If you think the number of brands of dog and cat food you see in the store is overwhelming, you should see what we as retailers experience when we attend industry trade shows with companies from all over the world, shoving brochures in our hands.
So how do we narrow it down? We have developed our own unique 8 questions that we need answers to in order to make an informed decision as to whether we will bring a brand of food onto our shelves and into your hands.
1. Who Owns the Brand? Is it a smaller family-owned company or a major conglomerate that owns many different household products in addition to pet food? Are decisions made by the company for the benefit of pets or the benefit of investors?
2. Where is the food actually made? Is it made by the company that owns the brand or is it made by a 3rd party processing facility that processes many different brands (also known as co-packing). If the food is made in a co-packing plant have there been any recalls of any brands made in that plant?
3. What about the quality of the ingredients? Are they whole meat sources, meals, by-products? What typed of grains, starches or fruits & veggies are in the bag? Are the ingredients human-grade, organic or sourced locally?
4. What is the reputation of the company? Do they respond to consumer questions or concerns on social media? Is there a history of recalls? Do they stand 100% by their product and support their retailers? Is it easy to find a phone number or email address to answer customer questions?
5. What price range is the food in? Does the price reflect the true value of the food? Do they have a frequent Buyer Program that brings down the cost? Do they spend a lot of money on advertising but little on the ingredients? Do they do extensive testing on each ingredient and each finished batch to insure safety and quality?
6. What do their reviews look like? Are they 4 or 5-Star on food advisor websites? What about reviews or comments about the food on social media, are they favorable or negative?
7. What is the availability of the food? Are there multiple distributors that retailers can buy from? Do our local competitors carry the food? Is it available in mass-market like grocery stores and big boxes? Do they only sell thru independent retailers?
8. What about palatability? Do their customers comment that their pet loves the food? Are they willing to give us samples or small bags so our staff pets can be taste-testers? It could be the best food in the world but if the pets don’t like the taste it will never sell.
I’ll bet you never knew how much effort goes in to choosing foods to carry at The Feed Bag Pet Supply. We don’t accept bribes (known as Spiffs) to carry or recommend any foods. We don’t have staff contests to compete for how many customers we can put on Brand X.
Also, if we would not feed it to our own pets, we won’t feed it to yours!