SELLING SUPERPREMIUM DOG FOOD
“Educating our customers about [superpremium] foods is of the utmost importance,” said Andrea Margelis, manager of Pets Natu-
rally in Traverse City, Mich. “Selecting a pet food can be a scary and intimidating process.”
At Pets Naturally, educational seminars presented by a local holistic veterinarian stress the role of food in optimizing the life of a
pet. Further, staff members are trained to assist customers in selecting a food based on individual needs, Margelis said.
“One size does not fit all,” Margelis said.
In the case of a pet with a medical condition, the ability to outline the features and benefits of different products and brands is
critical, said Bette Schubert, co-founder and senior vice president of sales, new product development and education for Manchester,
Conn.-based Bravo Pet Foods.
“It’s important to help consumers understand the links between their pets’ health and the food they serve,” said Lucy Postins,
CEO and founder of The Honest Kitchen in San Diego.
However, determining the meaning of “superpremium” is another key sales component, as the term is not regulated, said Jusak
Yang Bernhard, co-owner of TailsSpin Pet Food & Accessories, which has stores in Georgia.
“The designation should mean that the food is formulated using carefully selected, first-rate ingredients, humanely obtained,
having gone through many layers of studies and tests to ensure high-quality and nutritionally sound results,” Bernhard said.
AdreAnne Tesene, owner of Two Bostons, with locations in Illinois, noted that while “superpremium” is not a clear-cut category, ap-
proximately 95 percent of Two Bostons’ pet food inventory encompasses foods considered to fall under the superpremium classification.
“We are serious about what we carry,” she said. “We only offer product that we feel great about feeding to our own pets at
home; that’s our guarantee.”
Making a clear distinction as to how superpremium foods will benefit pets is another critical factor, Schubert said.
“Customers will have questions about the hows and whys of superpremium foods, and retailers should be ready to respond,”
Schubert said. “They might ask how a new product differs from what is currently being fed or wonder why they should invest in a
slightly more expensive food.”
At Loyal Biscuit Co., which has stores in Maine, mealtime servings are displayed in glass jars to help customers compare premi-
um foods with grocery store brands, said owner Heidi Vanorse Neal.
“Customers are able to see how much more is required to be fed with an inferior brand,” she said. “We even go so far as to break
it down to a cost-per-day to show that healthful feeding does not mean more expensive.”
Bernhard noted the significance of differentiating from supermarket and big-box competition beyond merely providing excep-
tional customer service.
“We have to go further than that,” he said. “The constant and increasing consumer demand for better pet food at reasonable
pricing is a wonderful challenge to upkeep.”
HARNESS LEAD’S product of the same name is a leash and harness in one. It reduces
pulling by gently tightening around the barrel only, with no tightening around the
neck. It utilizes a dog’s own pressure against the leash to encourage and remind the
pet to slow its pace. When a dog attempts
to back out of the harness, it will tighten
around the body like a slip lead, preventing
escape. It adjusts to any size and molds
around the body of any dog. It comes in
two sizes and will fit dogs 14 lb. and up. It
is handcrafted in the USA.
EXCALIBUR’S Six-Tray Stackable Pet
Treat Dehydrator allows pet owners
to make healthful, delicious dog treats
at home. The top-down airflow system
distributes air evenly amongst the
removable stackable compartmental
trays. A vented see-through lid allows
users to monitor the dehydration
process. The unit comes with a plastic
jerky gun, cookie cutters and a pet treat
POOCHIE-PETS’ Snuggle Buddy Blanket offers comfort when owners can’t
be with their pets. Owners can rub the
blanket on their arm or sleep with it for
a few nights to release their scent. The
machine-washable blanket is handcrafted in the USA of the highest-quali-ty minky polyester fabric. It measures 16
in. by 23 in.