New tray update + Serving guidelines
Read time: 7 min
(Originally posted on 6 April)
It’s Brett here, one of the KatKin founders.
I’d like to get your feedback on both the new tray packaging and the fresh food in the tray.
We need to hear your thoughts on how the new trays and food currently compare to our old pouches. We’ll use your feedback to make very important decisions for KatKin, you, and most importantly for your cat. I’d really appreciate it if everyone could participate in this quick survey, even if you have already contacted us with feedback.
New tray packaging and cooking
Over the last two weeks, we started sending out our new tray packaging. We developed the new trays over 12 months, based on frequent feedback that the older pouches are messy and not recyclable. Importantly the new trays give us flexibility in the future to make recipe improvements; for example addressing the appearance of fattiness in the red meat recipes.
When we tested the new trays with more than 1,000 customers, many reported they are easier to open and serve, recycle at home, and easier to stack in freezers. We also heard most cats loved the food just as much as before.
In order to use these new trays and have the opportunity to make future recipe improvements, we have updated how we cook. Rather than cooking the food in individual pouches, we now cook in small batches and then fill the trays. In both methods, we are gently cooking to preserve essential nutrients and continue to use exactly the same high quality, human-grade meats - just as we’ve always done.
You might have noticed the texture of the food is finer and compressed in the trays. When you move the food from the tray to their bowl, break it apart to see a much nicer texture than it is in the tray. Some cats might need help and time to get used to the texture, which could be similar to when they first started KatKin and needed a switching period.
We hear you - and we are hard at work already making improvements
Many of you are saying you much prefer the new trays. However, some of you are saying that you’re disappointed with the appearance of the finer food texture, especially when heated up. We’ve also had reports that some trays opened during delivery - we’re strengthening the sealing and this’ll improve going forward.
We’re taking the texture feedback seriously and we’re currently making improvements, for example by testing larger grinding sizes. We’re already making some positive progress to our most popular recipe, Cluck. At the same time, it’s important we hear from everyone to get a fuller picture, which is why we need you to please fill in the survey. We want to use your feedback to make the right decisions for all cat parents and cats.
Why reheating KatKin is a challenge
Cat parents who warm the food before serving, or defrost it with heat, might have noticed some recipes lose their shape. This is natural moisture separating out from the meat. And it's happening because we use natural ingredients and the updated cooking method is giving a finer texture that’s more susceptible than before to this kind of separation when reheating.
As a fresh food, and unlike wet and dry cat food, we don’t use high heat to sterilise the food or have high levels of carbs as fillers, which work as processing aids to bind the moisture in the food but are not appropriate for obligate carnivores. We are working hard right now with cat nutritionists, food scientists and vets to solve this without compromising the nutritional quality of KatKin.
How to serve KatKin from the new trays
In the meantime, these steps will help when feeding KatKin:
Only defrost KatKin in your fridge. Do not add or use hot water or the microwave to defrost KatKin. Keep ~5 trays in your fridge at any one time to defrost before using.
Serve KatKin straight from your fridge. We recommend and most parents are sharing that this works best for their cats. Do not heat up the food, unless you need to for your cat to eat.
If you absolutely need to heat up KatKin for your cat to eat, decant KatKin into a bowl and microwave for a maximum of 5 to 15 seconds (depending on the portion size). Do not add or use hot water - unless your cat likes this, and you don’t mind the saucy appearance. Some recipes currently look better when reheating - Moo and Gobble more so than Cluck.
It’s best not to stand over or watch your cat when feeding the new trays. Some cats need a lot of time on their own to try the food.
If you're doing something else that is already working well for you and your cat, that's great. Keep doing that.
Our hardcore cat parents deserve better
Our goal with this packaging change is to improve the quality and value of KatKin for cats and cat parents. Nothing else. Since Nikki and I started KatKin, we and the team have gone against industry conventions; putting cats’ lives over shelf lives, cats before profits, and using only the best, human-quality meats over cheap alternatives. Our mission remains the same - to make hardcore love the new standard for cat care.
I’m very sorry to those of you who have had a poor experience in recent weeks, either because of the new trays, some deliveries being delayed, or recipes being out of stock. We are devastated that we have let many of you down.
Nikki and I started KatKin in 2020 because we believe cats deserve the best nutrition for their health and happiness. And that hasn’t changed. We're privileged to have such a passionate and loyal following of cat parents who believe in fresh as much as we do.
We’re not taking any of this for granted, we’re listening and we look forward to reading all your feedback in the survey.
Brett + Nikki
P.S. We are working 24/7 to get everything back on track. Many of us will be working through the Easter weekend to reply to all your emails. We want to thank you for your understanding and support during this time. If you have emailed us, please give us and the team up to another 7 days to reply as there are a lot of emails to answer.