It wasn’t long ago that studies
showed 90 percent of the consumers purchasing pet foods were unable to tell the difference between
the best and worst foods on the
market and didn’t consider stool
or coat quality or a pet’s length
of life, said Robert L. Downey,
president of Annamaet Petfoods
in Telford, Pa.
“Now studies have shown
that over 65 percent of dog owners and 50 percent of cat owners
consider their pet to be an essential member of the family,”
This humanization of pets
is growing worldwide, forcing
owners to question everything
from ingredients to specific formulas to manufacturing facilities,
“Gone are the days of customers being misled by large
pet food companies claiming to
provide quality products,” Pettyan said. “In-tune customers
are turning over bags and cans
to examine labels.”
ANSWERING THE CALL
Manufacturers are responding to the heightened nutritional awareness of
Bravo Pet Foods recently entered the canned food market with Canine
“Our approach to the Café line closely mirrors our raw diet products in that
they are made with quality muscle meats and poultry and contain no grain, fillers,
preservatives, artificial flavors, or meat and poultry meal,” said Bette Schubert,
co-founder and senior vice president of sales, new product development and
education for Bravo Pet Foods in Manchester, Conn.
In support of a more sustainable future for the pet industry, Annamaet Petfoods has teamed up with Integrative Veterinary Innovations to create Annamaet
Sustain. The grain-free food is formulated using certified sustainable line-caught
Alaskan cod, and it contains turkey and sweet potatoes, along with microalgae,
a sustainable and stable source of omega- 3 fatty acids, said Robert L. Downey,
president of Annamaet Petfoods in Telford, Pa.
“Sustainability is becoming a major concern for people worldwide, with a
record high 71 percent of Americans considering the environment when they
shop,” Downey said.
Offering “home cooking for your pet,” Market Fresh Pet Foods recently
relaunched its line of dog food, said Joe Perotti, president and owner of the
Arlington Heights, Ill., company.
“We start with human-grade, USA-sourced, USDA ingredients, which are
gently cooked and formed by hand into convenient meatballs,” Perotti said. “Our
product is quickly frozen to lock in the freshness, with no additives, preservatives,
artificial color or flavorings.”
Current offerings include a variety of medley recipes using chicken, beef
roast, wild Alaskan salmon and turkey, Perotti said.
Treat maker Family Owned Spot Farms recently entered the food category
with its human-grade, dehydrated dog food, which is available in five recipes, said
Ryan Perdue, founder and general manager of Kings Mountain, N.C.-based Family
Owned Spot Farms.
“Human-grade dehydrated means better nutrition for your dog,” Perdue said.
“The dehydration process retains the beneficial nutrients found in raw food but
protects against spoiling.”
Offering the convenience of home-cooked meals and appealing, nutritious
recipes, Cloud Star’s new Wellmade line is available in a mix of formats and
flavors to keep mealtime fresh and exciting, said Ann Hudson, vice president of
marketing for Whitebridge Pet Brands, maker of Cloud Star, in St. Louis.
The grain-free, minimally processed recipes include a baked kibble, wet
complete meals, and vegetable and meat mixes to appeal to the most involved
pet owner, Hudson said.
A well-trained, ready-to-help staff that seeks out customers with a “question
on their face” is a remarkably powerful tool for merchandising premium foods,
said Bette Schubert, co-founder and senior vice president of sales, new product
development and education for Bravo Pet Foods in Manchester, Conn.
Technology and social media also play a big role in promoting premium
“Online and social media posts about premium products are a great way
to generate excitement and educate customers,” said Adrian Pettyan, CEO and
founder of Caru Pet Food in Vero Beach, Fla.
Shelf-stable products such as freeze-dried and canned foods provide retailers with flexible options for creativity, Schubert noted.
“We believe the best approach is to use tried-and-true merchandising practices, including good, informative signage, endcaps and freestanding displays,
free samples and product glorifiers at checkout,” Schubert added.
Displaying premium, shelf-stable products prominently near the front of the
store will draw consumer attention, as will creating a special section for foods
addressing specific benefits, such as eye or joint health, Pettyan said.