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‘They Want What We Want’‘They Want What We Want’

A roundtable of natural & organic pet food marketers

August 1, 2013

4 Min Read
‘They Want What We Want’

In the natural & organic segment of the market, a pet owner is more likely to be a pet guardian, or even a pet parent. Such semantics are telling and require pet nutrition companies to look deeper at creating a different kind of relationship with their customers. We asked three leading brands to talk about building that relationship through a particular insight gleaned from recent market research and how that insight ultimately informed the marketing of product.

Todd Martin, Castor & Pollux


The insight: Pet parents want to feed their pets the same type and quality food that they themselves consume. Pet food trends seem to be only months behind human food trends, which is why safe, organic and natural foods seems to be the most important quality pet parents are looking for in the industry today. Consumer interest in organic foods is spilling over into their pets’ bowls. We meet this demand for indulgent, nutritious options with new products in our Organix Butcher & Bushel line, including Organic Chopped Turkey, Chicken Liver & Garden Fresh Peas or Organic Tender Chicken Dinner with Fresh-Cut White Potatoes & Apples. Mintel research shows some 26% of pet owners say they are buying natural & organic food for their pets, and more this year than last.


The result: With our new organic-certified manufacturing capabilities, we are able to offer this expanded lineup of Organix recipes that uphold our tradition of creating delicious and nutritious recipes from high quality, natural and organic ingredients.  In fact, our facilities are the only ones we know of in the world that can produce both dry and wet food recipes for pets. The packaging for these new Butcher & Bushel recipes depicts the all-natural and organic ingredients pet parents and their pets will find within. Also prominent on the front of each package is the familiar USDA organic seal, all reinforcing the insight that “they want what we want,” so indulgent rather than dull.


Chris Meiering, Zuke’s zukes.jpg

The insight: Through our research, we have found that pet owners understand the benefit of removing grains from their pets' diets and are willing to spend a large amount of money on grain-free food offerings, yet, when it comes to purchasing treats, they continue to feed "grain-full" options.


The result: Although all of Zuke's treats are made without wheat, corn or soy, we    determined that it was important to provide customers with completely grain-free options.         During our most recent new product development and product improvement cycles, we     converted a number of treats to 100% grain-free including Z-Filets, Jerky Naturals and Z-           Bones for dogs, as well as G-Zees for cats. We use our packaging, our communications with our retail customers, and our website to help pet parents transition their grain-free   knowledge from food to treats. On our new packaging we have called out the grain-free option on the top of each appropriate pouch, and every spring we run promotion corresponding with Global Pet Expo, where we present our "Grain Free at Global" marketing campaign.


Steve Ball & Brendan Synnott, I and Love and You i_20and_20love_20and_20you.jpg


Steve’s insight: The raw food movement continues to gain momentum in pet, driven by the growing popularity of raw food for people, as well as the increasing desire of pet parents to feel like they’re making their pet’s food versus just pouring it in a bowl. 


The result: We launched our line of raw dehydrated food for dogs in 2012, and placed most of the emphasis in our marketing and on our packaging around “raw whole food nutrition.” We are now redesigning our packaging and marketing to emphasize more of the “homemade” aspect of the products, since we know pet parents want the satisfaction of feeling like they’ve prepared their dogs food.


Brendan’s insight: The largest insight relevant to our business is just how desperately natural & organic pet parents want to spoil their animals, how much enjoyment they get from their pets, and how few options they have to express that unwavering love.


The result: We named our brand "I and love and you."

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