BY LIZETT BOND
Pet owners are eager to ensure the diet consumed by their dogs will contribute to a long and healthy life. As consumers
look to more “natural” or “ancestral” mealtime selections, frozen raw foods are gaining in popularity.
More than ever before, pet owners realize that ingredient quality is paramount,
said Kyle Frautnick, marketing director for
Primal Pet Foods in Fairfield, ;alif.
Justin Magnuson, vice president of sales
and marketing for Raw Bistro Pet Fare in
;annon Falls, Minn., agreed, noting a variety of reasons for the uptick in consumer demand for frozen raw options, including the
personal connection between whole foods
;;ustomers are reading and compar-
ing labels,” Frautnick said. “It’s imperative
to offer a better source of nutrition, as an
alarming number of our beloved animals are
being diagnosed with diet-related disease.”
Diseases such as cancer, diabetes, aller-
gies and chronic weight gain have affected
a large percentage of the pet population,
said Bette Schubert, co-founder and senior
vice president of sales for Bravo Pet Foods
in Manchester, ;onn. As a result, veterinar-
ians are recommending all-natural, limit-
ed-ingredient dietary alternatives to man-
age these conditions.
“Another major factor in the growth of
raw comes down to basic word-of-mouth,”
Schubert said. “One pet owner notices that
the pet of a neighbor or friend just looks
better, has lost weight, has more energy or
doesn’t seem to be suffering from a condi-
tion that has plagued them for years.”
Improved skin and coat, reduced stool
quantity and odor, superior dental hygiene,
and improved energy, vitality, and fitness
are ;ust some of the benefits offered with a
complete and balanced raw frozen diet, ac-
cording to Frautnick.
The Big Bad Woof is a well-known proponent of raw feeding in the Washington,
;.;., area, and co-owner ;ulie Pae; said that
often, customers walking in are predisposed
to a raw diet and seeking a wider variety of
these foods for their dogs.
“We also have customers that have tried
other diets in an attempt to clear issues
with their dog, including kibble, canned
and prescription products,” she said. “After
running the gamut, they’ll come to us, and
we’ll suggest raw food, which knocks out
most of the problems that they have been
“Raw food is so clean,” Paez said. “It’s
not processed; all of the nutrients are avail-
able immediately. With cooked kibble, half
of the good stuff in the meat is lost.”
However, consumer interest in frozen
raw dog food can also be regional, and in
more rural areas, where pet owners might
own multiple dogs, including strays that
have been taken in, a raw diet could be pro-
hibitive to feed in terms of cost.
“At Woof Gang Bakery, we recognize
that a raw diet is not ideal for every customer, so it is important that our owners get to
know their customers when selecting the
best pet diet,; said Samantha ;ohen, vendor relations manager and corporate buyer
for the chain, which is headquartered in Orlando, Fla.
Bill Trufant, co-owner of B&B Pet Stop
in Mobile, Ala., noted a lack of demand for
frozen raw foods in his store.
“It’s a different market here in Mobile,”
he said. “We don’t sell frozen raw in our
store—there just isn’t a call for it.”
The Way Nature Intended
Consumers are more aware of the connection between whole foods and
health in their own diets, and, as such, they are choosing frozen raw
foods for their dogs.
EXPANDING RAW OPTIONS
In answer to consumer demand for
whole, species-appropriate nutrition,
manufacturers are offering a broader
range of frozen raw selections.
The anticipated summer rollout of
the Lamb Entrée from Raw Bistro Pet
Fare will feature 100 percent grass-fed
lamb sourced from Midwest family
“We’re in the process of fine-tuning
the formula with renowned canine
nutritionist Steve Brown,” said Justin
Magnuson, vice president of sales and
marketing for Raw Bistro Pet Fare in
Cannon Falls, Minn. “Because the nutri-
tional profile of every meat is different,
we don’t use a standard premix in any of
our frozen entrées and formulate custom
premixes calibrated to each meat.”
Introduced last summer, Instinct
Raw Boost Mixers provide an easy way
for pet owners to introduce the nutrition
of raw to their pet’s meal by topping
kibble with frozen raw bites, said Shelby
Wisniewski, director of integrated mar-
keting for Instinct Pet Food, a brand of St.
Louis-based Nature’s Variety.
The two best-selling recipes in the
Stella & Chewy’s frozen raw Dinner Patties for Dogs line, Stella’s Super Beef and
Chewy’s Chicken, are now available in a
12-pound value pack, said Lee Hessenthaler, director of marketing for the Oak
Creek, Wis., company.
The new value pack uses the same
ingredients as the 6-pound packages and
features 95 percent meat, organs and
ground bone, Hessenthaler said.
Each pack includes 24 8-ounce
patties, offering an option to pet owners
with large-breed dogs or multidog
Providing a solution to those
seeking nontraditional proteins for their
dogs, the Wild Boar recipe recently
joined the Stella & Chewy’s lineup of
frozen raw exotic proteins. The recipe is
available in both 6-pound Dinner Patties
and 4-pound Dinner Morsels, Hessenthaler said.