RAISING THE BAR
As pet owners become increasingly savvy, small animal food manufacturers are aiming to
provide these consumers with a wide range of high-quality, nutritious diets.
Vitakraft Sunseed Inc. in Bowling Green, Ohio, has been upping its game with treats
and enrichment items for this category.
“We are always looking for ways to enrich the human-animal bond. We are currently
working on expanding our treat options for exotics with this purpose in mind,” said Jim
Norsen, national sales manager for the company. “Our Wigglers and Berries treat for
hedgehogs is one of our top sellers.”
Teri Applegate, territory manager of Volkman Seed in Ceres, Calif., said Volkman is
introducing a repackaging of its small animal line during the summer.
Marshall Pet Products in Wolcott, N. Y., launched its Ferret Extreme Diet at Global Pet
Expo in Orlando, Fla., in March.
“This crunchy, freeze-dried diet is created by a delicate freeze-drying process that
‘locks-in’ the natural nutrition and the real taste of fresh turkey meat, made with no arti-
ficial preservatives,” said Paul Juszczak, director of sales and marketing for the company.
“Prior to that, we launched our Bandits Freeze Dried Ferret Treats made with 100 percent
whole raw animal protein at SuperZoo last summer. They’re made with the same delicate
Sailfin Pet Shop, located in Champaign, Ill., designates about a 28-foot section to its small animal section, with Vitakraft
Sunseed occupying the first position down the aisle, followed by Oxbow, Kaytee and Supreme.
“Oxbow always had this coupon for free hay with any small animal purchase, and we are now doing a special where
anytime someone purchases an animal with us and the caging, we throw in the bedding for free,” said John Cwaygel,
president of Sailfin Pet Shop. “This is actually comped by Vitakraft Sunseed. And with hamster caging, we do the same
thing with Sunseed food, and it works out really well. The amount of repeat sales is very impressive.”
Although Whole Pets, based in Boulder, Colo., stocks a minimal amount of product in this category, store manager
Kim Kramer said it highlights its best-sellers on display—such as Oxbow Adult Rabbit Formula—and the whole section
is located near the back of the store.
“We keep everything together so our customers know exactly where to go,” she said. “We mostly deal with dogs
and cats, but we have a loyal following of those with the smaller animals, and they are just as important to us as any pet
Paul Juszczak, director of sales and marketing for Marshall Pet Products in Wolcott, N. Y., said the best displays are
those that highlight any new item on an endcap or special section in the store.
“This will catch the potential buyer’s eye, and then also draw them to the section,” he said.
Retailers can also help customers—particularly new pet owners—by considering all of a pet’s needs and arranging
the store to be as convenient as possible, said Teri Applegate, territory manager for Volkman Seed in Ceres, Calif.
“Bundling items that relate to food, habitat and treats would help a new pet parent to be completely prepared to
welcome a pet into their home,” she added.
How can retailers sell more of these products?
Respects a natural diet
Go to Superzoo booth 1933 to find out
more about this small pet revolution!
(Offer may be limited, while stocks last)