soon enough for Brad Kriser,
co-founder of Kriser’s Natural
Pet, a chain of neighborhood
pet stores with headquarters in
According to Kriser, prod-
uct manufacturers that supply
the independent retail channel
need to establish MAP policies
in order to rein in online retail-
ers threatening to upend neigh-
borhood pet stores through
underpricing and to allow
“We [independents] created their businesses,” Kriser
said, referring to manufacturers
and distributors in the natural
pet category. “[The natural pet
category] is something that was
built 100 percent by independent pet stores.
“When you start doing
things that don’t allow us to do
business fairly and competitive-
ly,” he said, “anyone is going to
Fromm Family Foods, a Me-
quon, Wis.-based maker of pre-
mium pet foods, was an early
adopter of MAP.
As e-commerce pet sites be-
came more prevalent and popu-
lar with consumers, “it was a bit
of a wild, wild West scenario,”
said Jim Glassford, a spokes-
person for Fromm, adding that
neighborhood retailers began
complaining that their compet-
itors were selling products at
prices that were as low as the
wholesale prices they were pay-
ing to manufacturers.
“We felt it was important
to have price integrity so those
stores could compete on an even
playing field with e;commerce,
particularly as e-commerce was
trying to drop pricing,” Glassford said.
Kriser commended Fromm’s
position on pricing.
“They really support their independents,” he said.
Of course, MAP policies are
only as good as the enforcement
Manufacturers can catch
MAP cheaters by using special
software such as MAPP Trap,
Cobb said enforcing the
policy has been one of the
“most time-consuming and
difficult” challenges the U.S.
division has tackled. The
Company of Animals relies on
a tracking firm that provides a
weekly list of MAP violators.
A first;time violator is referred
to the company’s MAP policy
and asked to abide by it, a second violation brings a warning, and third-timers end up
on a “do-not-ship” list.
“We have caught a number
of violators, and this includes
the largest e-commerce pet retailers that today are and have
been on our do-not-ship list,”
The challenges of enforcement aside, Kriser said that
MAP policies are here to stay
and manufacturers that don’t
embrace them are likely to lose
business—starting with his.
“If it is not there, then there
is a very high probability that
we won’t be working with
them,” he said.
Pet Product News International July 2017
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