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Orijen is manufactured by the Canadian company Champion Petfoods. Founded in 1985, Champion also manufactures ACANA pet foods. Champion manufactures their US food in Auburn, Kentucky, while the Canadian foods are manufactured in Alberta.
Champion Petfoods claims their ingredients are sourced regionally, with homegrown botanicals. Their website also claims their animal proteins are fresh, not frozen – and not dried. Champion Petfoods does not use a co-manufacturer to make their foods, they appear to all be made in their own factories.
The Orijen brand is Champion’s more premium line. While Champion’s ACANA brand contains meals, which are heated and dried animal proteins, Orijen contains less processed meat. It also contains fewer added vitamins and minerals than ACANA. Orijen offers mainly dry foods, but rounds it out with wet and freeze-dried foods. On average, Orijen’s dry foods score higher than most premium foods, thanks to a possibly higher ingredient quality. With that said, there is a fair amount of ingredients that are known to be high in pesticides or genetically modified, which puts a chink in its overall food safety score.
The average score of each Orijen food line is listed below. Click on any line below to view the individual foods and scores.
With an average score of 6.9, Orijen’s dry dog food line is considered moderate risk. On average, the foods average just under 38% protein and 20% carbohydrate, as calculated. Overall, these foods score fairly high for ingredient safety since they are relatively low in carbohydrate and aren’t fortified with excessive vitamins and minerals, which can indicate higher quality raw ingredients. However, the food safety score takes a bit of a dive due to GMO ingredients, high pesticide/herbicide foods and natural flavors. But compared to Champion’s ACANA brand, the high pesticide ingredients don’t appear in the top 5 ingredients, thanks to the lower carbohydrate content. The dry dog food line rounds out its ingredient list with probiotics including Lactobacillus acidophilus, and they do guarantee a minimum amount on the Guaranteed Analysis.
Orijen’s Amazing Grains line is considered a moderate risk food. This line averages about 38% protein and 21% carbohydrate, making it another low carbohydrate kibble.This line uses more added vitamins and minerals than other foods in the Orijen lineup, which reduces its ingredient quality score. The ingredient safety score is also reduced due to the oats, millet, collard greens and apple, which are high pesticide ingredients that make a frequent appearance, albeit not in the top 5 ingredients. Like the dry dog food line, Amazing Grains also contains natural flavor, which is a low quality ingredient with limited safety studies. The Wholesome Grains line also contains added vitamins, which may indicate lower quality ingredients. This food also contains probiotics and does guarantee a minimum amount.
Orijen canned line is considered a low risk food. This food scores higher in food safety than Orijen’s dry foods because there is less processing and heating in canned foods. The canned line is calculated to average about 57% protein and less than 5% carbohydrate on a dry matter basis. The Orijen canned offerings contain a largish number of added vitamins and minerals, which is disappointing to see in a high protein/low carbohydrate food. When it comes to ingredient safety, Orijen’s canned line loses some points for natural flavor but unlike most of Orijen’s dry foods, there are no known high pesticide or GMO foods, mainly because this food is low in starch.
Orijen’s Freeze-Dried line is considered a low risk food. It averages about 37% protein and 10% carbohydrate (as calculated on a dry matter basis). Orijen’s freeze-dried lineup has a perfect ingredient quality score and features a wide variety of proteins with just a smattering of added minerals.The ingredient safety score is high because the food is freeze-dried, which is minimally processed and most of the enzymes, vitamins, amino acids and phytonutrients should be left intact. However, it does lose some ingredient safety points for both known high pesticide and GMO ingredients, although they are not in the top 5 ingredients. And while many Orijen foods contain natural flavor, it’s thankfully missing from the freeze-dried line.
Orijen is manufactured in-house in both Canada and the US. It offers mainly ultra-processed kibble, but also has a freeze-dried and canned line.
The company prides itself on being a premium food and it is certainly better than many. Most notably, the food doesn’t typically contain a vitamin premix and is fortified with fewer minerals than most kibbles. It’s also notable that the carbohydrate content is low and the protein is high for a kibble, which is admirable. Orijen also adds probiotics to their foods and guarantees a minimum amount.
When it comes to both ingredient quality and safety, Orijen scores higher than ACANA, Champion’s other brand. However, natural flavor makes a frequent appearance, as do known high pesticide and GMO ingredients, although they are not found in the top 5 ingredients. Overall, Orijen dry dog foods are considered a moderate risk food, while the canned and freeze-dried lines are considered low risk.
To date, Orijen dog food has not been recalled in Canada or the United States.
It is worth nothing that their parent company, Champion Petfoods had two lawsuits filed against it.
In 2020, Animal Equality questioned Champion’s claim that the trout in the ACANA line was wild caught when it was identified by the AE organization as farmed fish. The suit was resolved with Champion Petfoods changing their marketing claims and promising better transparency in its fish sourcing.
Also in 2020, the Organic Consumers Association sued Champion Petfoods for deceptive marketing under both the ACANA and Orijen brand names. The association alleged that statements such as “free-run” chicken were misleading. This case has also been resolved with Champion Petfoods making changes to their packaging and marketing.