Whole Foods for Pets
The latest in natural dog and cat foods satisfy pets’ cravings for
tasty meals and pet owners’ desire for high-quality nutrition.
BY STACY N. HACKETT
The chain of Healthy Spot lo- cations in Southern Califor- nia has a mission: to inspire
healthful pet lifestyles. To that
end, the stores only provide natural food products, said Andrew
Kim, founder and CEO.
“While other retailers may
end at ‘natural’ as the high end of
their food products, we believe
that is the starting point,” Kim
said. “It’s in our name, and we
believe our pets deserve better.”
An increasing number of dog
and cat owners seem to agree
with that sentiment. More and
more, customers come into stores
armed with knowledge about
proper dog and cat nutrition.
They spend time reading labels
and ask pointed questions about
where ingredients were sourced
and how they were processed.
“Consumers are becoming
increasingly aware of the importance of feeding their dogs quality, natural nutrition and how
directly related their pup’s diet
is to their well-being,” said Chris
Meiering, director of innovation
for Zuke’s in Durango, Colo.
Manufacturers and retail-
ers understand the focus on
high-quality nutrition. After all,
as people become more con-
cerned about their own diets,
they start to recognize how bet-
ter food impacts their pets.
“With the worldwide hu-
manization of pets, consumers
are demanding more healthful
products,” said Robert Downey,
president and CEO of Annamaet
Petfoods in Telford, Pa. “They
are looking for products that are
made with meat and fish that
is fit for human consumption,
[and] sustainability is becom-
ing a major concern for people
Shane Somerville, co-own-
er of Paddywack in Mill Creek,
Wash., said that her customers
are savvier to the differences
in pet foods, even among high-
“They are looking for things
that make food exceptional, including higher meat content, no
potatoes and, of course, a good
marriage of price and quality,”
she said. “Also, exotic proteins
NEW IN NATURAL PET FOOD
Manufacturers continue to introduce innovative formulas and new ingredients in the
natural dog and cat food category. The new foods meet pets’ nutritional requirements while providing palatability and the ingredients they crave.
Annamaet Petfoods in Telford, Pa., recently introduced Annamaet Sustain, a
canine formula made with certified sustainable line-caught fish from Alaska, said
Robert Downey, president and CEO.
“This formula also uses turkey and a totally sustainable and stable form of DHA
microalgae,” Downey said. “Annamaet Sustain Feline Formula will follow sometime
in winter 2016.”
Another recent introduction to the natural dog food category is Zuke’s Ascent
Natural Dog Food, offered by Zuke’s of Durango, Colo. The new line includes Grain-
Free Crunchy Blend and Adventure Tender Blend, both made in the USA.
“The lineup combines high-quality meat, fish or poultry with quick-dried vegetables and fruits like blueberries, peas, cranberries or carrots,” said Chris Meiering,
director of innovation. “Each variety is completely free of grains, wheat, corn, soy,
artificial preservatives, colors and flavors.”
Cat and dog owners alike seek natural pet foods with high-quality ingredients.
While many pet owners realize the benefits of feeding high-quality, natural dog
and cat foods, some might need convincing. In such situations, manufacturers and
retailers recommend turning the customer’s attention to the ingredient panel.
“The guaranteed analysis and ingredient panel are always your friend because
they communicate basic concepts about the food’s nutritional value in a way that
is easy for any customer to understand,” said Shane Sommerville, co-owner of
Paddywack in Mill Creek, Wash.
Retailers can compare labels in-store with customers to show the benefits of
natural dog and cat foods.
“Consumers should understand that not all [pet] food is created equal,” said Chris
Meiering, director of innovation for Zuke’s in Durango, Colo. “It’s important to read the
ingredients and nutritional panel and understand the attributes that will provide their
[pets] with safe and quality nutrition.”
At the same time, retailers can educate consumers about the different “grades”
of ingredients that go into pet foods.
“Every ingredient comes in about four different quality levels,” said Robert Downey,
THE LABEL IS YOUR FRIEND
president and CEO of Annamaet Petfoods in Telford, Pa. “For instance, not all chicken is
highlights the need
for retailers to remain
educated about the
brands and foods
they sell and to share
that information with
Whole Foods for Pets,