At Butternut Box, being open and honest is at the very core of how we behave as a company and as humans. Whether it’s changes to our recipes or changes to how we talk about our recipes, we always try to be the first to let our customers know that these things are happening, and why they are happening.
On this occasion though, we feel a little late to the party to talk about the recent ruling that ASA gave us which says that we can no longer refer to our meals as ‘home-cooked’. We’ve spotted a few conversations online about it already but we wanted to be part of that conversation - *NUDGES WAY IN* - and explain things a bit from our point of view. We hope this helps clear a few things up.
Back in March 2016, when we first started making meals for dogs, we would source the ingredients from our local market, take them home to Dave’s kitchen, roll up our sleeves and get cooking. There was little doubt that they were home-cooked. Fast forward to 2019, and although we are cooking for a lot more dogs, in our minds, very little had changed. We take our ingredients that we source ourselves, we cook them in small batches at the same gentle temperatures and we deliver them to our Butternutters. The main difference of course is that we do all of that in a bigger kitchen - there were only so many dogs we could feed out of Dave’s kitchen and from his four-ring hob.
And so, after three years of using the term ‘home-cooked’, the ASA received a complaint about the use of this term and came to us to help them solve the problem. We worked together with the ASA (who are very nice by the way) to try and put forward our reasons for continuing to use ‘home-cooked’. We even surveyed 500 of our own customers to ask them how they would refer to our food, and 207 of them chose ‘home-cooked’.
Despite our efforts and our 207 stellar supporters of ‘home-cooked’, the ASA said that they would prefer to reserve ‘home-cooked’ for those who cook their products in a residential kitchen. And since we weren’t prepared to go back to Dave’s kitchen and shy away from our vision of leading the way and showing the world how dogs can live better, we’ve decided to try and find a new way to talk about our food for dogs.
We haven’t really figured out what that is just yet, but rest assured our customers will be the first to know. We have a bit of a pickle on our hands because we are pretty unique as a dog food company, we don’t really fit into any other existing category. But we’re used to standing out for the right reasons. We can handle it.
Lastly, to end on a positive and slightly reflective note, this whole ‘home-cooked’ conversation has really made us take a moment to stop and think about how far we have come as a business. We aren’t cooking from Dave’s kitchen anymore. We are no longer feeding just 50 dogs around London. We’ve grown. It’s so exciting. And we only have our customers and their dogs to thank for that.
We know we aren’t the finished article but as we grow as a business, we are going to continue being open to the evolution of Butternut Box and to change.
Bring it on.