Eco Shell Inc. has completed an agreement with Blue Buffalo Company, Ltd. to assume the rights to market Naturally Fresh Cat Litter.
Eco Shell first developed the patented formula and manufacturing process for Naturally Fresh Cat Litter in 2010. Since 2012, the company has manufactured Naturally Fresh Cat Litter while Blue Buffalo Company has marketed the premium all-natural litter.
The two companies initially partnered after meeting one another at 2010’s Global Pet Expo.
“The product quality and all-natural properties fit nicely within their cat and dog food positioning, and we agreed to produce our now patented product exclusively for Blue Buffalo,” explained Helen Cantrell, Eco Shell director of Marketing & Sales. “Blue then took it to market in 2011. Eco-Shell did not sell the patents or rights to Blue Buffalo, but the marketing relationship was very beneficial as they re-branded the product as Blue Naturally Fresh, expanded the line, and built a consumer following.”
According to Cantrell, Blue Buffalo decided in October 2017 to exit the cat litter category “in order to be laser-focused on their base business of dog and cat food.”
“Blue Buffalo has stated that it was not an easy decision as Naturally Fresh is an outstanding product which addresses the growing trend of naturally based pet products,” she said. “The litter category and distribution channel are much different than that of food. Blue Buffalo has simply transferred the Naturally Fresh brand name to Eco-Shell, and the company has been very helpful with transitioning the advertising and trade programs.
“We are excited to take over the Naturally Fresh brand,” Cantrell said. “Blue Buffalo has been a great partner in building a consumer following. We look forward to continuing our focus on growing the brand in the pet specialty market while maintaining a high level of quality and customer service.”
Because Naturally Fresh litter has always been manufactured by Eco Shell, the formulas will not change, but there will be a fresh new look.
“Of course, we will continue to look for product improvements and innovation along the way. With the exception of removing the Blue Buffalo logo, the packaging and claims will not change,” Cantrell said. “We are making the transition as clean and simple as possible for our consumers. Eco-Shell will remain focused on the cat litter category and committed to the specialty pet channels.”
Naturally Fresh is made with a proprietary blend of the fibrous materials found only in walnut shells (grown in the USA) that neutralize odor. It is dust free and low tracking. As well as biodegradable and ecofriendly.
In a communication to retail partners and distributors, Blue Buffalo stated, “This was not an easy decision. Naturally Fresh is an outstanding product, and one that addresses the growing trend of naturally based pet products. In the end, Blue Buffalo remains laser focused on being the leading brand in pet food, and we must continue to dedicate our resources to meet this goal.”
The Pet Firm, an Acosta company in Phoenix, Arizona, had been appointed as Eco Shell’s national sales partner to the pet industry.
“The Pet Firm has extensive sales, marketing, merchandising and forecasting resources directed solely to the pet specialty channel,” Cantrell said. “They work closely with headquarter buyers, and they have regional and local merchandising staffs. As part of the Acosta organization, they can bring in additional personal for in-store demos and other merchandising events as needed. With almost nine decades of combined experience in pet, The Pet Firm has the best credentials to support our product line.”