The pet food industry continues to grow, but is it in the right direction?
The pet store giant Petsmart recently purchased online pet store giant Chewy.com. Petsmart is a publicly traded company and prior to this purchase of Chewy.com was rivaling competitor pet store giant Petco in sales. Together Petsmart and Petco are reported to account for “20% of all pet product sales in the US” – in 2015 $11 billion in sales. With Petsmart’s addition of Chewy.com – who reportedly has 5% of the pet food sales market, Petsmart moves ahead as the pet food sales giant.
The big pet food retailers getting bigger…is this moving us in the right direction?
And then some interesting news comes to us from Arkansas…Pet Won Pet Products – who manufactures chicken treats for dogs (we can assume jerky treats) – is opening a plant in Danville, Arkansas. Production is set to begin in June 2017.
Is giant retailers buying up online giant retailers, multiple feed grade brands buying up other feed grade brands, and China coming to the US to manufacture pet treats moving the pet industry in the right direction?
While Petsmart, Petco and Chewy.com advertise to have sales associates knowledgeable about the products they sell, it is a rare occurrence for any employee of any of these pet food sales giants to actually provide consumers with significant purchase information. Try asking anyone (everyone) at any of these companies ‘What is the country of origin of ingredients in this pet food?’ or ‘Are the ingredients USDA inspected and approved human edible?’ (I’ve done this – numerous times – numerous locations.) You get a look like you are speaking a foreign language. They don’t know much about the products they sell. At best, they will regurgitate the marketing material provided by the pet food company.
But walk into most independent pet food stores (not all, but most) and ask the same questions. You’ll get answers. If they don’t already know the answer to your question, they will pick up the phone and speak to someone who will. They will get you the answers. In many cases independent pet food stores have gone through a long check list of information they require from the pet food manufacturer before that product even sits on their shelf.
Dogswell and other foods owned by Whitebridge are feed grade pet foods – they are feed, they are not food. It is unknown if the Pet Won pet treats will be human grade, but we can safely assume they will not be. We can assume this will be more feed grade treats.
My opinion is that we (consumers) need to support the people that are doing things right. We need growth of independent pet food stores that have a deep knowledge of every single product they sell. We need growth of pet ‘food’ companies that are actually selling food – not feed. We need growth of pet ‘food’ companies that source meats from humanely raised animals – not factory farmed animals that eat recycled waste. These companies doing things right can only see growth if we support them. If we want to see the pet food industry move in the right direction – it happens with us supporting the people doing it right.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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