BY KEITH LORIA
Pet owners want chews that offer high-quality nutri- tion, functionality, palatability and more. Dog chews
relieve boredom, provide dental benefits such as scraping
plaque away and helping control tartar buildup, and in the
soft chew category, consumers
can find a host of potential benefits, from joint support to skin
and coat health.
Customers want long-lasting,
natural and highly digestible
chews, said Andrea Margelis,
manager of Pets Naturally in Traverse City, Mich.
“They’re aware that not all
chews are safe for their pets and
can cause issues such as digestive
upset and even fractured teeth,”
she said. “They want to know
what’s in the chews and where
they are made.”
Manufacturers and retail-
ers agreed that USA-made and
-sourced chews are a big trend.
“Many pet parents are avoid-
ing China-made products,” said
Bruce J. Flantzer, executive vice
president of Rush Direct Inc.
Pet Products in Wood Dale, Ill.
“Other trends are gluten- and
wheat-free, and long-lasting
chews. We will continue to see
trends that mimic the healthful
alternatives and popular trends
in human diets—products like
kale, quinoa and ‘superfruits’ to
make the chews a healthful yet
The category is moving away
from “engineered” chews, said
Anthony Bennie, founder and
chief nutrition officer of Clear
Conscience Pet LLC in Cape
“The clean label movement is
becoming more important,” he
said. “The ultimate chew for a
dog is a bone, but the consumer
is uneasy to provide real bones,
so it’s important for manufactur-
ers to provide something that can
really give some good chewing
satisfaction to a dog.”
Brook Bickford, owner of
Gone to the Dogs Boutique in St.
Pete Beach, Fla., said customers
ask for chews sans rawhide and
for those that will last a long time.
“I hear all the time about fero-
cious chewers and how the chews
don’t last,” he said. “We also get
a lot of requests for dental chews
for those owners concerned about
their pets’ teeth.”
Brandy Garcia, manager of
Canine Creek Pet Wash & Bou-
tique in Tehachapi, Calif., said
she refers customers to durable,
long-lasting bully horns and
Chris Meiering, director of innovation for Zuke’s in Durango,
Colo., said dog owners are savvy
about ingredient and sourcing
choices; look for allergy-friendly
products; and value rewarding
their pets with wholesome nutrition instead of empty calories.
“An aging population of people and pets is also supporting
the demand for health-centered
or supplemental chews,” Meiering said.
Natural products with easily
understood, whole-food ingredients will continue to be a huge
selling point for customers, according to Redbarn Pet Products’
research, said Rashell Cooper,
marketing director for the Long
Beach, Calif., company.
Today’s consumers have a demanding set of standards when they shop
for chews, which means retailers should stay on top of the category by
offering ample selection, eye-catching displays and product knowledge.
CHEW MERCHANDISING IDEAS
“Use innovative displays, made from natural materials when possible, to help customers better see the product,” said Rashell
Cooper, marketing director for Redbarn Pet Products in Long Beach, Calif. “Using an endcap, featuring different chews as a
product of the month and moving treats to the front of the store all work to aid pet specialty retailers.”
Bruce J. Flantzer, executive vice president of Rush Direct Inc. Pet Products in Wood Dale, Ill., said the company will soon offer
POP displays along with marketing ideas to its retail partners for its new ResQ Naturals line.
“We will provide retailers referrals from the rescue organizations that promote our products,” he said.
Retailers should separate natural chews and bones from “engineered” chews in displays, said Anthony Bennie, founder and
chief nutrition officer of Clear Conscience Pet LLC in Cape Coral, Fla.
“Demonstrate them side by side so consumers can decide what’s best for them,” he said.
At Gone to the Dogs Boutique in St. Pete Beach, Fla., most of the chews are placed together in one section, but owner
Brook Bickford does showcase some of his best-selling chews in the center of the shop, such as the popular Whimzees
At Pets Naturally in Traverse City, Mich., chews are displayed close to the checkout counter to encourage last-minute purchases, said manager Andrea Margelis. “We also have them in a variety of baskets that draw the customers’ eyes.”
Redbarn Pet Products of Long
Beach, Calif., offers three new
flavors of its Bully Slices: pieces
of beef ear and hide trimmed into
rectangular dog chews and covered
with Peanut Butter, French Toast
and Vanilla flavors, said Rashell
Cooper, marketing director.
“They’re all natural, grain free
and high in protein,” Cooper said.
Zuke’s of Durango, Colo.,
introduced Enhance Functional
Chews, designed to support a
dog’s daily health and available in
Calming, Digestion, Endurance,
Fresh Breath, Mobility and Shiny
Coat formulas, said Chris Meiering,
director of innovation.
“Whether its chamomile and
L-theanine for calming or turmeric and MSM for hips and joints,
each form’s primary functional
ingredients are listed on the front
of each package,” Meiering said.
Rush Direct Inc. Pet Products
launched its ResQ Naturals line
of natural, healthful, made in the
USA dog and cat treats, with a
portion of each sale going to rescue organizations across the U.S.,
said Bruce J. Flantzer, executive
vice president of the Wood Dale,
Clear Conscience Pet LLC
in Cape Coral, Fla., has taken a
trachea and enhanced it by infusing it with superfood nutrients
(carrot, tomato, flax and spinach),
said founder and chief nutrition
officer Anthony Bennie.