Blue Buffalo?

I spent a few days researching several forums and reviews on Blue Buffalo so that you can get a general idea of what real customers are saying.

Positive Reviews

“I am feeding more grain free and not all of them appeal to my fussy pair, but the 18 yr old ginger male and the 4 yr old Abyssinian and Shorthair mix are enjoying this equally.”

Customer reviewing Blue Buffalo Freedom Indoor Canned Cat Food.

“My cats can’t get enough of this stuff! I have to stop them from trying to eat non-stop. I won’t buy anything else from now on!”

Customer reviewing Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Dry Cat Food.

Negative Reviews

“He smells it and won’t go near the bowl. I tried mixing a bit of it into food he likes, but then he didn’t eat much of that either.”

Customer reviewing Blue Buffalo Freedom Indoor Pate.

“This is rediculously expensive and the commercials suggest people using less expensive don’t love their pets. I have thought this since I first heard the commercial.”

Customer reviewing Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Dry Cat Food.

Blue Buffalo Recall History

Unfortunately, Blue Buffalo has been subject to numerous recalls since its formation in 2003.

The below list includes all dog foods, and cat food recalls since 2006 for the brand.

  • Date: April 26, 2007
  • Product(s) Affected: All Blue Buffalo Canned Dog Foods, Dog Treats, Spa Select Canned Cat Foods, and Spa Select Kitten Dry Foods.
  • Reason for Recall: Possible contamination of Melamine and tampering of product formulas. [8]
  • Date: October 8, 2010
  • Product(s) Affected: Blue Wilderness Chicken 4.5lb (Best Used By: JUL2611Z, JUL2711Z, JUL2811Z), Blue Wilderness Chicken 11lb (Best Used By: JUL1211B), Blue Wilderness Chicken 24lb (Best Used By: JUL1211B, JUL1311B), Blue Basics Limited Ingredient Formula Salmon & Potato 11lb (Best Used By: AUG2111B, AUG2211B), Blue Basics Limited Ingredient Formula Salmon & Potato 24lb (Best Used By: AUG2111B, SEP2311P, OCT2611P), Blue Life Protection Chicken & Brown Rice 30lb (Best Used By: SEP2211P, SEP2311P, OCT2611P).
  • Reason for Recall: Possible “sequencing error” which resulted in excess levels of vitamin D. [9]
  • Date: November 6, 2015
  • Product(s) Affected: Blue Kitty Yums Chicken Recipe 2oz (UPC: 859610007820, Best Used By: April 24, 2016), Blue Kitty Yums Chicken Recipe 2 oz (UPC: 859610007820, Best Used By: July 24, 2016).
  • Reason for Recall: Potentially contained with Propylene Glycol. [10]
  • Date: November 25, 2015
  • Product(s) Affected: Cub Size Wilderness Wild Chews Bone (UPC: 840243110087, Best Used By: November 4, 2017)
  • Reason for Recall: Potentially contained with Salmonella. [11]
  • Date: May 26, 2016
  • Product(s) Affected: Life Protection Formula Fish and Sweet Potato Dog Food 30lb (UPC: 8596100032, Best Used By: April 11, 2017)
  • Reason for Recall: Possible mold contamination. [12]
  • Date: February 13, 2017
  • Product(s) Affected: Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Healthy Weight, Chicken Dinner with Garden Vegetables 12.5oz (UPC: 8-40243-10017-0, Best Used By: August 3, 2019). 
  • Reason for Recall: Possible Aluminium contamination. [13]
  • Date: February 28, 2017
  • Product(s) Affected: BLUE Divine Delights Filet Mignon Flavor in Gravy 3.5oz (UPC: 84024312035), BLUE Divine Delights New York Strip Flavor in Gravy 3.5oz (UPC: 84024312037), BLUE Divine Delights Prime Rib Flavor in Gravy 3.5oz (UPC: 84024312039), BLUE Divine Delights Rotisserie Chicken Flavor in Gravy 3.5oz (UPC: 84024312041), BLUE Divine Delights Pate Filet Mignon Flavor 3.5oz (UPC: 84024312043), BLUE Divine Delights Pate Porterhouse Flavor 3.5oz (UPC: 84024312045), BLUE Divine Delights Pate Grilled Chicken Flavor 3.5oz (UPC: 84024312047), BLUE Divine Delights Pate Top Sirloin Flavor 3.5oz (UPC: 84024312049), BLUE Divine Delights Pate Angus Beef Flavor 3.5oz (UPC: 84024312051), BLUE Divine Delights Pate Roasted Turkey Flavor 3.5oz (UPC: 84024312053), BLUE Divine Delights Pate with Bacon, Egg, and Cheese 3.5oz (UPC: 84024312057), BLUE Divine Delights Pate Sausage, Egg and Cheese Flavor 3.5oz (UPC: 84024312059), BLUE Divine Delights Pate Steak and Egg Flavor 3.5oz (UPC: 84024312061), BLUE Wilderness Trail Trays Duck Grill 3.5oz (UPC: 84024312071), BLUE Wilderness Trail Trays Beef Grill 3.5oz (UPC: 84024312073), BLUE Wilderness Trail Trays Chicken Grill 3.5oz (UPC: 84024312075), BLUE Wilderness Trail Trays Turkey Grill 3.5oz (UPC: 84024312077).
  • Reason for Recall: Quality issue with foil seal. [14]
  • Date: March 17, 2017
  • Product(s) Affected: BLUE Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Red Meat Dinner Wet Dog Food 12.5oz (UPC: 840243101153, Best Used By: June 7, 2019).
  • Reason for Recall: Excessive levels of beef thyroid hormone. [15]

You can also try our list of pet food recalls or check a complete list of all pet food recalls from the FDA. [16]

DCM and Blue Buffalo

Dog Food Brands Linked To DCM

In June 2019, the FDA named Blue Buffalo along with 16 other pet food brands to be possibly linked to an increased risk of DCM (Dilated Cardiomyopathy). [17]

During an investigation, the FDA found a possible link between some grain-free diets and DCM in dogs and cats. The organization named 16 brands frequently fed to pets who later developed severe heart disease between 2014 and 2019. 

Blue Buffalo was the sixth pet food brand on the list, linked with 31 heart disease reports in the five-year period.

But remember, the FDA’s investigation remains inconclusive, and this was not a recall. There are still further studies being done at present.

FAQ

Is Blue Buffalo food good for cats?

Many Blue Buffalo formulas contain an exclusive blend of vitamins and antioxidants called Life Source Bits that can be nutritionally beneficial for a cat.

They also offer many grain-free diets as well as a BLUE Natural Veterinary Diet product line which provides additional nutritional support for cats suffering from a variety of health conditions.

But unfortunately, Blue Buffalo was also named as one of the 16 pet food brands linked with DCM (Dilated Cardiomyopathy).

What is Blue Buffalo’s Life Source Bits?

It is a unique blend of vitamins and antioxidants that are cold pressed.

Cold pressing ensures that the ingredients and the nutrients in them aren’t compromised during the kibble pelleting process. As a result, your cat get’s a nutritional boost that helps them keep healthy.

Life Source bits are usually a blend of Vitamins E, C, and A, and ingredients such as Alfalfa, Blueberries, Cranberries, Barley Grass, Flaxseed, and Kelp.

Is Blue Buffalo recommended by vet?

Yes and no. As with all of us, each vet has their own opinion as to whether Blue Buffalo is healthy for your cat.

However, Blue Buffalo does have its own BLUE Natural Veterinary Diet product line which is formulated with animal nutritionists, researchers, and veterinarians.

Is Blue Buffalo a good cat food brand?

Many cat owners will say yes.

But before they were purchased by General Mills Inc., Blue Buffalo has had a lengthy history of pet food recalls as well as controversial issues around false advertising.

Final Verdict

Having been a pet owner for most of my life, I have seen numerous pet food brands feeding into pet owner’s fears about what they are giving their dogs and exacerbating the problem further. 

Blue Buffalo is one of the brands guilty of this.

Since the emergence of the FDA’s findings, Blue Buffalo has strived to improve the diets in their formulas and has taken the situation extremely seriously. Blue Buffalo has been actively working and cooperating with the FDA and other pet food institutions. 

Blue Buffalo, at present, is now adding additional taurine content to their diets to combat the risks of DCM. But, I would advise caution on feeding this brand to your cat, as it was mentioned in 6% of all associated cases in the FDA’s findings. [18]

It is also worth noting that since the acquisition of the brand by General Mills Inc., there have been no further recalls of their product lines. 

The added veterinary diets further substantiate the company’s commitment to research and develop its quality standards.

Many cat owners love this brand; however, I would urge caution on choosing cat food from Blue Buffalo. While there have been improvements in recent years, there’s still a long way to regain the pet community’s trust.

James Fuller

James Fuller

Founder of Honest Whiskers

Hey! I’ve owned a pet pretty much all my life, in fact, I currently have both a cat and a dog! My mission is to deliver a reliable, trusted website that only uses evidence-based information

Dogs and Cat
Looking for pet food?

Save 30% on your next order

We have partnered with Chewy.com to give you the best deals on top brands of pet food for our readers. Simply click the button below and we’ll take you to their exclusive discount page!

Looking for pet food?

Save 30% on your next order

We have partnered with Chewy.com to give you the best deals on top brands of pet food for our readers. Simply click the button below and we’ll take you to their exclusive discount page!