NOVEL FLAVORS, MATERIALS
Several new products have appeared on the market for small animals, and
manufacturers continue to focus on treats, chews and toys with new flavors,
ingredients and materials.
Vitakraft is launching a few new treats for small pets this year.
“Adding on to our Drops line, we’ve created new watermelon-flavored
Drops and our first Mini Drops that are a fruity mix of banana and cherry
flavors,” said Tim Norsen, national sales manager for Vitakraft Sun Seed in
Bowling Green, Ohio.
The company has also updated its line of Crunch Sticks with redesigned
packaging and additional flavors. In addition, the company recently
introduced Vitakraft Bursts, which are formulated to offer crunchy, pillow-shaped pieces filled with a soft fruity center.
Hay products continue to be popular, and to that end, manufacturers are
adding products that expand on already high-demand offerings.
“Kaytee has recently released Premium Timothy Hay Treats,” said Katie
Freres, small animal senior associate brand manager for Kaytee, a brand of
Walnut Creek, Calif.-based Central Garden & Pet. “These treats are both a
chew and treat combination that support dental health by promoting natural
chewing activity. They come in six varieties: Hideout, Chew-a-bowl, Roll ‘n’
Toss, Peanut, Shapes and Chips.”
Product packaging and branding in the category are also receiving
“Our Simple Rewards packaging recently received a facelift that
highlights the wholesome, premium ingredients and really helps the treats
stand out on the shelves,” said Lucas Stock, communications manager for
Oxbow Animal Health in Omaha, Neb. “We’re excited to continue to find ways
to help tell our premium brand story on the shelf, and the new packaging is a
There are new takes on old favorites in the segment, as well.
“Modifying traditional materials is more popular,” said John
Gerstenberger, vice president of product development and sourcing for Ware
Pet Products in Phoenix. “For example, taking timothy hay, grinding it into a
Ware recently introduced the Kapok Build-A-Bed, Build-A-Nest and
Build-A-Hut, all marketed as safe to chew. Other launches from the company
include Pet Loofah Salad; Donut Delight Healthy Chews; a line of Health-E
products, including Bouquet, Cone with Timothy Hay and Shroom chews; and
a line of chews named Krunchy, including a Banana Healthy Chew, Bouquet,
Bread Man, Carrot, Cook and Sunflower selections.
“Small animal pets are not just for kids anymore,” Gerstenberger said.
“This is an emerging pet category, and it deserves products that are species-specific and designed based around their unique nutritional and play needs.
“Our goal is to keep the product design and the packaging clean
and easy to merchandise and display for our retail partners and easy to
understand for the pet-parent customers,” he added.
LINE OF SIGHT
The purchase of small animal treats, chews and toys is often done on impulse, so making sure that these products are clearly
visible to all shoppers is key to maximizing their sales potential in retail, according to industry participants.
“Treats and toys will rarely be the main driver of a customer’s visit to your store,” said Lucas Stock, communications
manager for Oxbow Animal Health in Omaha, Neb. “Knowing this, make sure that these items are placed prominently, in
proximity to essentials such as foods and hay. Keep treats at eye level for maximum visibility.”
Eye-catching displays can also help give life to slow treat and toy sales.
“It’s important to offer fun and eye-catching designs of products on the retail shelf,” said John Gerstenberger, vice
president of product development and sourcing for Ware Pet Products in Phoenix. “Make it easy for pet parents to shop and
understand what the product is and how it’s going to be a great fit behaviorally and nutritionally for the pet.”
It might be particularly important for full-line stores or stores that offer products for multiple types of pets to call
attention to treats, toys and chews for small animals.
“Our small animal section is at the front of our store, so it makes it
easier for customers to come right in and pick repeat sales items easily,”
said Nate Infurna, manager of Pratt’s Pets in Glendale, Ariz.
Using endcaps effectively can help promote sales of products in the
category as well.
“I have some treats and toys on an endcap leading into where all
my food and stuff is,” said Kathy Sunvison, manager at Gallery of Pets in
Austin, Texas. “Customers will usually get some kind of treat for their pet
to get started with. Then they’ll come back for those, and often they’ll try