Natural chews are a mainstay when it comes to dog treats. Pet Age recently spoke with Andrea Blades, chief marketing and digital officer at TDBBS, to learn more about the company’s philosophy for its Barkworthies brand of chews.
What is driving new product development in the natural chew category?
A. This is an interesting question. In my opinion, it is the consumer – in this case the dog and the dog parent- driving innovation in this category. They want their dogs to be happy and live long high-quality lives and they recognize that the choices they make about chews and treats can have an impact on quality of life. Because of this, pet parents are becoming savvier, they are reading labels and they are paying attention to Many of the same trends that you see for humans are emerging for dogs, such as allergen-friendly or allergen-free, gluten-free and being a source of collagen and glucosamine.
Why is Barkworthies committed to collagen dog chews?
A. Barkworthies is committed to supporting the health and vitality of our dogs at every life stage and maintaining the highest level of quality and safety for our chews and treats. Most of our chews are single ingredient and therefore naturally gluten free, allergen free and chock full of tasty goodness.
Collagen is a unique ingredient, and we seek to provide the highest quality collagen chews available on the market. Our Daily Health Boost Collagen line is 95 percent collagen. This standard ensures the greatest benefits collagen delivers including promoting dental, coat, skin and nail health, joint, mobility, healthy digestion and more. We were first to market with collagen as a healthy, long chewing alternative to rawhide, which cannot be digested by dogs. Collagen is also an effective alternative to bully sticks, which face supply constraints. We continue to expand our collagen product lines. Our Backyard Barkers Burgers just won the Dog Treat of the Year from Pet Independent Innovation Award and collagen is a key ingredient.
How can independent pet retailers create the best shopping experience for their customers?
A. The most successful independent pet retailers we work with are constantly evolving the store shopping experience around their customers’ needs. They then curate their product assortment to provide high quality and high value products from brands that they can trust. These retailers are also actively listening to and learning from their customers to improve that experience. As a brand, we are extremely customer focused and routinely review and analyze ratings, reviews and customer feedback. These inputs are an integral part of our product development process. This creates an important feedback loop between the consumer, the retailer and the brand which will ensure that the natural chew category continues to innovate.
We also believe it is our responsibility to be a good partner and that means being willing to listen, learn and respond. We also support our retail partners to provide education and training from us to help their store associates be consultative and helpful with providing solutions for pet parents. If a pet parent feels like the retailer is a useful resource, that customer will keep coming back and that is good for us all.
How does your brand help retailers build trust with pet parents?
A. We find that our passion and conviction in our products’ quality are irreplaceable in building trust with dog parent There are no shortcuts in building trust. For Barkworthies, it’s an entire team mandate, which is why we strive for our Excellent SQF certification level in our facility in Richmond, Virginia. We independently lab test our chews before they ever reach our factory floor. Our dog-loving team hand inspects and packages every chew. Our supply team demands fair trade, sustainable and humane practices as we source our proteins. We also do palatability and digestibility testing our compliance and brand teams work within AAFCO standards to assure transparency and accuracy on our packaging. Confidence in quality is most critical for building trust with the pet parent. If we succeed there, we’ve done our job.