Nutrition Category IconNutrition

Taste of the Wild vs. Orijen: Which Brand is Better?

Emma Braby

Last Updated: September 18, 2020 | 8 min read

Taste of the Wild vs. Orijen

Trying to decide between Taste of the Wild vs. Orijen as the right dog food for your pup? Our fur babies are our world and their health is of the utmost importance, and a happy pup means a happy life. We would never want them to suffer as a result of our actions or neglect, yet almost 90% of dog owners don’t fully understand what their pups need from their nutrition.

The crux of this problem comes down to just one simple choice, which dog food do we choose and what exactly do they need? Finding the right kibble can be a complex task when we look at all the available options in the market. But if you get it right it can make a world of difference to Fido, as food is a massive part of their daily life and as such it can keep them fit and healthy.

The importance of nutritional balance in your chosen dog food cannot be underestimated, and so in this series of food comparison articles we have pitted many brands against one another, to show in clear and simple terms, what their food offers and why they are worth paying for, or not, as the case may be. By exploring which brand is more nutritionally beneficial, which products offer the best value for money, and ‘which food is the healthiest choice for my pooch, we aim to help you in making better choices for both your pup and your purse strings.

Foods Comparison at a Glance: Taste of the Wild vs. Orijen

Taste of the Wild Puppy: Pacific Stream Puppy Recipe
Orijen Puppy: Orijen Puppy Formula
Taste of the Wild Adult: Pacific Stream Canine
Orijen Adult: Original Recipe

Note: Clicking the above links will take you to Amazon.com, where you can get additional product information and customer reviews. If you make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Comparing Brand Histories

Orijen vs. Taste of the Wild Brand Histories
Taste of the Wild and Orijen are both high-quality food brands.

In order to properly figure out which brand is the right dog food for your pup, it’s important to understand the history of each manufacturer.  Both Orijen and Taste of the Wild are known for making high-quality foods, and that’s evidenced by their manufacturing process all the way down to their packaging.

Orijen is one of our top picks for multiple breeds, including being one of our favorite foods for Rottweilers, and a top choice for the Great Pyrenees.  Taste of the Wild is one of our favorite foods for Labrador Retrievers, as well as a top choice for Pitbull Terriers.

Taste of the Wild

Taste of the Wild is a brand owned and manufactured by Diamond pet foods, which was founded in 1970 by brothers-in-law Richard Kampeter and Gary Schell. Through their corporation, Schell & Kampeter, they decided to fulfil a vision that premium pet food should be affordable so that owners can give their pets what they need not just what they can afford.

Diamond as a company had, through the decades, suffered from numerous recalls as a result the ongoing challenge of producing premium food for less. But in 2007, they debuted Taste of the Wild as a new era in premium pet food, that used better quality ingredients that would relaunch the ethos of affordable premium food.

They have 5 plants across the USA, and they use local and internationally sourced ingredients to produce high-quality foods. Their website states they form close relationships with all their suppliers after they have passed their stringent vetting process, to ensure the ingredients are of the best quality.

Orijen

The Orijen brand and products are created by Champion pet foods LP, a company founded by Reinhard Muhlenfeld in 1985. They set out to produce a range of pet foods that were ‘biologically appropriate’, which means they are made up of the ingredients that canines would eat naturally if living wild, such as meat, bones, blood and organs. Orijen is one of our favorite foods for Border Collies.

Founded in 2005, the Orijen brand is pronounced the same way as the Latin word origin. Their headquarters are in Canada with a second in Kentucky, and between them they have three recipe kitchens that produce, package and export their foods to over 80 countries.

The recipes available are praised by many food experts and Vets for the high percentage of real-meat protein sources. They have a twofold approach to delivering this high standard, firstly they only use local sourced ingredients from carefully vetted farmers, fisherman and ranchers all over Canada. Secondly, they charge a premium for the premium ingredients, that way they don’t have to try and reproduce a quality recipe with sub-standard ingredients.

Nutritional Value Comparison

Food is essentially the fuel for every living thing. It provides sustenance for our core bodily functions, and without it, us humans become tired, unhappy and ill, and it is the same for our pooches. Not only is it necessary, but it needs to be of high-quality and provide the right vitamins and minerals that his body needs to repair itself and maintain a healthy mind. In order for us to make sure it does exactly that, we need to know what is in the food and whether it is of any nutritional value.

The table below compares the nutritional components of each brand for both the puppy and adult kibbles. The three biggest components are protein, fat and fiber, and we will recap why they are important and which brand gets the balance right.

It is important to note here, that we would normally compare each lifestage, but Taste of the Wild do not offer a senior life-stage kibble. Orijen, on the other hand, does offer a senior kibble, so this is an advantage that Orijen has over Taste of the Wild.

 
Taste of the Wild Puppy
Orijen Puppy
Taste of the Wild Adult
Orijen Original Adult
Protein
27%
38%
25%
38%
Fats
15%
20%
15%
18%
Fiber
5%
6%
3%
4%
Kcal/Cup
360
391
360
356

Protein Content

Protein should be the main source of energy for our pups regardless of age, size or health requirement. It is the cleanest form of energy because the body uses every part of it efficiently to fuel the core functions. The main roles of protein are cellular regeneration, muscle production and repair, as well as healthy hair, skin, and ligaments. Dogs, like humans, do not create enough amino acids naturally, so their dietary intake of protein supplies their additional needs.

In this category we can see a clear winner. Orijen has at least 10% more protein in their recipes than Taste of the Wild. The recipe is also of such good quality that the first 15 ingredients are meat and animal proteins. 

Fat Content

Fat has roughly 2 to 2 ½ times the energy content of a gram of protein, so it is important that the balance of fat to protein is right. Otherwise your pooch’s metabolism will take the nutrients and energy it needs from the fat first simply because it is easier, meaning his body will store the extra energy from protein as fat, which will likely lead to becoming overweight. The correct ratio should be somewhere close to twice as much protein in food than there is fat.

It is also an essential component of your pooch’s diet because it gives flavor to the food, increases energy, as well as delivering other health benefits such as delivering fat-soluble vitamins and keeping his coat and skin in tip-top condition.

Both brands are in the ballpark of the golden 2:1 protein to fats ratio, so they are well balanced and contain enough fat for it to do the job without the risk of causing obesity, providing that is, you measure and serve up the correct amount daily.

Fiber Content

Fiber must make up a portion of our pup’s diet as it is an essential aid to digestion. It also acts as a filler to foods to bulk them out so that it satiates your pooch’s hunger, and it promotes good intestinal health. The fiber also absorbs liquid from the gut and bowel to keep stools firm and healthy.

Like human’s, minimal fiber in your pup’s diet can lead to constipation and lack of vitamin absorption. So, it is important that you make sure the food you choose has a good percentage of fiber within it, and somewhere between 4% and 6% is a good guideline amount.

Orijen aim for the 5% mark across their products which is a good benchmark. Taste of the Wild hits this mark with the puppy food but their adult recipe is slightly lower on the fiber front. This could lead to the food being less satisfying than a brand with more, like Orijen.

Flavors

Do you have a favorite food that you love to eat? Would it still be your favorite if you ate it two or three times a day for the next 12 months? Or maybe you hated a particular food when you were younger but your mom made it most nights? Whilst most dogs love to eat what is put in front of them, some are fussy, some like a change, and some simply don’t like certain flavors, so it’s important to have options.

It is becoming increasingly advised to change up your dog’s food every now and then, and this is called rotational feeding. If your pooch has a sensitive stomach, then a great way to do this is pick a different flavor from the same product line. Whilst the ingredients will differ slightly, and you still need to transition them slowly, it is less likely to cause stomach upset with a completely different recipe altogether.

Thankfully, both Orijen and Taste of the Wild offer several flavors across their product range.

Cost

Price looked at correctly is simply a calculation of value for money. Once you understand what makes up a good food offering for Fido you can decide on what’s best for him by setting yourself a budget and buying the best you can get for your money. Good ingredients include whole meats, vegetables and meat meal (concentrated protein) plus added fats, vitamins and minerals, and both Taste of the Wild and Orijen offer quality ingredients.

This table shows you, in simple terms, what Orijen and Taste of the Wild cost per lb. of food and per calorie on the foods listed, and this will help you to make a decision as to what fits into your budget.

 
Taste of the Wild Puppy
Orijen Standard Puppy
Taste of the Wild Adult
Orijen Original Adult
Bag Size (Lbs.)
28 Lb.
25 Lb.
28 Lb.
25 Lb.
Average Cost/Lb.
$1.61
$3.56
$1.75
$3.64
Average Cost/Kcal
.09
.20
.10
.20

As you can see, on both a pound for pound basis and cost per calorie, Orijen are twice the price of Taste of the Wild. This is attributed to their whole food ingredients list, with quality comes cost and Orijen are the market leader in good quality ingredients. So, if Orijen falls within your budget then there is no doubt that their products are of better quality, but at twice the price Taste of the Wild are more affordable and some would say, better value for money.

Pros and Cons

BrandProsCons
Taste of the WildGood vetting qualityLack of whole foods
FDA approved kitchensLack of flavor choices
Source ingredients internationally
OrijenHigh quality ingredientsExpensive by comparison
High quality foodSome flavors can be too rich
Brand Popularity

Frequently Asked Questions

We often field questions here about these two brands as they are commonly compared to each other, so we’ve compiled a list to help you make your pick.  Here are the most common questions asked regarding these brands, and we hope this aids you in your decision making.

Q: Can you mix these brand products to achieve a happy medium?
A: Yes, in short. You should not have any issue mixing the different flavors of food from each brand, just be sure to mix it up in the same quantities each time. Bear in mind that any change of food can cause possible upset tummies in more sensitive dogs, so you should transition the introduction of a new flavor in small amounts according to the package instructions.

Q: How do I know which has better nutritional content for my dog?
A: The protein to fat ratio is a big indicator of quality, and the 2:1 ratio being the balance aimed for. Both hit this mark and have above average ingredient lists. Orijen, however, have arguably the best ingredient list on the market which means they are consistently hailed as the most natural and nutritious dog food available.

Final Thoughts

Both companies are undoubtedly purveyors of high-quality and well-balanced dog food. They share a similar ethos that natural is best, but they differ on ingredient quality, and therefore price. Whilst Taste of the Wild strives for balance on price and quality to make good food available to all, Orijen decided that they would produce the best dry food possible regardless of cost.

So, how do we decide who wins this round?

Well, it is a tale of two halves, if you want the best quality food for your pup and price is not important, Orijen is hands down the winner with its fabulous list of natural ingredients. If, however, you are on a budget, but still want a good quality well-balanced food for your pup, then Taste of the Wild offers above average quality and flavorsome food at incredible value for money.

For this reason, it’s a tie that you can settle by deciding on your own individual price point.

Leave a Comment