BY LIZETT BOND
Today, more than ever, pet owners regard the suste- nance placed in their dog’s
bowl with the same consideration
they give to food served on their
own plates, said Ann Hudson,
vice president of marketing for
Whitebridge Pet Brands, maker of
Cloud Star products, in St. Louis.
“Pet owners recognize the defining role of food and nutrition
in the overall health and wellness
of their pets and are examining
labels and sourced ingredients
carefully,” said Adrian Pettyan,
CEO and founder
of Caru Pet Food in
Vero Beach, Fla.
pet owners are demanding holistic,
natural and better-quality foods
for good reason,
said Terry Briecic,
co-owner of Pet
Things in Douglasville, Ga.
want to be living at
office and have
decided that pet
nutrition and the
overall wellness of their animal
has to do with what’s in the food
they are feeding,” Briecic said.
Medical necessity is an important driver, and dogs that
have developed food allergies
and/or sensitivities, or medical
conditions such as joint issues or
diabetes, might require a special
limited ingredient diet without
any compromise in nutritional quality, said Bette Schubert,
co-founder and senior vice president of sales, new product development and education for Bravo
Pet Foods in Manchester, Conn.
The Promise of Premium
With more and more products entering the pet food space, retailers help
consumers discover high-quality diets that stand out from the crowd.
PET FOODS INC.
WHAT CONSUMERS SAY
Level of agreement with statement: “High-quality dog foods
are effective for preventive health care.”
2014 2015 2016
Strongly Agree 18% 24% 37%
33% 36% 37%
39% 33% 21%
6% 5% 3%
4% 3% 2%
Source: Packaged Facts, Pet Food in the U.S. (March 2016)
PREMIUM PET FOOD
The premium pet food category continues to reinvent itself, taking the concept of
“premium/specialty” even further, said Ann Hudson, vice president of marketing for
Whitebridge Pet Brands, maker of Cloud Star products, in St. Louis.
“Today’s premium pet foods are not only represented by the list of ingredients on
the label, but where those ingredients are sourced, where the manufacturing takes
place, and the care taken during food preparation,” said Joe Perotti, president and
owner of Market Fresh Pet Foods in Arlington Heights, Ill.
“It began with natural preservations, moved into ingredients and ingredient
sourcing (USA), then ingredient production—i.e., non GMO, antibiotic and hormone
free—and now has extended into the concept of minimally processed, meaning diets
that are more reflective of the kinds of foods pet owners would make at home if they
could,” Hudson said.
Ingredient sourcing has changed the premium dog food category dramatically as
commercial-grade companies now are rushing to source local, USA-made and grown
ingredients, as opposed to those sourced in China, said Adrian Pettyan, CEO and
founder of Caru Pet Food in Vero Beach, Fla.
“Customers are demanding non-China sourced ingredients, and if they don’t
recognize, or can’t pronounce or understand an ingredient on a label, they are leaving
it on the shelf,” Pettyan said.
“It has become a very confusing space to say the least,” said Ryan Perdue,
founder and general manager of Kings Mountain, N.C.-based Family Owned Spot
Farms. “Whether it’s ‘premium’ versus ‘superpremium’ or ‘natural’ versus ‘science
based,’ the designations have ultimately become marketing handles that make it
incredibly difficult for the average consumer to navigate the pet food aisle.”
Further, the “premium” label on a bag of food doesn’t necessarily mean that
there is quality, wholesome, organic food in the bag, Pettyan said.
For these reasons, honest packaging labels will differentiate truly premium foods
from the crowd, allowing customers to clearly see what they are feeding their pets,
Natural Balance® wet cups are
hand-crafted formulas careful-
ly cooked to savory perfection
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Available in Delectable De-
lights® formulas for dogs and
L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets®
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these wet cups contain premi-
um ingredients that deliver a
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Delectable Delights® wet
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L.I.D. Limited Ingredient
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with simple, premium ingredi-
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limited ingredient diets and
feature a single high-quality
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ited carbohydrate sources that
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las like White Fish & Sweet
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dogs and Chicken & Pumpkin
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best friend can’t resist.
Both Delectable Delights®
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ets® wet cups offer wholesome
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your dog or cat deserves.
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