“Products containing high-quality, USA-sourced ingredients will never
be cheap, so pet specialty retailers must assure shoppers that
they are making a healthier, safer choice.”
—Karen Neola of My Perfect Pet
veloped appreciation for what “the best” truly looks like, said Jen
Loesch, general manager of Sojos in minneapolis.
Further, pet owners rely on federal agencies such as the
u.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and u.S. Department of
Agriculture (uSDA) to ensure food quality and safety, said Karen
Neola, founder of my Perfect Pet in Poway, Calif.
While scrutiny of this type has been evident in the dog products category for some time, the call for transparency in sourcing
for feline nutrition is gathering momentum.
“We’ve certainly seen the made in uSA trend make its way
over to the cat food category for many of the same reasons that
are driving the industry as a whole,” Schubert said. “The primary
driver continues to be consumer demand for better foods for our
feline friends—foods that are nutritionally sound and manufac-
tured using stringent safety protocols.”
Historically, many of the wide-reaching health issues sur-
rounding pet foods have developed as a result of ingredients
sourced from other countries, said Noelle Selleck, California sales
manager for Smallbatch Pets in Portland, Ore. For this reason,
consumers often generalize and deride all ingredients that arrive
from outside the uSA, she added.
“Consumers equate uSA-sourced and -made ingredients with
quality,” Selleck said. “It’s a convenient box to check when evalu-
ating myriad available options.”
Consumer interest in freeze-dried, uSA-sourced cat food
products is growing dramatically, Loesch said.
“With cat parents looking for safe, convenient ways to feed their pets, using the freshest
ingredients possible, raw food has become an
important part of the made in the uSA movement,” she added.
Samantha Cohen, vendor relations manager and corporate buyer at Woof Gang Bakery,
which has headquarters in Orlando, Fla., said
that offering a mix of cat foods featuring the
highest-quality ingredients and nutrition is the
first and foremost consideration.
“most of our kibble diets are uSA made and
sourced,” she said. “With that in mind, cats re-
quire a higher level of moisture, and sometimes
simply supplying water does not suffice; there-
fore, it is important to include some canned
food in their diets.”
However, canned offerings are not strictly
limited to uSA sources, Cohen said.
“We also carry brands that are packed in hu-man-food facilities around the world following
other guidelines, such as strict eu standards,”
she said. “ultimately, when it comes to sourcing, we want foods
from the highest-quality suppliers around the world. For example,
many manufacturers source their lamb and venison from New
WHY USA-MADE MATTERS
Helping customers to find the best food to meet the needs of
their individual pet at a budget-pleasing price can be a challenge,
“Products containing high-quality, uSA-sourced ingredients
will never be cheap, so pet specialty retailers must assure shop-
pers that they are making a healthier, safer choice,” Neola said.
It is also vital that independent retailers building awareness
for uSA-sourced products share their research findings and rea-
sons for selecting a product with sales associates, Schubert said.
“A knowledgeable, effective staff is often what sets brick-and-
mortar retail stores apart from mass-market chains and e-com-
merce, and independents should definitely take advantage of the
training offered by manufacturers,” Selleck said. “In an age where
anyone can publish anything online and put it forth as fact, it’s
important to cultivate a sense of expertise that consumers feel
they can trust.”
Following trends in human foods, pet owners are demand-
ing easier-to-understand labels and more wholesome, natural