How Cat Food and Treat Selection Is Changing | Current Issue

Pet owners are increasingly embracing products made in the United States, particularly when it comes to what they feed their pets, according to industry insiders.

‘Made in the USA’ resonates with treating pets as safety checks and balances and trusted manufacturing processes with strong AAFCO [Association of American Feed Control Officials] “Overall, there is a huge focus with pet parents to make sure they choose products for their companions that are manufactured in reliable, safe facilities that meet manufacturing standards,” said Glenn Nowotny, president and CEO of Emerald Pet Products, a manufacturer in Walnut Creek, California. American high.”

While talk of US-made products tends to focus more on dogs, cat owners are just as eager – if not more dependent on who you ask – to focus their purchasing decisions on this factor.

“Innovation seems to be focusing heavily on dog products, with cats not focusing so much,” Nowotny said. “At Emerald Pet, we’re seeing some of the most dedicated fans and the strongest growth in the cat category.”

Chelsea Sher, vice president of marketing and export for Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Co. Ltd., a manufacturer in Markham, Illinois, has more customers who own cats asking where Evanger cat food is sourced and made than dog owners. (Both are sourced and made in the U.S.) Customers even ask what type of fish is used in certain products, such as if they’re bottom feeders or something else, added Holly Sher, president of Evanger’s.

They both said cat owners are definitely tuned in.

Brian Bolden, CEO of Primetime Petz, a manufacturer in Rockwall, Texas,

You expect the cat segment to continue to grow as customers become more discerning about pet food.

“This consumer group demands a high-quality product containing nutritional supplements to specifically address health issues specific to cats, such as gastrointestinal and urinary problems,” Bolden said.

At Treats Unleashed, a retailer with stores in Missouri and Kansas, “Made in the USA” has always been a selling point for products, said Theresa Miller, owner and founder.

“Customers want to know what they feed their pets and where it’s made,” Miller said.

Meri Morris, co-owner of Tail Waggin’ PetStop, a Kansas City, Missouri, retailer had a slightly different experience.

“Although we don’t consider our store a ‘store,’ most people recognize from our website and our atmosphere that we focus on quality products,” Morris said. “Our customers focus more on quality than on specific geographic origins. Therefore, we rarely have a customer who orders products that are made in America. Interestingly, many of our customers are young professionals, and I have read that for this demographic, “Made in America” In America it’s “not as important as other attributes like fair trade, eco-friendly, and high quality.”

Highlight the sources

Whether a product is made in the USA isn’t the only factor cat owners consider when choosing a pet food. Educated pet owners also want to know where the ingredients come from, Miller said.

Mel Abernathy, Vice President of Sales at Primetime Petz, agreed.

“There are a growing number of discerning cat owners who are a good read in this regard,” Abernathy said. “Ingredient panels are of greater interest to consumers, and the fact that suppliers have adapted their package messaging to ‘US-sourced ingredients’ is proof of this.”

Primetime Petz takes measures to ensure consumer awareness.

“Protein cultured in the United States is and will continue to be in demand on the packaging,” Bolden said. “Point-of-sale videos and print sales will be an advertising initiative going forward.”

Emerald Pet Products also puts Message Center center stage.

“At Emerald Pet, we specifically call our label ‘Made in the USA with American Ingredients,'” Nowotny said. The phrase “Made in the USA”. Retailers have the opportunity to educate customers about products made in the United States using American ingredients by participating in the store.”

In fact, Miller is taking this opportunity to educate the pet owners at Treats Unleashed stores.

“[Cat owners] Making decisions based on our recommendations but also on our employees’ deep knowledge and ability to share information about the sources and companies behind the products we carry.”

At Tail Waggin’ PetStop, sourcing may be on the consumer’s radar, but it’s not as high as some of the other considerations, according to Morris.

“For cat owners specifically, the two most important traits are taste — because cats tend to be more refined than dogs — and healthy ingredients, that is, grain-free and low in ash,” Morris said. “If we can reassure them that the product meets their needs in those areas, sourcing is significantly less important.

Morris continued, “However, we’re located in the Midwest and our customers love products made in the Midwest — it’s definitely a selling point. The closer a product is to ‘homemade’, the better, while products made on the coasts don’t have more appeal.” Or less products made in other countries. I don’t think loving Midwest products is so much about quality as about keeping money in the local economy and simply loving home.”

Chelsea Sher said Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Co. gets 95 percent of its raw materials from within 50 miles of its manufacturing facilities.

“That’s what ‘made in the USA’ means to us – keeping it local,” she added.

When asked why pet owners and retailers should consider the importance and/or benefits of sourcing ingredients in the US, Nowotny replied, “Just like manufacturing in the USA, sourcing ingredients in the USA ensures that they meet the highest standards during quality control and undergo Rigorous testing at the time of production and during storage. You have to put in high-quality ingredients to produce high-quality products.”

Abernathy had the same feelings.

“Ingredients sourced from the United States are more traceable and have regulatory entities that are more trusted by consumers,” Abernathy said.

In the market

Functional Features

Manufacturers release new American-made cat foods and treats, targeting specific health needs.

At the time of publication, Emerald Pet Products was preparing to introduce its newest product for cats, Emerald Pet Feline Dental Stixx, with shipping beginning in April.

“Our innovative new dental treatments in the form of a stick remove tartar and plaque through the action of chewing while also massaging the gums for healthy dental health,” said Glenn Nowotny, president and CEO of Emerald Pet Products in Walnut Creek, California. USA made with American ingredients, and all four recipes include pumpkin to aid digestion.”

Emerald Pet Feline Dental Stixx is available in chicken, salmon, tuna, and catnip.

New to the market is Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Co., Ltd.’s EVx Cat Food Supper. In Markham, Illinois. Made in the USA, the line is designed to focus on the health issues most common to cats, such as weight management, aging, joint health, kidney disease, pancreatitis, urinary health, and digestive disorders – all while still offering an affordable price point for cat owners. who are looking for solutions, according to Holly Sher, president of Evanger’s.

All EVx Restricted Diet dinners include Alltech NVGEN, a proprietary blend of complementary ingredients to “nourish the digestive system for healthy aging,” according to Evanger.

Primetime Petz in Rockwall, Texas, offers freeze-dried nutrition for cats. According to company officials, the freeze-dried Hauspanther line gives cats the protein they crave in a convenient, easy-to-serve form.

These one-ingredient cat treats are available in chicken liver, beef liver, and turkey heart. Meal wraps, which include daily support supplements, are available in chicken, beef, and elk & venison. According to officials, the products are made in the United States from American meat.

On the shelf: Is there enough selection?

US-sourced ingredients may be in high demand in cat foods and products, but are manufacturers keeping up? Theresa Miller, owner and founder of Treats Unleashed, a retail company with stores in Missouri and Kansas, said there are some difficulties in this regard.

“We have had challenges finding sweets that are sourced and made in the USA, so we had to expand our range,” Miller said. “We definitely have a segment of customers that limit their purchases to those in the US only, so having more options would be good for our store and our customers.”

Most of the canned cat food carried by Tail Waggin’ PetStop is from Thailand, according to Mary Morris, co-owner of the Kansas City Mo store.

“We’ve made a point to say that Thailand has a huge – and very reputable – food processing industry and most importantly it’s not China,” Morris added.

Verifying sourcing claims has also proven challenging for some retailers.

“Recently, we have seen reduced transparency regarding sourcing at two of our existing vendor partners,” Miller said. “Manufacturers who rely on companies for their ingredients and cannot confirm the country of origin are excluded from our assortment.”

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