Ollie vs Spot and Tango: Which Fresh Dog Food is Better? (2021)


If you look at the pet food aisle, you’ll find a dizzying array of choices, from dry food to canned to pouches to frozen meals. We understand why it can be so confusing to find the best one for your canine best friend. That’s why we did the legwork for you to compare two of the most popular dog food delivery companies, Ollie and Spot & Tango.

The segue from people food to pets seems inevitable considering the pandemic. This service is relatively new on the scene with both companies for just a few years. Yet, the experts expect the natural pet food market to reach nearly $9 billion by 2024. This dog food niche fits the industry. It plays to our desire to take our pets’ nutrition seriously and provide them with the best diet that we can.

You’re probably wondering how Ollie and Spot & Tango stack up and whether they meet this goal. One thing is for sure. You won’t think about dog food the same way after reading our side-by-side comparison.

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A Sneak Peek at the Winner: Ollie

If there were a horse race between pet food delivery services, this matchup would fit right in well. While Ollie edges out Spot & Tango, it misses the mark on a few things that keep the latter in the running.

About Ollie

Ollie is a private company based in New York, New York. It was the brainchild of Randy Jimenez, Gabby Slome, and Alex Douzet. It has a few years on Spot & Tango, with its start in 2015. Investors backed the service, including $29.3 million in equity funding in March 2020. Media coverage from sites such as the Business Insider also helped propel the business’s popularity.

Protein Options

Ollie offers four protein choices: beef, lamb, turkey, and chicken. Organ meats and other ingredients, such as spinach, blueberries, and potatoes round out the nutritional profiles and boost their health value. The recipes and nutritional profiles vary by protein. All are grain-free, which raised some concerns. Otherwise, they are gently cooked to retain the vitamins and minerals they contain.

Both companies boost of human-grade ingredients. However, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) doesn’t define this standard, so the language is more market-speak than anything else. Ollie sources its meats from the United States and Australia for lamb. A short quiz will give you suggestions for a meal plan based on your pet’s needs. You can also get four different kinds of treats to complement your dog’s diet.

Nutritional Value

The use of organ meats ups the nutritional value of Ollie’s meals. Unfortunately, some people have a negative association with them despite how much more they bring to the table—or food bowl! The company goes the extra mile to ensure the nutritional value of its products is top-notch. Including lamb in their lineup is an excellent way to attract pet owners with dogs with food allergies or sensitivities.

While the recipes don’t contain grains, they have other high-protein sources, such as chia seeds, whole dried eggs, and cod liver oil to pick up the slack. The only red flag we saw was the lentils in the turkey recipe and its possible link to dilated cardiomyopathy.

Packaging and Shipping

ollie multi-recipe-packs

Ollie brings flexibility to the mix with scheduling options to fit your needs. You can get a couple of weeks or several meals if that’s more convenient. The food ships flat, making storage easier. Dry ice will ensure it stays cold during its transit to your home. The company also includes free shipping. You pay for just the food with no nasty hidden fees. You can adjust your pup’s portion sizes by contacting support.

Customer Service

Ollie has an excellent FAQ section that tries to anticipate any concerns you may have. You can also contact the company with a support request, email, or phone call. They are available to answer your questions 9 a.m.–7 p.m. ET, seven days a week. They are also active on social media, including Pinterest. However, there is no chat service if that’s how you prefer to contact a business.

Cost

Meal plans start at $4 per day if you feed a smaller pup Ollie’s meals exclusively, based on two daily meals. We liked that they offer partial meal plans if you want to use the service as a supplement to your pet’s diet. It’ll also trim some cash off the subscription price. You can skip orders as needed or cancel whenever you want.

Pros

  • Four protein options
  • Organ meets for higher nutritional value
  • More affordable

Cons

  • Only grain-free offerings
  • Non-recyclable serving containers

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About Spot & Tango

Spot ang Tango Dog Food
Image Credit: Spot ang Tango

Spot & Tango got its start in 2018, thanks to the backing of investors who supported the company’s vision. That has led to innovations in its food offerings. While it doesn’t have any brick-and-mortar shops, you can buy their products at some retailers in the northeastern United States. That puts it in line with home delivery services for people. It’s an excellent way for them to expand their market reach.

Protein Options

Spot & Tango offers three recipes: Beef & Millet, Turkey & Red Quinoa, and Lamb & Brown Rice. They include other ingredients to round out the meal, with spinach, carrots, blueberries, and egg, among the things you’ll find. Each meal contains 50% USDA meat, 30% nutrient-dense starch, and 20% fresh fruits and vegetables.

Spot & Tango also has its unique UnKibble recipes, which the company bills as “fresh, dry food.” Their lineup includes Chicken & Brown Rice, Beef & Barley, and Duck & Salmon. Other ingredients, as we mentioned above, also factor into each recipe. The company also sells treats and toppers based on the same 12 ingredients. All are sourced locally. We liked that you can adjust the calories to meet your pet’s needs as necessary.

Nutritional Value

Spot & Tango is transparent about the nutritional value of its products. All meet the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutrient profiles for adult pets. However, they do not offer diets specifically formulated for puppies or seniors. Nevertheless, they exceed the AAFCO’s recommendations for various nutrients and should provide an appropriate food for all life stages.

Packaging and Shipping

The company flash freezes its meals in convenient flat packaging with dry ice to ensure they stay cold for up to three days in transit. The shipping containers and plastic packs are recyclable. Spot & Tango earns high marks for its emphasis on sustainability. Delivery is free.

Customer Service

Spot & Tango has an active social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They also have an informative, albeit short, FAQ section. You can contact them during business hours via chat on the company’s website. However, there is no phone support for those who prefer talking to a live person.

Cost

One thing we didn’t like was not being able to see a price upfront. Instead, you must complete their short quiz to determine a customized plan for your pet. According to their Help Center, fresh plans start at $2 per day, with the UnKibble coming in at $1. Snacks start at $12 per bag, depending on the treat. Spot & Tango offers 50% off on your first order with free treats for life. You’ll get 50% off your first order when you subscribe.

Pros

  • Nutritionally complete
  • Customizable meal plans
  • Eco-friendly packaging
  • Money-back guarantee

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3 Most Popular Ollie Dog Food Recipes

1. Beef Recipe

ollie beef recipes

The ingredient list of the beef recipe reads like a hearty stew. It includes yummy ingredients, such as peas, sweet potatoes, and potatoes to up its nutritional value. It has 9% protein, 7% fat, and 70% moisture. We liked that the meal supports growth for even larger breeds at all life stages. It’s also well-blended, so every bite contains the full complement of nutrients.

Pros

  • Excellent ingredient list
  • High moisture content
  • Large dog growth support

2. Chicken Recipe

ollie chicken recipes

The chicken recipe ticks off many of the boxes we like to see in wholesome diets. Chicken livers and whole dried eggs up the protein content to 10%, with 3% fat and 73% moisture. Along with its added nutrients, this one packs a healthy punch of essential vitamins and minerals. The omega-3 fatty acids will support good heart and skin health.

Pros

  • Low fat content
  • Multiple protein sources
  • Omega-3 fatty acids

3. Lamb Recipe

ollie lamb recipes

The lamb recipe is an excellent choice if your pup has an allergy to other animal-based proteins, such as beef.  Butternut squash and rice add some bulk and fiber to help improve digestion. It would also make an excellent choice for older dogs that would benefit from these additions. The only thing we didn’t like was the legume content with the chickpeas.

Pros

  • Ideal for pups with sensitive stomachs
  • Rice and squash for added fiber
  • Decent protein content

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3 Most Popular Spot and Tango Dog Food Recipes

1. Beef & Millet Recipe

Beef and millet recipes

This recipe is grain-free and balances it with a tasty blend of spinach, carrots, and eggs. The mix works well, providing 11.85% protein, 5.85% fat, and 69.84% moisture. It includes a healthy blend of vitamins and minerals that offer excellent nutritional support. The meal is gluten-free with the addition of millet, which is a seed and not a grain. Scientists aren’t sure whether grain-free diets cause dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).

Pros

  • High moisture content
  • Multiple protein sources
  • Excellent nutrition

2. Turkey & Red Quinoa Recipe

Turkey and Red Quinoa recipe

Turkey provides a low-fat protein source that tops other fresh recipes that Spot & Tango offers. The addition of quinoa brings bulk and fiber to the mix. The meal has 13.69% protein, 5.86% fat, and 68.5% moisture. However, like the previous recipe, this one is grain-free, which raises concerns until researchers and the FDA can debunk any link of the disease with these formulations.

Pros

  • High protein content
  • Fiber-rich
  • Highly palatable

3. UnKibble Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

unkibble chicken and brown rice

One thing we liked about the recipes is that the ingredients fit the protein option as if we were preparing something for ourselves. This one includes sweet potatoes, carrots, and apples after the meat and starch. It has 26.58% protein, 16.43% fat, and 3,921 kCal per kg. The percentages are appropriate for all life stages.

Pros

  • Nutritionally complete
  • Easily digestible
  • Excellent fiber content

Cons

  • Low moisture concentration

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Recall History of Ollie and Spot and Tango

Neither company has had a recall, whether from the FDA, the American Veterinary Medical Association, or a voluntary one instigated by the service. That says a lot about the best practices that each one follows. Our research turned up no warning letters or complaints from the FDA, either.

The story from the Better Business Bureau of their respective locations is another matter. Neither one is BBB-accredited. While Ollie doesn’t have any reviews, there have been seven complaints in the last three years against them. On the other hand, Spot & Tango hasn’t any, but it has only dismal reviews on the New York City BBB site.

Remember that people don’t go to BBB.org to praise a company necessarily. The issues that many individuals raised seemed typical of the growing pains of a new company trying to set the best course for their fledgling market.

Ollie vs. Spot and Tango Comparison

Protein Options:

  • Winner: Ollie
    Ollie made it to the head of the class with its protein options. The inclusion of lamb and organ meats is brilliant and opens its market to more pet owners.

Nutritional Value:

  • Winner: Tie
    Nutritional value is a dead heat between the two companies. Both employ veterinary nutritionists to formulate their recipes. They all fall in line with the AAFCO guidelines.

Shipping & Packaging:

  • Winner: Spot & Tangle
    Packaging and shipping are handled well by both companies. They offer the same special for new subscribers. They also ensure that the food is packaged well to stay safe through its travels. However, the scale tips to Spot & Tangle with its better sustainability.

Customer Service:

  • Winner: Ollie
    Call us old-fashioned, but we liked being able to reach customer service by phone if there’s a problem. We liked that Ollie makes reps available seven days a week, too.

Cost:

  • Winner: Ollie
    Ollie is the clear winner when it comes to cost. Their plans are more affordable and pack a better nutritional punch with organs meats and lamb protein sources.

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Conclusion

Ollie and Spot & Tango are pretty well matched. They both offer an excellent lineup of foods to meet any pet’s needs. Ollie has the edge because of its more affordable price and lamb offering. We liked that dog owners have a viable option. However, if you have a Golden Retriever or other breed at risk for dilated cardiomyopathy, Spot & Tango gets the nod with its grain-inclusive meal choices.


Featured Image Credit: Dog vector created by pch.vector – www.freepik.com

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