What are the best ways to get the word out about
functional and specialty diets for dogs?
“Digital advertising and the use of social media is still one of the most efficient
ways to spread the word. However, it is becoming a more expensive way to
reach potential consumers and a tool commonly used by large companies, so
owners need to do their homework, find credible influencers and turn to product
reviews.”—ANN HUDSON, vice president of marketing for Whitebridge Pet Brands
in St. Louis
“Definitely through conversation and
backed up with signage. We really like to
take the foods we carry and talk about
illness or disease from a nutritional
perspective and how these foods can
help with that process. Walking into a pet
food store, the average person can be
overwhelmed by options, so lay them out
in a functional way.”—DARCI PETERCHEFF,
business partner and nutritional consultant
for The Local Wag in Lexington, Ky.
“Social media works well. We
also have an app and send
notifications out to app members. We negotiate pricing in
order to make feeding raw
more affordable, and we have
a loyalty program where the
client earns free raw food after
GROW, owner of Furry Face
Inc. in Redlands, Calif.
“The most successful retailers employ a variety of marketing tactics to connect
with their customers. Having color and creativity on the floor when it comes to
merchandise can draw attention to trends, categories or new products. Utilizing
different sales tools and marketing POS materials provided by brands helps to
continue the conversation started on the store floor. Finally, in today’s market,
retailers cannot forget about the power of social media and digital marketing to
reach customers on the go and target new shoppers in the community.”
—BRYAN NIEMAN, brand director of Fromm Family Foods in Mequon, Wis.
MEETING CONSUMER REQUESTS
To ensure that diets meet the needs of dogs and the demands of owners, several manufacturers launched innovative
functional and specialty foods this year.
This spring, Fromm Family Foods in Mequon, Wis., launched Four-Star Nutritionals Chicken au Frommage to meet
demand for variety-based diets, the manufacturer stated. Chicken au Frommage is a grain-free entrée crafted with
chicken, cheese, lentils, peas, eggs, sweet potatoes, prebiotics and probiotics.
Under the Weather in South Burlington, Vt., recently added three flavors to expand its freeze-dried bland diets.
According to the manufacturer, Hamburger, Rice & Sweet Potato uses 100 percent grass-fed beef hamburger, white
rice and sweet potato; Salmon & Rice contains 100 percent USA wild-caught salmon and white rice; and Turkey, Rice
& Sweet Potato has 100 percent cage-free turkey breast, white rice and sweet potato. Each 6-ounce bag is formulated
to rehydrate to two to four servings, depending on the size of the dog.
In September, Whitebridge Pet Brands introduced its Tiki Dog Aloha Petites line of kibble, wet food and morsels.
The fresh-baked dry kibble is sized and shaped for smaller mouths and comes in fish, chicken, lamb and pork varieties.
“The diets contain superfood ingredients like pumpkin, coconut, kale and salmon oil,” said Ann Hudson, vice
president of marketing for the St. Louis-based company. “Nutrient-dense organ meat, like chicken liver, adds taste and
texture for superior palatability.”
Also formulated for smaller dogs, the wet food comes in seven whole-food combinations of flaked fish and
shredded chicken that are steamed fresh and hand-packed in pouches and cans, the manufacturer stated. Made from
USA-sourced chicken and New Zealand-sourced lamb, the morsels’ 100 percent meat pieces are diced into small
cubes and cooked by circulating warm, dry air, the company added.
Tiki Dog Bisque, which is a meat-based gravy with chunks of pork, beef, lamb and chicken, is designed to be
served over kibble or alone as a treat.
EW PRODUCTS EW INGREDIENTS
OUT OF THE BOX
Many dog owners today seek pet foods that serve a purpose, and this demand has pushed manufacturers to
“The increased demand for variety results in more brands thinking outside the box when it comes to
ingredients and formulations,” said Bryan Nieman, brand director of Fromm Family Foods in Mequon, Wis.
In addition to grain-free diets, some dog owners also want potato-free recipes for their pets, said Pete
Brace, vice president of communications and pet parent relations for Merrick Pet Care in Amarillo, Texas.
Some of the novel ingredients now seen in specialty and functional dog diets include whole-food ingredients and superfoods, said Ann Hudson, vice president of marketing for Whitebridge Pet Brands in St. Louis.
Companies are also adding ingredients such as turmeric, blueberries and cranberries for their anti-in-flammatory and antioxidant properties, said Robert L. Downey, president and CEO of Annamaet Petfoods Inc.
in Telford, Pa.
“Studies in dogs have shown that turmeric has the potential to help reduce the symptoms associated
with arthritis, and turmeric boosts the liver’s ability to metabolize fat and removes waste from the body,” he
said. “Blueberries and cranberries are known for their antioxidant properties, which means they can protect
cells against the effects of free radicals.”
Despite lingering concerns about international ingredient safety, Hudson reported that “global ingredient
sourcing is no longer viewed as negative.”
“Sometimes the best-quality ingredients come from other countries,” she said. “Intelligent and thought-
ful sourcing is important.”
Hudson is also seeing increased use of human-cooking techniques such as baking and hand-packing
becoming more mainstream in the category.
CON TINUED ON PAGE 59
Soft Recovery Collar
Tick Removal Tool
for big and little ticks
HOOK - TWIST - LIFT
w/ SMART Merchandising
Allow Peripheral Vision