Q: How has your background in natural health influenced your role at Halo?
A: I’ve spent over 35 years working with and managing an array of major national food brands… working across a wide range of retail channels including specialty and natural food retailers such as Whole Foods Market and Sprouts to bring organic and “whole food” nutrition into the human diet. I’ve worked with family-owned, mission-driven companies in the vitamin/mineral/ supplement space (New Chapter of Vermont) and was a founder of one of the first holistic pet food brands in the U.S. (Pet Promise). Th is experience with the changing definition of “healthy” food and direct interaction with the agricultural community led to an epiphany that there exists a major opportunity (and need) to change the way farm animals are raised and companion animals are fed. Th is, in turn, became the impetus for my decision to re-enter the pet food industry in 2016 as CEO of Halo and has become the new stated mission of Halo, Purely for Pets Inc.
Q: Why is it important that Halo uses whole meats in its food?
A: Halo’s kibble pet foods uses WHOLE meat, never any “meat meal.” Independent research shows that whole meat is up to 95 percent digestible. Meat meals are significantly less digestible, as much as 30 percent less. This is because the whole meat Halo uses is naturally low in ash while meat meals can contain from 10 percent to as much as 20 percent ash. This whole meat difference in digestibility is important to a carnivorous mammal like a dog or cat because they have short intestinal tracts and need highly digestible protein. At Halo, we test our kibble pet food for digestibility and know that, literally, “The Proof is in the Poop.”
Q: How does Halo’s food rank in terms of digestibility, according to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO)?
A: AAFCO publishes feeding protocols, employing stool collection, for measuring the dietary metabolized energy content of dog and cat foods that have become the standards for nutrient digestibility. While digestibility measures are not often communicated to retailers or consumers, as a general rule of thumb, commercial dog foods with reported dry matter digestibility of 75 percent or less are of poor quality; those with values of 75 to 82 percent are moderate in quality, and foods with a dry matter digestibility of greater than 82 percent are considered high in quality. Tested Halo recipes score in the mid-80s.
Q: How do you view Halo’s partnership with independent pet retailers?
A: For over 30 years, Halo has been a brand strongly committed to the independent pet specialty channel. We are very conscious of and grateful for the vital role that independently owned pet specialty retailers play in educating pet parents, demanding more nutritionally superior pet foods, showcasing new categories of products to sell, and serving both customers and their local communities with unmatched support. Because Halo is a mission-driven, super premium brand that requires a high degree of personal education, we have a “most favored nation” policy as it relates to independent pet specialty and do not seek distribution in any conventional mass merchandiser retailers. Halo has created a comprehensive toolkit of merchandising assets for independent specialty retailers including demo programs, store coupons, samples, frequent feeder plans, co-op advertising, store associate training, brand merchandising signage and display vehicles, and local adoption partnerships.
Q: What kind of pets do you have and how have they impacted your life?
A: Our family has always shared our lives with companion animals. Our house has welcomed generations of dogs, cats, birds and fish. At present, we share our house with two pugnacious pugs (Lyla and Ivy) as well as a “stray” cat that is finally— after two years of coaxing—coming off the streets. Our companion animals have shown us that when we bring them into our lives with compassion and love, the joy and love that they provide, in kind, is unparalleled. They also reinforce how interconnected we all are… people, pets and planet. Th at inspires me to want to treat them—and all animals—with the care and unconditional love that they deserve. Th ey are what has led me to Halo and to our mission.