A Q&A with Made by Nacho's Director of Product Strategy
It takes a village to bring our recipes from our kitchens to your cat’s food bowl. Although Nacho and Bobby are involved every step of the way (with loads of time for taste-testing), they can’t go it alone. So they assembled a crack team of experts to help them along the way.
We sat down with Sarah Fair, Made by Nacho’s Director of Product Strategy, Development & Sourcing, to find out how our cat food recipes are made.
Made by Nacho: Hi Sarah, what does a Director of Product Strategy do?
Sarah Fair: I help bring ideas to life! A big part of my role is ensuring the recipes Nacho and Bobby create can be made consistently with the right ingredients every single time. That way, when a cat loves what we’ve made, we can make sure it will be a staple in their diet for years to come.
Another part of my job is to hold each of our ingredients to the exacting standards set by Nacho and Bobby and to make sure there are no compromises along the way.
MBN: Tell us a little bit about your experience in product development.
SF: I started young, working the breakfast grill at McDonald’s (I still love a good egg McMuffin), then spent over ten years in food education and manufacturing, producing a wide range of products including pretzels, canned soups, snack foods, waffles, canned and frozen vegetables, frozen meals, prepared meals, and even broths! From there, I spent seven years helping grocers build their private label products, from ideas through artwork, for great products at a palatable price point.
I made the leap from human food to pet food in 2021. Those broths I used to make for humans? They’re even better when we make them for cats.
MBN: What made you move from human food to cat food?
SF: I’m passionate about nutrition and getting high-quality products into people’s hands. Our furry family members can’t tell us what they like and need, so they need us to advocate for them. Food has an enormous impact on the quality of life, whether we’re talking about humans or pets. Making delicious, nutritious food is one big way we can enrich the lives of our pets, who enrich our lives every day.
MBN: How is developing products for pets different from people? How is it similar?
SF: The big difference is in the recipe! Because of their physiology, cats need different nutrients than people do. So we make sure our recipes have all the things cats need: high-quality animal proteins, taurine for vision and heart health, extra hydration—to help them live their best lives.
That said, there are a lot of similarities in how we make products for pets and people. First and foremost, the products must be safe: A rigorous testing schedule and cleanliness and handling protocols to ensure the food is cooked correctly. That starts way before we ever begin mixing—with ingredient standards and great supplier-partners.
MBN: Where do you get inspiration for our recipes?
SF: Our founder has the best dad (and co-founder) who’s well known for his culinary expertise. For example, Nacho’s favorite protein is chicken, so we knew we had to create a recipe featuring chicken, but give it some extra excitement with duck, quail, and freeze-dried chicken livers. We always lead with a lot of meat that cats need and add in a minimal amount of grains, fruits, and vegetables— like pomegranates! — for essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and flavor.
MBN: What is Nacho’s involvement? Stella?
SF: Nacho and Stella are the ultimate decision-makers. When we all feel great about what we’ve cooked up, Nacho and Stella give the final paws up or paws down.
MBN: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
SF: Improving the lives of cats with the food they LOVE that is good for them. We’ve heard from quite a few cats that they try to tear open the bags to get after our freeze-dried chicken livers! The proof is in the scratch marks.
Ed. note: While Sarah doesn’t have a cat herself, her dogs Hammer and Char love to sneak bites of Made by Nacho recipes when she isn’t looking. Their favorite? Salmon, Whitefish & Pumpkin kibble.