BY CARRIE BRENNER
Based in Norco, Calif., Cani- dae Pet Food Co. was born in 1996 with simple, healthful recipes. While its product
line has expanded, its mission
to provide high-quality diets to
dogs and cats remains the same.
Pet Product News: You and Gordon were
inspired to start Canidae because you felt
that a lot of pet food companies did not
pay attention to consumers’ and retailers’
desires. What was it that you sought to do
Scott Whipple: Twenty years ago,
the pet food industry was in an
entirely different marketplace.
We saw independent retailers
struggling to survive, so we made
it our goal to help them as much
as possible. We realized that in order for independent retail stores
to continue attracting and satisfying new and loyal customers,
they had to offer unique, standout products.
This is where Canidae came in
to play. With our simple, healthful pet food recipes, we knew that
consumers wanting to feed their
family members a better product
would seek out only the best options, which happened to be at
their local, independent retailers.
PPN: Starting a pet food company is an
enormous undertaking. How did you go
SW: We took one step at a time and
ended up with a fantastic product
that we are still proud of to this day.
From the beginning, we knew
the type of food that consumers
wanted to give their pets, so we
took the time to meet with nutritionists in order to determine
how best to create a complete,
balanced diet. From there, we
created our first recipe and sat
down with manufacturing companies to determine who could
fulfill our specific needs and supply us with the pet food product
of our dreams.
After producing the first few
batches of Canidae, we gathered
initial feedback from our breeder
and kennel contacts to determine
if any adjustments needed to be
made before the food hit retail
shelves. After minor changes, we
began the packaging process and
literally went door to door selling
Canidae to independent retailers.
Since we created a genuinely
amazing product, we were able
to gain distribution rather quickly
throughout Southern California,
which then grew to other markets
around the country.
PPN: The natural pet food category is becoming increasingly crowded. What sets
SW: Canidae’s main differentiator
continues to be our consumers.
They are aware of the reality of
our economy and of the mass
corporations that own a majority of the country’s companies.
Our consumers continue to make
choices in line with Canidae and
our beliefs. Because of that, we
still find ourselves a major competitor in the pet food industry as
it relates to products sold in independent retail stores.
As we continue to listen to our
customers and provide them with
products that they can be proud
to feed their pets, we’ve also been
able to start focusing on our packaging design and overall messaging to ensure those factors are in
line with our amazing products
PPN: Canidae states that “What it says
on the bag is exactly what’s in the bag.”
The company places an emphasis on in-
gredient quality, and the food is made in
small batches. Please tell us more about
SW: In order to continuously
generate a fantastic product, we
cook our ingredients in small
batches with the finest hand-se-lected ingredients provided to
us from a very [small] set of suppliers. Using a system internally
designed by Canidae, our cooking process ensures we are left
with a nutritious product that
allows for optimized digestibility. Canidae is not concerned
with making the most feed per
hour; instead, we pride ourselves on making a product that
surpasses our customers’ expectations one kibble at a time.
PPN: Canidae is a successful company,
20 Years of Pet Love
Scott Whipple and John Gordon worked together in the pet
industry for years before starting their own pet food company
tailored to meet the needs of consumers and retailers.
Canidae Pet Food Co. co-owners and co-founders Scott Whipple (left) and John Gordon
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