Balancing Health, Price and Consumer Demand
We recently sat down with Kirk Young, executive vice president of Precise Pet Products, to talk about his role at the company, and their new grain-free products.
Q: Tell us a little about Precise.
Young: Precise Pet Products was established by Texas Farm Products Company in 1992, at the start of the demand for “natural type” pet foods. Precise launched as one of the first to make natural claims. In addition to natural preservatives, Precise brought chelated minerals and Ester-C to pet food.
This family-owned and operated company has devoted itself to making high-integrity based decisions, which have resulted in some of the highest level and safest pet foods on the market. In 2008, Texas Farm Products brought me on board to accelerate the Precise brand by bringing new formulations, packaging and strategic guidance to propel the company forward while remaining dedicated to independent stores. We are at the precipice of completing that transition.
In 2010, we launched possibly the most advanced pet food brand on the market, Precise Holistic Complete, featuring human-grade ingredients. Ganeden BC30, a top-performing probiotic used in the Holistic Complete formula, is a probiotic I take daily. And now, with the coming relaunch of the original Precise as “Precise Naturals,” we will be updating, improving and strengthening the Precise brand even further.
Precise Pet Products will become Precise Pet Nutrition, reflecting our true business, which is nutrition. We research, we test, we make our foods with nutritionists and veterinarians, we are not investment bankers.
Q: Precise recently launched a new grain-free formula, why did the company decide to start this line?
Young: At Super Zoo 2013 this past July, we launched the start of our Precise Naturals line, with two new grain-free formulas. In 2012, we launched our Precise Holistic Complete grain-free formulas, with human-grade ingredients, after years spent researching, testing and ensuring we had the proper protein levels to avoid the growing problems associated with too much protein, as found in most grain-free products.
Our new Precise Naturals Grain Free line carries forward that same thinking, but with economics in mind.
Q: As executive vice president, what’s a typical day like for you?
Young: My excellent sales team is working every day to spread the word about Precise, bringing our story to the market and educating the public on pet food nutrition. My work is dedicated to listening to their needs and working with them to bring forth the products, promotions, and tools necessary to help them do their job well.
In addition, strategizing consumes a lot of my day because our industry is changing “hyper-rapidly,” not just fast. We must think forward, anticipate trends and hopefully react in time to meet the quickly changing needs of the marketplace. Consumers have become more and more fickle about what they want. Changes are happening rapidly and it is growing more and more difficult to react.
I might also add, sometimes when a food is simply just right, as in the case of our Foundation and Sensicare formulas, you simply do not change it. So thinking clearly, not over-reacting, is part of the process as well.
Q: All of your dry food is made in-house and goes through a series of checks and balances. Tell us about that process.
Young: This would be better answered by Mike Compton, our vice president of quality assurance and nutrition. But in short, having our extensive on-site lab allows for us to conduct multiple point testing of in-bound ingredients, process testing and post-formulation testing. Looking at the numerous recalls over the years, the Precise team has done well and we have been quite fortunate.
Q: What are some of the community-related programs Precise sponsors?
Young: Precise sponsors numerous community-related programs across every market. My team has authorization for direct decision making to work local community events as deemed relevant, to grow the interest in pet ownership and proper care. From rescue and adoption programs to working with service animals and military dogs, it crosses all spectrums.