Nothing But Natural
The pace of the chew category continues to project upward,
BY LINDSEY GETZ
with consumer interest focused on natural products.
Long-lasting chews have long been a trend. Pet owners like the idea of a treat that will
occupy their dog rather than be
gobbled up in seconds.
“Many pet parents want
something to safely keep bore-
dom at bay,” said Laura Clark,
co-owner of Wylie Wagg, which
has locations in Virginia and
Washington, D.C. “Chews pro-
vide a different function than
quick rewards or handy snacks,
but one that is increasingly im-
portant to parents. Essentially,
they want to keep pets happy
and occupied when people need
to focus attention elsewhere.”
As with food and treats in gen-
eral, the trend for chews is moving
toward more natural products. Pet
owners want simple ingredients
without any additives.
“As food trends for humans
go, so follows the trend for
pets,” said Mike Thomas, vice
president of development for
QT Dog LLC in Dallas. “The
driver for natural pet products
is directly related to the demand
curve that is pushing natural
There’s been an increased de-
mand for products with fewer and
more natural ingredients, said Jill
Tucker, marketing coordinator for
Scott Pet in Rockville, Ind.
Consumers also want to
know where chews come from,
Clark said. The same customers
who are concerned about nat-
ural ingredients are likely to be
concerned about sourcing and
manufacturing. Relatively recent
well-publicized concerns about
jerky not made in the U.S. have
raised red flags and have had
a lasting impact on customers,
Yet U.S.-made chews needn’t
be retailers’ only option, Tucker
“Retailers need to begin focusing on company/manufacturer
performance and history rather
THE BRAMTON CO.
NEW IN NATURAL CHEWS
There frequently are new additions to the natural chew market, as the category continues to be popular. Paragon Pet Products in Veendam, Netherlands, has continued
to expand its range of Whimzees sizes to cater to every size of dog. The company has
expanded its focus on smaller dog breeds and, as a result, is introducing Whimzees
Stix XS at SuperZoo in Las Vegas this month, said Jeff Camosci, vice president of
sales and marketing for the company.
Pet ‘n Shape in North Hollywood, Calif., recently added nine new bones and
1-pound tubs of its popular beef lung Chunx and turkey, duck and chicken feet.
“We are also anticipating adding some more unique chews to our All Natural
Chewz collection later this year,” said Stacy Milchman, operations manager.
In March, Scott Pet of Rockville, Ind., introduced Pork Chomps Crunchy Sticks,
said Jill Tucker, marketing coordinator. They are available in jumbo and 20-inch sizes
and Chicken and Bacon flavors.
“Both are creatively packaged to mimic a convenience store Slim Jim, which is
eye-catching and space effective,” Tucker said.
The Bramton Co. of Irving, Texas, launched Vet’s Best soft chew supplements in
April, said Matt Smith, vice president of marketing. The chews, veterinary formulated
for dogs, come in seven formulas and one-soft-chew-per-day dosage with a full 30
day supply, Smith noted.
“Each individual soft chew features our OptiLife3 ocean kelp ingredient that
provides three key benefits: antioxidants to help reduce the effects of environmental
stress and support a healthy immune system and prebiotics to promote digestive
health,” Smith said.
With so many choices in chews, Caroline Gunther, owner of Wag! A Unique Pet
Boutique in Hendersonville, N.C., said that her customers value her guidance. She is
selective about what products she carries to begin with, and she helps pet owners
narrow down the choice from there.
“In-store education and connectivity with retailer owners and their associates
is so important,” said Jeff Camosci, vice president of sales and marketing for the
Veendam, Netherlands-based company. “These are the individuals that educate and
influence a pet parent’s purchasing process and, ultimately, their decision to buy. With
more brands entering our industry each year, there are more choices than ever for a
pet parent to consider.”
A well-informed, knowledgeable staff and the right product mix will boost natural
chew sales, said Jill Tucker, marketing coordinator for Scott Pet in Rockville, Ind.
“Employing a staff that can engage in conversation with consumers about their
dogs, provide education on relevant topics and answer questions about the available
chews will position the store as the go-to
expert,” Tucker said.
Retailers should understand ingredients
and the nutritional benefits of chews, said Stacy
Milchman, operations manager for Pet ‘n Shape
in North Hollywood, Calif.
“With some of the natural products which
are newer to the market, such as chicken feet,
the consumer may have questions or be hesitant
to try something different from their typical
purchase,” Milchman said. “Retailers should
thoroughly educate their salespeople about their
product selection so that customers don’t hesitate to purchase due to a lack of information.”
Nothing But Natural,