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Pet Food or Pâté?

OliverMeet Oliver. Oliver is (now) a seven-month old Border collie mix – and my first dog as an adult. He brings out the type A in me, as I feel tremendous pressure to raise him right. This is really obvious in my diligence in selecting his puppy food. Maybe that’s why this study from the American Association of Wine Economists caught my eye. The working paper, " Can people distinguish pâté from dog food" ponders if this "attractively-priced" sector of food (dog food) could be a viable substitution for pâté or other processed meats, and performed double-blind taste tests to see if people could tell the difference.

To account for the social stigma against eating dog food, the five samples were all processed to a similar mousse-like consistency and served on Carr’s crackers. The samples included: A: Duck liver mousse. B: Spam. C: Dog food. D: Pork liver pâté. E: Liverwurst. "Subjects were asked to rank the "tastiness" of the samples relative to each other. They were instructed to taste all of the spreads, in any order and as many times as necessary, in order to make a sound judgment. After the rankings were recorded on data sheets, subjects guessed which of the five samples they believed the dog food was."

The results? The dog food (sample C) was ranked lowest and the duck liver mousse (sample A) was rated as the best. Subjects significantly disliked the taste of dog food compared to a range of the other meat products with similar ingredients.

Now I love my dog. But do I really want to trust his taste? I mean, to him, if it stinks it must be good, and throwing it up only makes it taste better.

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