Philadelphia dog owner and creator of ponzmo, Damian Zaccaria, was bored. After working in the corporate world for 10+ years, Damian needed a change. Inspiration came from an unlikely source – his pets. After earning his MBA from Villanova University last year, he immediately put his skills to something other than finance: Pet food. Not the first time a dog has inspired a person to change career paths. Damian’s pups, Ponzu (4 1/2 yrs old) and Queso (8mo old) (pictured below). And, let’s not forget the cat, Massimo.
How ponzmo began…
Like many dogs, Ponzu would often go on hunger strikes. Despite trying different foods, nothing really got her excited about eating. Since Damian has always loved animals, he began learning how to make food for Ponzu. The more he learned about the dog food industry, the more he obsessed over the quality of the ingredients. His passion for animals, wanting Ponzu to be as healthy as possible, and the potential opportunity for a new business inspired him. His nights and weekends became consumed with dog food and launching the company.
The Philadelphia dog community
Damian didn’t waste any time. Using the dog community right in his own back yard, he delved in and began researching what local dog owners were looking for. After securing a group to participate in trials, Damian was able to get tons of feedback from the humans and dogs. Even the local businesses – like On Point Bistro in Point Breeze – helped get the word out by hosting a Dining with Your Dog event. In addition to the local businesses and residents of Graduate Hospital and Point Breeze, the Philly Start Up community has provided lots of great advice.
ponzmo – #FarmToDogBowl Cuisine
In addition to supporting a local business (all ingredients, cooking, and packaging are sourced locally), ponzmo offers a sense of security you may not get from a mass-produced can. The recipes are crafted by an ACV nutritionist, so you can be assured that your dog’s nutritional needs are being met. In addition to being free of preservatives, ponzmo contains organic veggies, antibiotic free and humanely raised chicken and beef.
What sets ponzmo apart from the rest?
With so many dog food options on the market, I pressed Damian to explain why dog owners should consider ponzmo. Having explored other home-cooked food options for Dash, I was skeptical at the prospect of another subscription based dog food delivery service. For example, I never had enough room in the refrigerator or freezer to store the large quantity required at purchase. In addition, much of the food was wasted because Dash couldn’t eat all of it before it expired. Moreover, I’ve done my fair share of dog food reviews. At this point, I’m hard to impress.
Yet, I am impressed. Every single detail – from procurement to testing to packaging – has been considered. Not one aspect has been overlooked. For example, all proteins are sourced from the same farms each time and are lab tested and guaranteed analysis. This ensures the consistency of nutritional profile of the proteins. ponzmo is made in a human grade kitchen and is slow cooked to keep nutrients in.
I also really enjoyed the user experience on ponzmo.com. By selecting different options (size of dog, activity level, whether spayed/neutered), I was able to tailor my order. For example, I selected a dog older than 6 months, weighing between 5-10 pounds, low activity level, fixed and was recommended the following subscription options:
If I select the half portion at $48.25 and have it delivered every 2 weeks, that breaks down to about $1.72 per meal.
So, why switch your current dog’s food to ponzmo? Besides the obvious health benefits and high quality, the convenience sets ponzmo apart from the rest. The ponzmo subscription plan is either bi-weekly or monthly. Therefore, you’re only buying what you need and don’t have to worry about having enough freezer space. You can even order the portions on your dog’s specific caloric needs. Since the recipes are based on a scientific algorithm, you can rest assured that your dog will get the number of calories needed for his/her size, age, and activity level.
While I haven’t yet purchased ponzmo for my own dogs, I’m looking forward to giving it a go. Stay tuned!
Updated January 4, 2018
Imogene taste tested the ponzmo chicken and beef recipes. The food was conviently packaged into separate meals, which I really liked. Imogene inhaled the food. After licking the bowl clean, she flipped her bowl over and looked for more. I’d say she enjoyed it.