Courting Repeat Sales
Pelleted fish food offerings are growing, and retailers can give their
customers what they want with an eye to bringing them back for more.
THIS ARTICLE IS BROUGHT
TO YOU IN PART BY
BY ETHAN D. MIZER
Pellet food options are increasingly popular with customers and have slowly begun to take up market share over flake foods, industry experts report.
“Every manufacturer that originally just had flakes now also has
a pellet option,” said Katie Velie, manager for Nahacky’s Aquarium
in Melbourne, Fla. “We push pellets because it makes it easier on the
Customers are looking for variety, and manufacturers are working to help retailers provide hobbyists with choices when it comes to
formulations and feeding options.
“Pellets have always been a distant second to flake, but they are
getting more popular as fish keepers look to mix up their selection
of foods,” said Chris Clevers, president of Hikari Sales USA in Hay-
ward, Calif. “The various textures and pellet shapes and forms we
offer allow consumers to interact with their fish more readily during
feeding, and this is always something hobbyists are interested in
Velie sees more demand on the freshwater side of the hobby for
pelleted foods, and she noted that a dichotomy exists between how
freshwater hobbyists use pellets compared to marine hobbyists.
While freshwater customers offer pellets for variety and to target
specific species, marine hobbyists are more interested in convenience.
Marine hobbyists who shop at Aquaridise in East Brunswick, N.J.,
are favoring frozen and pelleted offerings for their fish, according to
owner Howie Berkowitz.
“I find the pellet is a better food [over flake options],” Berkowitz
said. “It doesn’t get sucked into the overflow box or into your fil-
ter. For my customers on the marine side, it’s about our recommen-
dations, and we’re turning people away from flakes onto pellets or
Kelly Parsons, manager for Denny’s Pet World in Kirkland, Wash.,
noted that the saltwater hobbyists who shop at his store lean mostly
toward frozen food and are far lest likely to buy pellets. However, he
still sees demand for these products.
“Our pelleted food sales are 95 percent freshwater,” Parsons said.
Several new pelleted options have appeared on the market recently, as
manufacturers focus efforts on meeting demand for innovative products
in the category.
“Fish food has been around for a long time,” said Chris Clevers,
president of Hikari Sales USA in Hayward, Calif. “Coming up with new
formulations and novel ingredients with a true benefit is not an easy
Hikari’s newest offerings include Vibra-Bites, which are designed to
mimic the shape and movement of frozen bloodworms in the aquarium.
The intent is to help stimulate feeding behavior, he added.
Probiotics also are popular, and several manufacturers are looking
to provide options for retailers that address the growing demand. At
SuperZoo in Las Vegas in June, Cobalt Aquatics released its Ultra Fresh
Pellets natural fish food line, said Les Wilson, co-founder/marketing of
Cobalt International in Rock Hill, S.C.
“Our new Ultra Fresh Pellets are 100 percent natural with whole
ingredients and pre- and probiotics,” he said.
New protein sources and other tweaks to existing formulations are
appearing on the market as well.
“We released our new Naturox Series pellets, which include changes
to the formulation,” said Ian M. Tepoot, president of New Life International
in Homestead, Fla. “We added squid as a secondary protein source, in
addition to the whole Antarctic krill we always have used as our prime
protein, along with bentonite clay as a mineral-rich binder, and ginger
along with the garlic that has been a mainstay in our formulas.”
The line features ingredients that are preserved via vacuum packing
or with Naturox, which is an all-natural, plant-based preservative, Tepoot
added. The company also introduced its Probiotix medium-sized pellet
food at Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Fla., in March. It is formulated to
include 3 million viable probiotic cultures per gram, Tepoot noted.
“It is common knowledge that probiotic bacteria cannot withstand
temperature beyond [158 degrees Fahrenheit],” said Pablo Tepoot,
founder of New Life International. “We came up with a cold re-extrusion
technology that extrudes at a temperature lower than [122 degrees
Fahrenheit] using algae gel as a binding agent.”
in fish breeding and
rearing coupled with our
ongoing research of all types
of fish at the Hikari® Aquatic
Laboratory allow us to refine
this knowledge and experience
to develop diets that help you
and your customers succeed.
Each Hikari® diet, like
Vibra-Bites™ which mimics a
frozen blood worm moving
through the water, is
developed with the aquatic
pet’s long-term health as our
top priority. Our diets offer
uniquely balanced nutrition,
support immune system
health, require no additional
supplementation, taste great
and help all types of tropical
fish develop the superior
coloration they were
©HSUSAI PPN August 2018