Pet Age recently spoke with Bridget Richlen, director of sales and marketing for Exclusively Pet, Inc., to find out the latest news on the Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based company, which has been committed to producing quality dog treats since 1992.
Q What can you tell us about the new treat line that Exclusively Pet plans to unveil at SuperZoo?
A We will be showing our new Flavors of America collection at SuperZoo. The inspiration for this collection is the iconic regional foods enjoyed across the entire United States of America. We wanted to take foodie culture and share it with our best friends. The first two flavors in the line are NY Style Pizza Flavor Dog Treats (sorry, Chicago!) and Tex-Mex Chicken Taco Flavor Dog Treats. The treats are sourced and made in the USA and like all of our treats, are also made with natural ingredients. You would not believe how much these smell like pizza and tacos! These wheat/corn/soy-free treats have lean chicken as the first ingredient, and the true-to-life aroma and flavor come from beneficial herbs like oregano and cumin. We’ll be celebrating the launch at SuperZoo (booth 2359) by handing out pizza cutters. Stop by and grab one and let us know what flavor we should offer next!
Q Why is it important that there is a human element to the treats that your company offers?
A Exclusively Dog Cookies is our heritage brand and began as an opportunity to provide treats to dogs that we, as people, identified as familiar. We understand that after a long day, sometimes you just need a cookie and you want to be able to share that with your pup! Our Exclusively Dog line continues that spirit by offering treats that come in fun and seasonal flavors of things humans like to eat (like meatloaf or strawberry-banana yogurt), while also upholding our desire for treats that promote health and wellness. Healthy doesn’t have to be boring! Ultimately, we recognize that there’s a real bond built when we treat our dogs and we want that moment to be special and fun for both of us.
Q What does Exclusively Pet do to support independent retailers?
A One of the best ways we can help is to increase trial of our products. We do this in a couple of ways. First is the product guarantee on all of our treats. We want to remove any hesitation a consumer might have about purchasing a bag of treats. Like us, dogs have taste buds, so if Buster won’t eat our Chicken Flavor Best Buddy Bits, we’ll happily provide a different treat or refund your money. Secondly, we always have several varieties of our treats available in free sample packs. This is a great way for customers to try before they buy. We love to give these samples to retailers (and other industry organizations) for store openings, “barktoberfests,” yappy hours and more!
Q What kind of program does Exclusively Pet have in place regarding MAP pricing?
A We have been focusing more effort on monitoring and enforcing our MAP policy. We want to promote fair competition across all of our customers, both large and small, and we want to maintain a strong brand value. In order to do this, we realized we have to have a third party track the online marketplace for us and ensure we are seeing the full picture. We have contracted with an online price monitoring tool that gathers data consistently and frequently and notifies us of violations. We have seen a reduction of our violations and an incremental increase in our treats’ online price. We are requesting all new customers sign our MAP policy, and we are working with existing customers on communication of the policy. It is a continual effort to monitor and enforce the policy, but it’s an effort we gladly manage as we know it will lead to better success for all partners.