Last week Waitrose announced that it was launching a brand new pet food brand. A decade ago this wouldn’t be a newsworthy event, but the present day pet food market is so lucrative that it deserves some analysis.
So what does Waitrose’s effort look like? Firstly, it’s called Mill Stream Farm and it’s positioning itself at the premium end of the market. The packaging wouldn’t look out of place in Waitrose’s Meal for Two section (for human consumption) and it comes in a salmon variety. Repeat that name to yourself once more – Mill Stream Farm.
Why is pet food looking more and more like something pet owners are more likely to eat themselves over their fluffy friends? The reason is simple – pet owners buy the food, not the pets. It’s a similar story with babies, where food and toy brands for young ones understandably target parents as they’ll be the ones getting out their wallets. But this is, of course, no surprise. What is a surprise is how pet food brands are increasingly pushing their “natural” angle.
Pet owners now wouldn’t give their pets food that they wouldn’t want to eat themselves, and this is reflected in homely brand names, added herbs and spices, and pet food that would simply be fit for the dinner table as opposed to a bowl.
Here are some great examples of some gourmet pet food brands on the market today and some insight on their branding:
This concoction from Freshpet comes packaged in sausage-meat style form. Carrots and peas are prominent on the packaging – a staple of any post 2000s dog’s diet. Promo images for Freshpet also show the food nicely diced up and in a regular looking bowl, making the meat look like something to be eaten with a knife and fork as opposed to being licked off the kitchen floor. It also stresses that the chicken used in the recipe is tender, making it sound more appealing than most university students’ dinners.
Nutro is one of many dog food brands that push a natural and additive-free angle. They claim that their customers want to know what goes into their pets’ food and as a consequence the company is transparent about its suppliers. Nutro is reminiscent of the popular “Free From” options seen in supermarkets today and shows how pet owners are truly beginning to care about the quality of their pets’ food as much as their own.
At The Nutro Company, we believe that quality natural ingredients make the best natural dog foods.
Nature’s Recipe is another brand that stresses the quality of its ingredients. The “Every Ingredient Counts” mantra is plastered over its packaging and the food isn’t just made, but instead “crafted”.
At Nature’s Recipe, we are committed to providing nutritionally vibrant recipes for every pet every day. Your pet gets good nutrition for a healthy, happy life, and you get the loving joy of a lick or purr for years to come.
Organic pet food would have seemed ludicrous 20 years ago, but it’s now a very popular option. The emergence of gourmet, natural and organic brands is perfectly encapsulated by a statement on Organix’s website:
As natural & organic ingredients became more available, Brian and Shelley saw an opportunity to make high quality, healthy food for dogs and cats. As pet parents, they understood how people truly consider their dogs and cats to be members of their family—and are always seeking better quality products for their pets.
As a parting gift, here’s a brilliant cat food ad from Butcher’s Pet Food. It all takes place on an actual street outside an actual butchers – honest!