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Did Social Media influence Beneful Sales?


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  1. Nina Wolf

    Go us indeed – Susan, we couldn’t have done it without you. And, yes, absolutely, I DO think social media has helped get the word out about these dangers. Those words you listed – nobody but the formulators for the food companies used to know those words. Now, lots of us not only recognise the words, but the dangers associated. We are starting to know what to ask, and that we need to call manufacturers and ask, ask, ask.

    Most of us probably think the revolution is coming about too slowly. But progress builds and builds, and then there is a big huge breakthrough. When we look back in another 10 years, what will be different?

  2. Paula

    Absolutely consumers can make a significant difference in pet food sales through social media. Since the huge death rate back in 2007 from the contaminated dog food, consumers have become more educated in regard to what they are feeding their pets. I know that I have assisted in the education of my friends in regard to what they have been feeding their dogs and cats. I don’t tell them what to feed, just to read the ingredients label and decide for themselves. What dogs need Corn? And all the artificial colors and additives? I had a friend who fed Beneful, until I had her read the ingredients. She switched to a much better brand, and that was long before the lawsuit.

    It is also due in large to your website here, that I always stay up to date on what is going on in the pet food industry. Keep up the great work that you are doing and the changes that you are trying to make.

  3. Laurie Raymond

    Absolutely, consumers pay attention to social media commentary! I would never sell Beneful or any other Purina product in my store, and my customers are (I hope) too educated to buy any grocery store brands. But I used to carry Merrick’s canned foods, and dumped them when Purina bought the company. I didn’t even have to explain why I stopped carrying the Merricks. Customers began asking if I was going to do that as soon as the sale of the company was announced. BTW, one customer whose dog is hooked on one of the Merrick flavors I used to carry bought some from a local Tractor Supply and said the food was unrecognizable — that quickly!

  4. Mollie Morrissette

    Heck yeah, we make a difference.

    Susan, if it weren’t for your reporting all those years ago – I would have never been prompted to look deeper into the food I was feeding my cats. I didn’t have a clue.

    Then, when I did – there was no turning back.

    Back then, there was only a couple of websites covering the topic in depth (the other one is no longer up). And I thought, this is nuts. Why don’t I add my voice to the fray?

    Thanks for being an inspiration.

    Now we have a chorus of pet food advocates – who wield incredible power and influence over consumers (and consequently the PFI). And that small chorus is heard by social media and the voices grow and become louder and stronger as consumers join the chorus.

    Thanks for doing all that you do. Thanks for being our teacher.

  5. Gitta

    Social media is probably the most powerful tool consumers have. Look at how many companies ignore customer complaints – until these ignored customers turn to social media. All of a sudden their complaints are resolved rather quickly. Many companies now watch these sites very carefully in order to respond quickly.

    Thanks to smart phones we are no longer tethered to our desks to be active on social media.

    Big corporations and their lobbyists have a lot of power, get to actually write laws and block laws they don’t like. But they cannot dictate what consumers buy and what and where they share their experiences. They can ignore science, they can pretend to ignore bloggers. Hard to ignore a drain of profits. Harder still to ignore angry shareholders.

    1. laura

      Good point!! Declining profits only language unconscionable Greedy Big Corp reacts to.
      Heartbreaking how many pets suffer from horrible & dangerous pet food. This is such a complicated
      corrupt industry the only way to fight back is educate as many pet owners as possible through social media etc. Vets, need to take more responsibility for educating owners & themselves on safer & better nutrition. (My personal experience with most vets, regarding nutrition, has been dangerously ignorant…
      peddling Science Diet & dry kibble for felines!!!)
      Profound Gratitude to Susan Thixton our EXTRAORDINARY advocate! We shall continue to do battle.
      (How do we get someone like Michael Moore on board to do a mass exposure of Pet Food Corruption!)

      1. T Allen

        “(How do we get someone like Michael Moore on board to do a mass exposure of Pet Food Corruption!)” Awesome idea! If we can get people to contact him about it I’m sure we can get him thinking…!

  6. Judi

    I know a friend of mine sent an advertisement for Beneful and I made a few comments on FB about how bad it was. Someone from Purina jumped in and denied any wrongdoing. I then stated that feeding Beneful to her little dog would be his death sentence and shortly thereafter, their whole advertisement and our conversation was gone from my page. I have tried to find it but apparently I’m blocked from their website. Fine with me. It’s amazing how many things are altered by social media these days – we can only hope that this will continue to grow and as more people become aware, the pressure on big dog/cat food producers and FDA will finally get some justice for those of us who lost our best friends to their greed.

  7. Pacific Sun

    How can the same company (Purina) market both Beneful and Beyond: Simply 9 (

    Do you think they sell a cheap product with the highest profit margin in order to subsidize a higher quality product that (if the marketing is true) would cost them more to manufacture?

    1. Peter

      Purina realizes that grain free foods are not a fad. They need a foothold for that growing market segment. There are many consumers (perhaps most) who will not buy better foods, ever, for a variety of reasons. Beneful and the myriad of terrible “grocery store” brands will always thrive. Just as there are consumer products (example: laundry detergents and household cleaners) that are owned and made in the same factories (and are identical to) as high priced ones… because research indicates that a percentage of consumers simply will not pay more than a certain amount for a product class. The problem for Nestle Purina is that the growing number of informed consumers will never buy their lousy pet foods. But now… perhaps they might consider otherwise? It is odd though, to see the Purina Beyond commercial which seems to denigrate the primary ingredients in their main product, Beneful.

      1. Anthony Hepton

        Purina knows very well that they have problems with Beneful, I have told them so many times and they have refused to discuss any of the technical issues I have raised with them regarding Beneful’s ingredients. I would expect that they will gradually move away from the current Beneful formulation even though they may retain the Beneful name as a marketing resource. They may transition to a new lead product if they find it to resonate better with customers than the compromised Beneful product line.

  8. Sophie

    I was watching my neighbor’s dog for a weekend. 1st thing I did was take Dixie for a walk. I knew exactly what her family was feeding her the moment I saw her green poop. Sure enough, once I got her home I saw Dixie was being fed Beneful. The owners did not realize this was happening as their Dixie runs outside and into the woods to do her business. When the owners returned we had a talk about Beneful. I am happy to say Dixie no longer eats Beneful, but is enjoying a better food with no coloring & garbage in the ingredients. She is also losing weight and not “grazing” as much when she eats.

  9. Kathryn

    well, I certainly hope ‘we’ can change things via Social Media – especially for the ‘good’ — there is so much ugly, false, hateful stuff out there that it’s encouraging to think that maybe ‘we’ are making a difference!

  10. Teresa JOhnson

    I strongly believe whether through social media or word of mouth we, consumers, make all the difference in sales of any kind. Why else would so many companies ask for feedback in surveys and such?! I don’t use social media, don’t own a smart phone and currently do not have internet access at home. BUT I do speak out to others, unashamedly, when opportunities arise. I am always amazed at how many folks simply do not know or pay attention to news about their pet foods, and sometimes even their foods. I am very excited when I meet like minded folks who really work hard to find good choices and keep atop news. Word is spreading and more folks are getting on board with keeping healthy choices in our foods, human and pets alike. We, the people, are slowly taking back control from big manufacturers who would sell us anything for their profits.

  11. Marsha

    I talk to everyone I know and some I only know a little about the Poor quality of store bought pet FEED. I explain they need to be more informed on what is in their dog food, just like they do for their children. I work at an Elementary school.

    they ask me what I feed my dogs and I let them know I make our own dog food and add Orijen to it. I have to explain that we have a dog with Congestive Heart Failure and he needs food with no salt in it.

    You just have to keep taking, talking and talking.

  12. Terri Janson

    Susan, you have opened my eyes a long time ago. I have learned so much. I have also joined a few other groups such as “Is Beneful by Purina Killing and Sickening dogs”. I spread the word as completely as I can to others. Yes, we the consumers ARE MAKING a difference by spreading the word! 🙂
    With the sales of Benekill (no pun intended) going down could not make my day any BETTER!

  13. Deep Search

    Well it is good to see that some people are paying attention, at least. My family dog-sits for someone who feeds their dogs Beneful– they’ve both eaten it their entire lives… Except, for a short while this past summer the dogs were fed something else, I believe due to news concerning Beneful’s ill effects. Now the dogs are back on the “Playful Life formula.” Maybe because this person believes problems with the food have been “fixed.”I don’t know.

    I’ve spoken with the dogs’ guardian about the dangers of feeding poor quality food more than once. Some people just never learn. I don’t understand how anyone could buy this food, simply based on the ingredients listed on the product, or how a company can claim this is a “healthy” diet for dogs.

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