“A lot of pet specialty brands have entered the
mass market, which diminishes the exclusivity ;of those products; and inhibits retailers’
ability to charge more for them,” Lummis
says. “This mass premiumization is a positive
for fresh pet food moving forward. The next
big thing is fresh food.”
When it comes to pet food, what “fresh”
means to pet food shoppers has evolved.
As Lummis points out, “Going back a couple of decades, it meant raw.” But that’s not
the case now. The term, he says, has been most
commonly associated with refrigerated products ever since Secaucus, N.J.-based Freshpet
introduced that format in ;;;;.
“Freshpet started the mainstreaming of
refrigerated fresh and put cases into Walmart
and pet superstores,” he says. Although there
have been innovations such as in-store exhibition dog food kitchens, the leader in the category hasn’t really changed. “JustFoodForDogs
teamed up with Petco and is testing ;dog food
kitchens; in-store … but the category is still
all about Freshpet and maybe a couple more
companies,” Lummis says.
Filling a Role, but Not for Everyone
Fresh might be the new face of superpremium pet food, but kibble remains king in
the pet aisle.
“Pet food overall is an approximately ;;;
billion industry and almost all of that is kibble and wet, with a larger share being kibble,”
Jake Trainor, Freshpet’s director of marketing, admits that fresh isn’t for every pet
family—at least not yet.
kibble has been around for nearly
;;; years, so it will certainly be
some time before fresh as a category has a shot of approaching the
size and scale of kibble,” Trainor
says. “There will always be some
dog owners who value convenience when choosing their pet
food, so having a longer shelf life
and ability to store in their pantry
can be appealing. With fresh pet
food, it’s a little more involved.
Our food is fresh, so it requires
Fido Goes Natural
“Fresh” isn’t the only word pet
parents are looking for when it
comes to caring for their pets.
“Natural” and “organic” are other
important terms they seek.
Sales of natural supplements,
natural living and household
products, and natural and organic
pet products were all up last year.
Citing data from the American Pet
Products Association, Carlotta
Mast of Boulder, Colo.-based
New Hope Network says 73% of
millennials own a pet.
These consumers tend to be
more concerned about products
that are healthy for their pets and
the planet. As a result, natural/
organic pet products far outpaced
conventional last year: up 10.2%
to $7 billion, vs. only 1.9% growth
in conventional pet products.
Traditional CPG companies
such as Minneapolis-based
General Mills are also getting into
the natural pet game. General
Mills acquired Blue Bu;alo Pet
Products for $8 billion last year.
storing in your fridge and once opened should
be fed within ;ve to seven days.”
For retailers considering adding a few
SKUs of fresh refrigerated dog and cat food to
their pet products inventory, there are issues
to consider before taking the plunge. Retro-
;tting aisles is one of them. “It is a signi;cant
investment and takes a lot of planning—you
need equipment, electrical … and you’re
dealing with product that is pretty new in the
minds of consumers,” Lummis says. “And
since ;fresh refrigerated pet food; is pasteur-
ized and not frozen, shelf life is another con-
cern. What is the turnover?”
Trainor says the biggest hurdle retailers
must overcome “is just ;nding space.”
It’s also advisable for retailers to have a gen-
eral idea—via customer analytics—about how
likely it is that existing frequent pet shoppers
will jump on the fresh pet food bandwagon,
says Lummis, who stresses the importance
of having a “good understanding of your pet
food shoppers for a neighborhood-by-neigh-
But those challenges shouldn’t stop stores
from giving refrigerated pet food a try.
Lummis sums up the opportunity it presents in his blog post at petproductnews.
com: “It’s upper-income pet households that
have been doing much of the superpremium
heavy lifting, and plenty of others are willing
to splurge if it means a healthier, happier pet.
Factor in the commitment of heavy hitters
like Walmart and Petco, and it’s hard not to
conclude that, superpremium-pet-food- wise,
the future is fresh.”
Estimated amount of
dog and cat owners who
identified “fresh” as an
Source: Packaged Facts
;;; MAY ;;;; WINSIGHT GROCERY BUSINESS
Freshpet’s Homestyle Creations
dog recipes is a new line of USDA-
certified chicken and beef patties
and Healthy Mixers that gives pet
parents the ability to build custom
meals for their favorite canine.
The chicken and beef patties are
formulated to be nutritionally
balanced, while Healthy Mixers
are made with antioxidant- and
fiber-rich ingredients such as
human-grade fruits, veggies or
whole grains. There are also two
grain-free varieties. Healthy Mixer
options include Cranberries,
Carrots & Green Beans; Bananas,
Cranberries & Blueberries; and
Brown Rice, Pumpkin, Carrots &