The Simple Omnivore sends natural pet food to the door

The chocolate lab Emma tests dog treat recipes for owner E.J. Tso, founder of The Simple Omnivore. Submitted photo

E.J. Tso earned a spot onstage at The Second City in Chicago after seeing an audition flyer. He traveled the world for corporate sales and marketing jobs. He learned to rebuild a motorcycle by watching YouTube videos. For his next endeavor, you might find him and his nine-month-old son passing out pet food samples at Minnehaha Creek.

“I didn’t want to get to my retirement party and wish I would have started something,” said Tso, who serves as board member at the Animal Humane Society.

The business concept came from his cat, who suddenly stopped eating store-bought kibble after 14 years. Tso took a closer look at 32 ingredients on the food label and was surprised to find so many fillers, preservatives and unpronounceable additives. He later learned that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows animal feed that includes meat from dead or diseased animals.

“It’s the equivalent of taking my son to McDonald’s for every meal,” he said. “…Usually people don’t think about changing a diet until something is wrong.”

Tso’s revamped pet food for dogs and cats is typically eight or fewer ingredients, emphasizing whole meats and fresh veggies and grains.

“I want to feed my pet the same high-quality food that I would eat,” he said.

Complete meals and mix-ins feature ingredients like beef, green beans and rice, prepared fresh at a commercial kitchen and frozen prior to delivery. Subscribers to the “Treat Club” receive deliveries every two weeks of treats like peanut butter and apple bites.

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