Ken-L Ration is a dog food brand dating back to 1922. However, it didn’t gain great prominence until it was purchased by the Quaker Oats Company in 1942. The name sounded like a kind of ration provided at a kennel.
Later during World War II, the American troops were fed K-Rations. Whether or not they were named after creator, Ancel Keys, the similar name didn’t hurt the marketing of Ken-L Ration.
Practical Choice for the Canine Corps
During World War II, Ken-L Ration was one of the primary sources of food for the United States military’s war dogs. The brand’s canned dog food was easy to transport and had a long shelf life. This made it ideal for use in military operations. Canned dog food was also less vulnerable to damage in transport than dry dog food in a sack. The brand also became popular among civilian dog owners, who were looking for a dog food that was easy to store.
However, in a civilian environment, canned dog food was harder to open and serve. At groceries in the 1950s, Ken-L Ration introduced a new line of dry dog food. It was marketed as a more convenient alternative to canned dog food. The brand also launched a series of television commercials that popularized the brand.
The Ken-L-Ration brand remained with Quaker Oats until the 1990s. The brand introduced new varieties of dog food, including semi-moist and soft-moist dog food, and continued to emphasize its high-quality ingredients and nutritional value.
Not So Great Ingredients
However, the ingredients found in the original Ken-L Ration were found by nutritionists to be mediocre at best.
The formula for Ken-L Ration contained meat by-products, animal liver, cornmeal, soybean meal, and other grain products. The specific ingredients and formulations of Ken-L Ration varied over time and between different product lines, but the brand was generally known for using lower-quality ingredients and fillers.
Meat by-products are a common ingredient in many commercial pet foods and can include organs, bones, and other parts of animals that are not used for human consumption. While meat by-products can provide some nutritional value, they are generally considered to be of lower quality than whole meats.
Cornmeal and soybean meal are used as a source of carbohydrates and protein in many commercial pet foods. While these ingredients can provide some nutritional value, they are also considered to be lower-quality ingredients and are often used as fillers to reduce costs.
Decline and Demise
In the 1970s and 1980s, the Ken-L Ration brand faced increasing competition from other dog food brands, and its market share began to decline. They introduced Ken-L Ration Burgers in the 1970s, which met with some success. Competition began to emphasize better ingredients than those of Ken-L Ration. It probably didn’t help that they contained horsemeat. Some of the public recoiled from slaughtering horses as food. They were less concerned about cattle, hogs, or sheep.
In 1995, the brand was sold to the Ralston Purina Company, which merged with Nestle in 2001 to become Nestle Purina PetCare. Today, the Ken-L Ration brand is no longer in production
- Year Started: 1922
- Year Ended: 2001
- Origin Of Name: Descriptive
- Location Sales: Worldwide
- Brand Name Predecessor: N/A
- Brand Name Successor: N/A
- Owner Original: Quaker Oats
- Owner While In Use: several
- Owner Successor: N/A
- Year Resurrected: N/A
- What’s Popular Today: Blue Buffalo
- Naics Code: 311111
- Location Headquarters: Chicago, Illinois USA