Sous-Vide: the latest in food prep for pets

Have you heard of sous-vide? This innovative method cooks food in vacuum-sealed bags submerged in water – and both chefs and dogs love it.

Steaming, searing, sautéing – what’s the difference between all these cooking methods, and does it really matter? The answer is yes. In fact, the method you use to cook your food (or your dog’s food), determines how many nutrients remain intact, and how many are destroyed in the process. While some are obviously better than others – charring certainly doesn’t top the list – the truth is that no cooking method preserves a food’s nutritional integrity. This might explain why raw food is becoming a more popular dietary choice for dogs and cats, but the risk of pathogens remains a concern for many pet parents. So what’s the alternative? Sous-vide is – and it’s making headway in the pet and human food industry.

Traditional cooking methods can destroy 20–40% of an ingredient’s nutrients, whereas sous-vide preserves these nutrients by sealing them in.

“Sous-vide” comes from the French term “under vacuum”. According to Ruth Stedman, owner of the high-quality pet food company Grocery Pup, it involves placing uncooked food into food-grade bags, sealing them, and submerging them into water. “It’s the temperature of the water that cooks the food,” says Ruth. “We set the water to 180 and cook the food nice and slow for over an hour until it reaches 160-165˚ F – just enough to kill pathogens but no more.” This process eliminates the chance of overcooking the food, and delivers consistent results every time.

Sous-vide cooker
Sous-vide cookers heat food slowly over a long period of time. This enhances the food’s natural flavors, reducing the need to add butter, salt or other potentially unhealthy flavor enhancers.

Chefs have used and loved sous-vide for years. But now, thanks to the availability of sous-vide cookers on the consumer market, anyone can use this method in the comfort of their own home! “Sous-vide cookers have gotten much more affordable for the at-home cook, says Ruth. “They’re about as expensive as a blender or a slow cooker. Instant Pot even makes one for less than $100.” This is good news for pet parents, because it offers a healthy way to prepare a dog or cat’s food. On top of being the most nutrient-rich way to cook meat and vegetables, it also retains the moisture of the ingredients and enhances flavors, resulting in a meal that’s hydrating and palatable.

Not into cooking? We’ve got more good news! Grocery Pup delivers to locations across the United States so your furry friend can reap the benefits of the sous-vide method — and you don’t have to lift a finger. “Right now, we’re the only sous-vide dog food sold in retail to my knowledge,” says Ruth. “We chose the sous-vide method because it truly is the highest quality way to create a homemade equivalent food.” As for your two-legged family members? Grocery Pup is human-grade… but you’d probably be better off finding a local chef who uses the method instead. Trust us – your dog won’t want to share.