EW PRODUCTS ONSUMER EDUCATION
Pennye Jones-Napier, co-owner of The Big Bad Woof in Washington, D.C., noted that the limited-ingredient category
has not only grown in the types of proteins being offered, but also in ingredients that are either changing or being
WellPet’s Wellness Core Simply Shreds are formulated with five simple, natural ingredients for dogs, including
premium shredded protein and diced vegetables. The grain- and filler-free boost of pure protein is perfect for topping
or snacking, said Chanda Leary-Coutu, director of consumer experience for the Tewksbury, Mass.-based company.
“Pet parents are looking to add variety to their pet’s mealtime routine, and toppers like Simply Shreds give them
a pure and nutritious way to achieve that goal,” Leary-Coutu said.
Introduced last summer, the Earthborn Holistic Venture line consists of several limited-ingredient diet recipes for
dogs. Regionally sourced, high-quality, single-animal-origin proteins include Alaskan pollock, Pacific squid, rabbit and
duck from France, and pork and turkey from the U.S., as well as pumpkin and butternut squash.
Produced in Midwestern Pet Foods’ kitchens, Venture addresses consumer concerns regarding safety,
nutrition, fillers, grains and common allergens. Sustainability and the environment are looked after as well. For
example, Earthborn’s Plantbag recyclable packaging contains up to 30 percent plant-based plastic, made from re-newable and sustainable Brazilian sugarcane ethanol, said Warren Hill, chief commercial officer for the Evansville,
My Perfect Pet recently introduced a grain-free Low Glycemic Turkey Blend recipe to its Personal Care Diets line.
The product is formulated for dogs when weight loss, restricted carbohydrate or low glycemic diets are recommended, said Karen Neola, pack leader and founder of the Poway, Calif.-based company.
“We prepare every item in our own kitchen from fresh, naturally nutrient-rich whole foods,” Neola said. “When
the primary ingredients are muscle meats and fresh, whole foods, the list of supplements is short and processed
ingredients and fillers disappear altogether.”
The natural and holistic formulas feature 100 percent human-grade ingredients and no preservatives or
Petcurean Pet Nutrition recently expanded its Go! Sensitivity + Shine limited-ingredient line with two recipes
for dogs: grass-fed lamb and Marine Stewardship Council-certified Alaskan pollock, said Annabelle Immega, trade
marketing manager for Petcurean in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada.
“The grass-fed lamb is sourced from Australia and New Zealand, which is lower in fat and higher in omega- 3 fatty
acids than meat from animals that are fed grains,” Immega said.
A member of the cod family, Alaskan pollock offers high nutritional value; is an excellent source of protein, minerals and omega fatty acids; and is low in carbohydrates, cholesterol and fat, she said.
Both recipes are grain, gluten and potato free, and feature pure coconut oil, which acts as an easily digestible
source of energy and promotes skin and coat health, she added.
Pet specialty retailers can leverage their expertise to make valuable suggestions and recommendations
to customers, particularly when confronted with concerns about food allergies, food safety or quality,
said Warren Hill, chief commercial officer at Midwestern Pet Foods in Evansville, Ind.
“This knowledge sets the pet specialty retailer apart from many other channels,” Hill said.
In-store education is pivotal to raising awareness, and retailers spending quality time with customers
will not only understand specific pet needs, but build loyalty as well, said Karen Neola, founder of My
Perfect Pet in Poway, Calif.
Because limited-ingredient diets are all about purity of ingredients, merchandising efforts should
clearly call out that quality, whether on the shelf or online, said Chanda Leary-Coutu, director of consumer experience at WellPet in Tewksbury, Mass.
Positioning limited-ingredient diets as solutions for a pet’s unique dietary needs can help retailers
market these recipes using this messaging as a foundation, said Annabelle Immega, trade marketing
manager for Petcurean Pet Nutrition in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada.
“As with anything, building awareness for the products available and the benefits they can provide is
the first step,” she said.
Pennye Jones-Napier, co-owner of The Big Bad Woof in Washington, D.C., agreed.
“At the store level, we try to merchandise similar limited-ingredient diets in the same aisles,”
In this way, the different ingredients and attributes of the diets and brands carried can be easily
pointed out to customers, she added.
Retailers and manufacturers
weigh in on the past, present and
future of the limited-ingredient
diet for the canine set:
“In the past decade, we have seen tremendous growth in the limited-ingredient
diet category for dogs and cats. Our store has a reputation for being a ‘go-to’
place for help with skin and coat, and allergy issues. This category is perfect for
customers needing a limited-ingredient-diet formula with the convenience of a
dry or canned food versus going to a raw or homemade diet. We are also starting to see a move now beyond the strictly limited-ingredient diets to more functional diets, which are specifically geared to address day-to-day health concerns
like sensitive stomachs, skin and coat, weight management and urinary care.
These diets tend to act as a bridge that brings the companion animals back to a
premium, and often limited-ingredient, diet that they can be fed for long periods,
as opposed to a strictly veterinary formula used for a short term.”—PENNYE
JONES-NAPIER, co-owner of The Big Bad Woof in Washington, D.C.
“We have noticed more sales of our limited-ingredient high-protein
diets and, with ‘allergies’ on the rise, being able to go to a single source
with higher levels of protein works for us. Because we follow Chinese
Five Element Theory for many of our clients, having a single protein
works well for changing proteins with the seasons—for example, feeding cooling proteins in higher temperature months.”—PATTIEBODEN,
owner of Animal Connection in Charlottesville, Va.
“Limited-ingredient diets are doing well in the natural
category. In fact, we see these foods following a similar
trajectory to grain-free recipes. Like limited-ingredient
diets, demand for grain-free recipes came out of a desire
to do more for a pet’s health by putting only the high-est-quality ingredients in the food bowl each day, without
grains or other fillers. Today, grain-free recipes have
become a staple in pet stores and pantries across the
country, and we envision limited-ingredient diets following a similar path.”—CHANDALEARY-COUTU, directorof
consumer experience at WellPet in Tewksbury, Mass.
“We have seen an increase in demand for limited-ingredient foods.
There is one primary reason: Over the summer season, allergies increase.
Veterinarians in our area are in tune with the problem and recommend
limited-ingredient diets.”— TERRY BRLECIC, co-ownerof Pet Things in
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