BY STACY N. HACKETT
What do bird owners want when it comes to nutri- tion for their pets?
“Consumers want high-quality ingredients in a diet they
can trust, and of course value
for their pet bird food budget,”
said Melanie Allen, avian product specialist for Rolf C. Hagen
(USA) Corp. of Mansfield, Mass.
Manufacturers and retailers
agreed, noting that bird owners
usually know that they should
provide more than seed for their
birds, but they are not always
sure what else to feed.
“Our customers come to us
to learn about options other
than seed,” said Laura Warfield, store associate at Pet Stop
in Murrieta, Calif.
She and other employees
point out the extruded diet options stocked on the shelves and
offer tips on feeding healthful
fruits and vegetables, she said.
As consumers look for op-
The Nitty Gritty
tions that are more healthful for
their pets, they also seek food,
treats and supplements made
with high-quality ingredients.
“Bird owners are accustomed
to premium products they can
select for their dogs and cats,”
said Gail Shepard, director of
marketing for ZuPreem, a brand
of Premium Nutritional Prod-
ucts, in Shawnee, Kan. “These
premium benefits include va-
riety of products, high-quality
ingredients and their ability to
realize the benefits the product
Customers at Magnolia Bird
Farm in Riverside, Calif., typical-
ly understand the importance of
selecting premium products that
offer health benefits but might
not know where to start. That’s
where education about a bird’s
nutritional needs comes into
play, said co-owner Lori Miser.
“One-on-one education with
new bird owners is key to get-
ting them off to the right start,”
she said. “We take them through
the store and show them all the
options. We explain how to feed
a balanced diet and point out
which foods are better as treats.”
Recognizing the impor-
tance of proper education
when it comes to avian nutri-
tion, ZuPreem introduced Feed
Smart, a new feeding and nu-
trition program, at Global Pet
Expo in Orlando, Fla., in March.
The program addresses typical
situations in which a bird owner
feeds their pet each day.
“This program helps pet par-
ents take the guesswork out of
daily feeding and provides an
easy way to ensure each bird
gets balanced nutrition through-
out the week,” Shepard said.
“The intent is to help support
a bird’s good health by limiting
the overconsumption of seed so
that the pet parent can include
the nutrition each bird needs
along with variety, convenience
and special rewards.”
Educating customers about proper avian
nutrition continues to be a top priority in stores.
NEW TO THE BIRD FOOD
To meet the nutritional needs of pet birds and the expectations of their owners,
ZuPreem, a brand of Premium Nutritional Products, launched three new product lines
at Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Fla., in March.
“These products have been developed with extensive input from bird owners
and are designed to meet the nutritional and packaging needs they require,” said Gail
Shepard, director of marketing for the Shawnee, Kan., company.
ZuPreem’s Pure Fun line, available in formulas for small to large birds, combines
nuts, fruits, vegetables and ZuPreem Smart Pellets to “excite and enrich pet birds,”
Shepard said. The new Sensible Seed products, also available for small to large birds,
feature seeds and pellets.
For owners who want to provide occasional treats, ZuPreem also introduced Real
Rewards, which Shepard described as a mix of fruit, vegetables and nuts.
“Real Rewards treats include only four popular ingredients in each treat variety,”
she said, adding that the line includes Orchard Mix, Trail Mix, Tropical Mix and Veggie
Mix in sizes for medium and large birds.
Another new entry in the avian nutrition category is Rolf C. Hagen (USA) Corp.’s
line of Tropimix Enrichment Blends. Available in Large Parrot, Small Parrot and Cockatiel & Lovebird blends, the foods are meant to complement the company’s Tropican
diets, said Melanie Allen, avian product specialist for the Mansfield, Mass., company.
“Our Tropimix Enrichment Blends feature a 100 percent edible fruit and nut blend
fortified with our Tropican,” Allen said. “Tropimix … makes a great enrichment food
for all species of companion parrots.”
Pet Stop in Murrieta, Calif., sells parakeets, canaries and finches—
and feeds these colorful, chirping birds the same ZuPreem premium
daily food that sits on the shelves next to the cages. The store’s
resident bird, an African grey, eats the same food in a formula appropriate for his size and species, said Laura Warfield, store associate.
Manufacturers recommend this activity as a top technique
for marketing avian nutrition products.
“The best way to merchandise any bird food product, whether it’s a daily diet or a treat, is to feed it to in-store birds,” said
Melanie Allen, avian product specialist for Rolf C. Hagen (USA)
Corp. in Mansfield, Mass. “Consumers will look in the dishes, and
they will compare how the bird looks in making decisions for their
own bird’s diet choices.”
The birds on display at Magnolia Bird Farm in Riverside, Calif., eat
a variety of avian nutritional products that are for sale in the store.
“The mixes are geared toward the type of bird, and we include
fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Lori Miser, co-owner. “Basically
we encourage feeding any healthful table food a human would
eat, with the exception of avocado.”
Beyond showing bird food in use in the store, Michael Acerra,
marketing representative for Penn-Plax Inc. in Hauppauge, N. Y., rec-
ommends displaying avian nutrition products in ways that make the
shopping experience as pleasant as possible for customers.
“Make sure your products are easy to find, and make sure
your customers have no problem obtaining the information they
need when they’re looking to buy those products,” he said. “At the
end of the day, your ability to make your customer happy is what
your success as a retailer is going to hinge on.”
“Aspen Pet’s Booda Comfy Perch, Aspen
Pet’s Swing N Perch and Zoo-Max playgyms and swings.”—GLORIAMEDINA,
manager at Omar’s Exotic Birds in Lake
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP
SELLERS IN PERCHES,
SWINGS AND PLAYGYMS?
“Manzanita perches and playgyms, and
Sandy Perch’s Acrylic Arch Swings.”
—MARK MCMASTERS, owner of Parrot
Connection Inc. in Reno, Nev.
“Bottlebrush perches, dragonwood rolling playgyms and swings with toys.”—
KATIE CALCASOLA, manager of Golden
Cockatoo in Deerfield Beach, Fla.