The Brandless Glossary, A-Z
By Brandless

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Brandless has hundreds of products that are not only priced simply and fairly, they’re all better for you in some way. Yes, for every product you pick out, we’ve made sure that it’s only made with “Just What Matters” — but that phrase, and a lot of the other ingredients and words that we use to describe our awesome assortment, might be a little unfamiliar to you. To help you demystify the many terms that might be new to you, we have a helpful glossary below.


Acacia — Due to its fast growing nature compared to other trees, acacia is often regarded as a better choice for hardwood uses, known for its beauty, durability, and strength. Many of Brandless’ kitchen utensils and accessories are made with acacia.

Animal Meal — Animal meal is a byproduct of animal processing. This rendered, finely ground ingredient from animal tissues is cheap and not something we’d choose to eat ourselves, and thus, would not give to our pets. And at Brandless, it’s one of the ingredients we don’t — and will never — include in our treats.

Arabica — Coffee made from arabica coffee beans, which are considered the highest quality, best-tasting coffee. Compared to the other major coffee variety (called robusta), arabica beans have been described as sweeter and more complex.

AshwagandhaAn adaptogenic herb used in Ayurvedic medicine that is purported to have many different benefits, including promoting concentration and managing stress. It is an ingredient in Brandless Calm and Focus Support.


BagasseThe fibrous matter that’s left over after sugarcane has been crushed. This pulp is then turned into other products, like Brandless compostable plates and bowls.

BiobasedBiobased products are derived from plants and other renewable agricultural, marine, and forestry materials and provide an alternative to conventional petroleum derived products. Biobased products include diverse categories such as lubricants, detergents, inks, fertilizers, and bioplastics. Biobased products do not include food, feed, or fuel.

Biodegradable — Material that has the ability to break down by biological means in a safe and relatively fast way and dematerialize into the environment.

Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) The Biodegradable Products Institute is North America’s leading certifier of compostable products and packaging. The certification program ensures that products and packaging displaying the BPI logo have been independently tested and verified according to scientifically based standards.

BPA-Free — BPA stands for bisphenol A, and is an industrial chemical used to make certain plastics and resins. BPA is also on the California Prop 65 warning list that requires companies to warn consumers if present in the product. Brandless dog toys are BPA-free.


Chamomile — Chamomile is an herb derived from a plant, frequently used in teas and herbal infusions. It’s also a key ingredient in our Pet Calming Chew.

Chondroitin — Chondroitin is a substance produced in cartilage of the joints of the body. Appropriately, it’s a key ingredient in our Hip and Joint Supplement for pets.

Clean BeautyAt Brandless, we define clean beauty as beauty products that are made without questionable ingredients and only formulated with the minimum ingredients required for the product to function. That means our beauty products are free from 400+ questionable ingredients and they’re never tested on animals.

Cold MilledCold milling utilizes cooled rollers and unique equipment to cut and mill seeds into a fine powder. Screens are removed and product retention time in the grinder is lowered. Together this protects heat-sensitive nutrients, keeping them intact.

Cold PressedExtracting oil by crushing the seed or nut and forcing out the oil without the use of heat produces higher quality oil through maintaining oil’s flavor and nutritional quality.

Compostable Composting utilizes microorganisms, heat, and humidity to yield carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds, and biomass that is similar in characteristic to the rest of the finished compost product. Brandless compostable products are certified by BPI.

Cruelty free — Cruelty free means products are not tested on animals, and it is verification that neither Brandless nor our ingredient suppliers conduct, commission, or pay for any tests on animals for ingredients, formulations, or finished products anywhere in the world and won’t do so in the future. Brandless beauty products adhere to this standard.


EPA Safer Choice CertifiedThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Safer Choice label, previously known as the Design for the Environment (DfE) label, helps buyers find products that contain safer chemical ingredients. The EPA has rigorous criteria for the chemicals it identifies as having better effects on the environment and on human health than other chemicals, and the products it certifies must also meet high standards for performance. Many of Brandless’s cleaning products meet EPA Safer Choice Certification.


Fair trade — A social movement to help producers in developing countries achieve better trading conditions and to promote sustainable farming. This movement advocates payment of higher prices to exporters, as well as improved social and environmental standards. It is focused in particular on commodities, or products which are typically exported from developing countries to developed countries, but also consumed in domestic markets (e.g. Brazil, India, and Bangladesh) most notably handicrafts, coffee, cocoa, wine, sugar, fresh fruit, chocolate, flowers, and gold.

Feeding AmericaFeeding America is the nation’s largest network of food banks and food pantries. Brandless partners with Feeding America to provide meals with every order that is placed.

Fluoride — A natural mineral that is frequently added to public water systems and oral hygiene products. Brandless toothpaste is fluoride-free.

Freeze-Drying — Freeze drying is a process that removes moisture from frozen ingredients. This process keeps our protein-first treats for pets in a raw-like state, which preserves the food’s flavors, texture, and vital nutrients.

FSC® CertifiedFSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council, an organization that is dedicated to promoting environmentally sound and socially beneficial management of the world’s forests. Much of Brandless’ stationery products are FSC certified.


Global Food Safety (GFSI) — The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) is a facilitated collaboration between food safety experts from retail, manufacturing, and food service companies, as well as international organizations, governments, academia and service providers.  GFSI provides leadership and guidance on food safety management systems for the food supply chain. GFSI is managed by the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), a global, parity-based food industry network.

Glucosamine — Glucosamine is a component of cartilage, the tissue that cushions joints. As an ingredient in supplements, it’s frequently made from shellfish shells, or can be created in a synthetic form in a lab. It is used in our Hip and Joint Supplement for pets.

Gluten Free — Contains less than 20 parts per million (ppm) gluten. Foods may be labeled “gluten-free” if they are inherently gluten free or do not contain an ingredient that is: 1) a gluten-containing grain (e.g., spelt wheat); 2) derived from a gluten-containing grain that has not been processed to remove gluten (e.g., wheat flour); or 3) derived from a gluten-containing grain that has been processed to remove gluten (e.g., wheat starch), if the use of that ingredient results in the presence of 20 ppm or more gluten in the food.

Gluten Free Certification Organization — GFCO combines the process of stringent desk audits of ingredients and suppliers with regular on-site inspections and monitoring of testing results to ensure standards are met when food products are certified as gluten-free.

Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) — cGMP refers to the Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations enforced by the FDA. CGMPs provide for systems that ensure proper design, monitoring, and control of manufacturing processes and facilities. Adherence to the cGMP regulations ensures the identity, strength, quality, and purity of products by requiring that manufacturers adequately control manufacturing operations.

GOTS certified — The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the worldwide leading textile processing standard for organic fibers, including ecological and social criteria, backed up by independent certification of the entire textile supply chain.

Green Seal — Green Seal® is a non-profit that was started in 1989. With the mission “to transform the economy for a healthier, greener world,” Green Seal® looks closely at the full lifecycle of a product and helps companies improve their sustainability standards. In our case, the Green Seal certification has helped guide improved packaging design. Our cleaning concentrates have earned this seal of approval because you only buy the spray bottle once, then simply order refill pods, and add water.


Hyaluronic Acid — Hyaluronic acid is a lubricating molecule naturally produced by skin and involved in tissue repair. It’s an ingredient in our Hip and Joint Supplements for pets.


Just What Matters — The Brandless philosophy of “Just What Matters” means that we look for the gold standards of quality for every category we offer. That means our products match up with what matters to people today.


Keto — Keto is short for ketogenic diet, which combines an increased-fat, adequate protein, and limited-carb discipline to eating. Brandless defines our ketogenic diet products to include food or beverage products which qualify in the following ways: 1) The product is free from the following ingredients: tubers, grains, sweeteners, and fruits, or 2) The product contains up to 5 g total carbohydrates and has no added sugars, or 3) The product contains less than 5% calories from carbohydrates and has no added sugars.

Kosher — Kosher products conform to the regulations of kashrut, or Jewish dietary law. To be labeled kosher, a product and its ingredients and processing method must be certified by a kosher certification agency under supervision by a rabbi.


L-Theanine — L-Theanine is an amino acid sourced from tea leaves and certain types of mushroom. It’s an ingredient in our Calming Supplement for pets.


Maca — Maca is derived from a root vegetable, and has been linked with enhancing energy and memory. The maca plant has been used for centuries as a food supplement in the Peruvian Andes.

Matcha — Matcha is made from finely ground green tea leaves that are shade-grown and specially processed. Because the whole leaf is used, there is a higher concentration of antioxidants than in green tea that is brewed. Matcha is a caffeinated, yet soothing tea, and has been a central part of Japanese tea culture for thousands of years.

Moringa — A high-powered superfood and ground leaf. The moringa tree is unique in that every part of it can be used either as a food supplement or for other uses. Not only does it contain antioxidants, but because it is so dense in nutrients, it can support a variety health aspects.

The Mother — Vinegar with “the mother” contains the culture of beneficial bacteria that turns regular apple cider into vinegar. It is filled with living nutrients and bacteria, which are responsible for many of the health benefits associated with vinegar.

MSC Certified MSC stands for the Marine Stewardship Council, a nonprofit organization that works to address unsustainable fishing by working with partners to promote sustainable fishing. This certification guarantees that we are all working harder together for the sake of our oceans. Our albacore tuna is MSC certified.


National Organic Program (NOP) — The National Organic Program (NOP) is a regulatory program housed within the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. They are responsible for developing national standards for organically-produced agricultural products. These standards assure consumers that products with the USDA organic seal meet consistent, uniform standards. These regulations do not address food safety or nutrition.

No Added Sugar — No added sugar” means a few specific things, according to the FDA. First of all, the product doesn’t have any sugar added to it. Second, it also doesn’t have anything added that can substitute for sugar, like jam or fruit juice. And third, nothing was done to the product that would substantially increase the sugar content in the ingredients, like using enzymes.

Non-GMO — Non-GMO means non-genetically modified organisms. GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are novel organisms created in a laboratory using genetic modification/engineering techniques. All Brandless food products are non-GMO.

Non-Nano Zinc OxideNano zinc oxide is a ingredient commonly used in conventional care products. It is composed of particles that are small enough to penetrate the bloodstream. Brandless diaper rash cream is composed of NON-nano zinc oxide; its larger particles help reduce absorption by the skin.

Non-toxic Cleaner — Non-toxic products mean that every ingredient must meet strict safety criteria for both human health and the environment, including carcinogenicity, reproductive/developmental toxicity, toxicity to aquatic life, and persistence in the environment. Brandless cleaning products are all non-toxic.


Omega 3 Fatty Acids — Omega 3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats found in fish and plants, containing EPA (eicosapetaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaeonic acid). They are not produced by the body and therefore must be consumed via food or supplements. It’s an important ingredient in our Omega-3 Fish Oil for people and Omega Supplement for pets.


Omega 9 Fatty Acids — Omega 9 fatty acids are monounsaturated fats and are produced by the body. They are an ingredient in our Omega Supplement for pets.

Organic — Organic agricultural products are produced by methods produced by methods that the USDA says “foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.” No genetic engineering, radiation, or chemicals like pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or dyes are allowed. To be labeled organic, a product must have at least 95 percent of its ingredients certified organic. The remaining 5 percent can be non-organic, but must come from a very small approved list of substances. The USDA certified organic seal means that the supplier was verified and is overseen by a USDA National Organic Program-authorized certifying agent, following all USDA organic regulations.


Paraben Free —  Parabens are preservatives commonly found in cosmetic and personal care products. Brandless products are made without the addition of paraben containing ingredients.

Plant-based — “Plant-based” refers to materials made from plant sources such as softwood, corn, etc. Brandless diapers are made with plant-based resources in the topsheet (inner layer), backsheet (outer layer), and the absorbent core, which contains wood pulp from sustainably managed forests.

Pole & Troll Wild Caught — Pole and troll” wild caught fishing means the practice of catching fish in the ocean using a pole (fishing rod) and bait or with a troll line towed behind the boat. These are two sustainable ways of fishing for tuna.

Phthalate Free — Phthalates are chemical plasticizers added to plastics to soften them; though they are found in a variety of personal-care products, such as lotions, soaps, and shampoos, the safety of phthalates have been questioned. Brandless has banned the use of ingredients containing phthalates in our personal care line, making them phthalate-free.

Protein-first — Protein-first means that protein is listed as the first ingredient in the ingredient list, and each treat is developed with the protein as the most predominant ingredient in the recipe. Brandless pet treats are protein-first.


Septic SafeProduct that breaks up easily and rapidly in water and will not cause a blockage in septic lines. A septic system is a highly efficient, self-contained, underground wastewater treatment system.

SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) — SLS is a chemical commonly used in skin and body care products that has known adverse effect on some skins and on environment. SLS is among the over 400 potentially questionable Brandless has banned from its beauty products.  

Superfood — Superfood is a popular term used to describe foods, many plant-based, that are nutrient dense or contain phytochemicals that can benefit health and wellness. There is not a regulatory definition of a superfood. Including superfoods in your daily routine may be beneficial in combination with a healthy balanced diet.

Supplement — A supplement is any additional food or vitamin that helps support a regular diet, and provide extra nutrients. The FDA defines a supplement as, “dietary ingredients including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs or botanicals, as well as other substances that can be used to supplement the diet.”

Sustainable Any kind of process that doesn’t harm or deplete natural resources for future generations and meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.


TDPATotally Degradable Plastic Additives (TDPA™) are designed to control and manage the lifetime of plastic products. This technology enables plastic products to break down much faster than traditional plastics.

Tree FreeTree free paper products are a more eco-friendly alternative to paper products made from wood pulp. They are made from “rapidly renewable” plants that grow more quickly than trees, such as sugarcane and bamboo.


USDA Certified Organic — USDA certified organic foods are grown and processed according to federal guidelines addressing, among many factors, soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives. As with all organic foods, none of it is grown or handled using genetically modified organisms, which the organic standards expressly prohibit. You can look for the identity of certifier on a packaged product for verification that the organic product meets USDA’s organic standards.


Valerian Root — Valerian root is the herb from the flowering valerian plant native to Asia and Europe. Its extracts are used in supplements like our Calming Supplements for pets.

Vegan — Product produced without animal or animal by-products including flesh, bones, dairy, eggs, honey, fur, leather, wool, down feathers, and cosmetics or chemical products not tested on animals.


Wild Caught — Wild caught refers to how fish are harvested for different sources of food, including Omega-3 fish oil. Wild caught fish are sourced from natural habitats, although there may be regulations in place to support sustainable fishing practices, even in a wild setting.

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