LOS ANGELES — Celebrities and entrepreneurs Chrissy Teigen and John Legend announced their first joint business venture targeting the pet food industry. The couple’s new business, Kismet, aims to serve as a pet lifestyle brand offering premium dog food, merchandise and content to modern pet parents. 

“Dogs have always been a big part of our lives,” Teigen and Legend said. “We were pet parents before welcoming our children into the world, and we know what that special bond with a dog feels like. In a word, it’s Kismet. Dogs are silly, playful and messy — and we wanted a brand that represents all of that. Beyond offering exceptionally high-quality food to nourish your dog, Kismet is here to provide thoughtfully designed lifestyle goods and engaging content for pets and their people.” 

Teigen and Legend tapped Kwane Stewart, DVM, founder of philanthropic animal welfare organization Project Street Vet and 2023 CNN Hero of the Year, as the brand’s chief veterinary officer for his veterinary experience and commitment to pets. 

In 2012, Stewart began providing free veterinary care to pets whose owners were experiencing homelessness throughout San Diego, Los Angeles and Skid Row, Calif., becoming the “Street Vet.” Years later, in 2020, Stewart established Project Street Vet, a nonprofit that provides free veterinary services through its “Street Vet Work” and pet clinics, and also offers financial assistance to those in need throughout Georgia, California and Florida.

Kismet represents Stewart’s first venture into pet food and allows him to further Project Street Vet's efforts to now include nutrition.

“I’ve been doing the work [as the Street Vet] for 13 years now… I started walking the streets and my original mission was simple,” Stewart told Pet Food Processing. “I just packed a bag full medical goods and I would walk impoverished areas of California cities and find anyone who was in house with pets and deliver free medical care… As I transition now after 26 years from normal clinical work to more of the things I believe in, [Project Street Vet] is front and center.

“When John and Chrissy and I started talking about [Kismet], John said they have every intention to support Project Street Vet with financial resources,” he added. “Now, I can actually have a strong path to provide nutrition to these pets.”

Kismet also partnered with board certified veterinary nutritionists to develop its dog food formulas. The formulas aim to fill a gap between the nutritional benefits of fresh formats and kibble formats that are convenient to feed and accessibly priced.

“We want to provide the best nutrition,” Stewart said. “In this sort of new world where fresh has entered the arena, there’s this newfound thought to offer the best nutritious food, but to offer it so that it is more economically priced compared to fresh. And it’s also convenient.”

As the brand began working on its formulas, Stewart highlighted two factors for nutritionists: gut health and the re-examination of grains. In focusing on gut health and pets’ microbiomes, Kismet’s formulas include pre- and probiotics, as well as superfoods. 

“As a general practitioner, we do have some obviously pretty detailed understanding of what some of the important things are [in pet food] and it’s the superfoods, it’s the pre- and probiotics,” he explained. “It’s really on protein as a No. 1 ingredient."

Regarding grains, instead of relying on common sources, like corn and wheat, the brand uses barley and brown rice, which support digestive health.

“Kismet still includes grains because we’ve realized there are healthy grains, but not all grains are created equal when it comes to dog food,” Stewart added.

With this in mind, all of Kismet’s products are free from corn and wheat, as well as artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. 

The brand’s nutrition line includes two dry complete-and-balanced diets that combine dry kibble with freeze-dried pieces. They are formulated with real animal proteins, superfoods, essential vitamins and minerals, and pre- and probiotics to support gut and digestive health among other bodily systems in dogs. The formulas also include freeze-dried pieces of chicken or beef and sweet potato, which the brand calls “nugs,” providing additional nutrients. The complete-and-balanced diets include two recipes: Chicken & Barley Recipe with Nutritious Freeze-Dried Nugs and Salmon & Brown Rice Recipe with Nutritious Freeze-Dried Nugs. 

Kismet also offers two treats: Slow Cooked Beef and Slow Cooked Salmon. Each treat is available in two shapes — sticks and squares — which are slow-cooked and made with limited ingredients.

In addition to supporting pets through its nutrition offerings, Kismet also seeks to support overall animal welfare through its philanthropic arm Kismet Cares. Kismet Cares’ beneficiaries include Project Street Vet and Paws for Life, a non-profit that rescues and rehabilitates dogs from high-kill shelters.

Kismet’s products are currently available direct-to-consumer via KismetPets.com. The complete-and-balanced diets are available in 9- and 19-lb bags, and the treats are available in 14-oz bags. According to Stewart, the brand has plans to expand its retail footprint, making its products more conveniently accessible to all dog parents. 

“It has been a joy to work alongside Chrissy and John to establish Kismet,” said Mathé Young Mosny, chief executive officer of Kismet. “Their passion for dogs and dedication to the quality of our product portfolio is extraordinary. Plus, they’re authentic community builders. As a brand, we want to bring people together with a shared love of dogs who are ready for something fresh in this category. We’re excited for people to join us.”

Read more about new pet food and treat products.