Convenience Is Key
Alternative pet food offerings such as raw freeze-dried and dehydrated
foods are gaining ground and helping independents stand out.
BY ETHAN D. MIZER
Premium pet foods are quickly becoming the tool of choice for independent pet retailers that want to differentiate themselves and stand out from the competition. Raw freeze-dried and dehydrated options provide customers with more choices, and pet
specialty retailers reported success with recommending these products to help customers address various issues their dogs face.
“A lot of the new customers are people who have reached their
limit with trying all the different dry foods and having nothing
work,” said Ken Daminger, owner of Daminger’s Natural Pet Foods
in Sewell, N.J. “Their last resort is to try [raw] freeze dried.”
As a result, the raw freeze-dried and dehydrated category is
among the fastest-growing segments in the pet food industry.
“Alternative diets are the fastest-growing, albeit the smallest,
category of pet food,” said Ann Hudson, vice president of marketing for Whitebridge Pet Brands in St. Louis. “They represent the
consumer’s strong desire for minimally processed foods.”
Consumer awareness is driving the trend, both manufacturers
and retailers reported, and customers are increasingly interested in
switching or augmenting their pets’ diets with freeze-dried options.
“More pet owners become educated every day and are switching
from dry and wet to freeze dried,” said Vanessa Quick, director of
sales for Purpose Pet Food in New York. “They’ll add it to their
rotational diet to provide their pets with better food. Considering
the current market size and trend, we see pretty much unlimited
growth for years to come.”
Freeze-dried options are appealing for their ease of use, retailers
“Freeze dried is convenient,” said Kim Albright, owner of Kim’s
Palatability is a big selling point when it comes
to raw freeze-dried and dehydrated products.