We recently sat down with David Caras, senior vice president of sales at Darford, to talk about the company’s philosophy and outlook.
Q: Tell us a little about Darford.
Caras: Since 1987, dog lovers have trusted Darford to provide tail-wagging goodness in treats for dogs of all shapes and size with discriminating tastes. Darford treats are baked in our own ovens using natural ingredients carefully selected from suppliers in the United States and Canada; all of our ingredients are sourced in North America.
We have passionate, dedicated Darford team members in Vernon, British Columbia, home of our corporate offices and one of our baking and packaging facilities, and in Milan, Mo., our U.S. facility, which opened in 2013. Both of our manufacturing facilities are certified organic, with quality being our number one priority. Baking premium, all natural, highly palatable dog treats is what we are all about.
We are constantly striving to improve our products and messaging, as well as create better ways for our distributor and retailer partners to merchandise Darford treats.
Q: What is a typical day like for you?
Caras: My main responsibility is managing sales in the United States and Canada, working closely with all of our key customers, our outside sales teams and customer support team. I am also involved in new product and packaging development, as well as marketing programs. I am not sure I truly have a typical day, but I can say that my days are always full and very exciting.
Q: The company’s core principles are passion, quality & trust. How does that factor into the products your company makes?
Caras: The pet industry is a passion-driven industry, and Darford has passionately been making pet treats for 27 years. However, passion is not enough, quality is paramount and is definitely number one on our priority list. All ingredients are tested by our in-house QC team as soon as they arrive at our facility. The treats are then tested after being manufactured and then tested again by an independent QC company before being released to our customers.
This is a long process and adds to our lead times; however quality is not something we will compromise. We believe this is why our customers and pet parents trust Darford, and have stood behind our brand since 1987.
Q: We know you likely can’t tell us specifics, but what are some of the new products you are working on?
Caras: We know 2014 will be an exciting year for Darford as we’ll be introducing several new products, new formulas, packaging improvements and display options at Global Pet Expo. Our top selling product families will include new shapes, new flavors and new sizes.
There will be something new added to all of our treat families; Mega Bones, Grain Free and Naturals; in packaged treats and bulk. I guess I can mention one of our new treats as they were launched in January: “Breakfast Bagels” in two sizes, small and medium, and in two flavors, Bacon & Cheese and Bacon N’ Eggs. There could very well be one or two more new product introductions later this year, possibly in late summer or early fall.
Q: What do you enjoy most about working at Darford?
Caras: What I like best about working at Darford is our company’s dedication to quality, and that we control our own destiny; we make our own products. If we want to change a shape or adjust a formula because we feel it will improve the quality or palatability, we can do that easily. We take a great pride in what we make, and have implemented the highest quality control standards. We make premium dog treats, making dogs happy all over the world–what could be better than that?