Pet Age’s Tom Mazorlig spoke with Healthy Pet’s vice president of sales and marketing, Samuel Cohen, about the company’s transition following an acquisition by J. Rettenmaier and Söhne and the importance of sustainability and green ideals to the brand.
Tom Mazorlig: How did Healthy Pet get its start?
Samuel Cohen: Healthy Pet, founded as Absorption Corp more than 25 years ago, manufactures Carefresh, Critter Care, Puppy Go Potty, Simply Pine, and ökocat lines of wood- and paper-based natural cat litters.
The transition to Healthy Pet has been a positive experience for the company. Ensuring a successful re-branding meant carte blanche strategic planning and tactical plans to map out steps we need to take to be an innovation leader with our history of sustainable products.
Since the acquisition by J. Rettenmaier and Söhne, we have focused our efforts as a pet products company and articulated a vision of what that means. The key components of active, happy and natural, all of which are embedded in our new logo, energizes our team to keep our eye on a higher goal: the pursuit of professional excellence.
We have also adopted a consumer packaged goods (CPG) business model for our company. We are focusing our efforts on delighting consumers, driving our brands with innovation and advertising, and working more collaboratively and analytically with our customers.
Customers have almost universally embraced the direction Healthy Pet has taken. They are seeing a company that is clear in its vision and strategy and a supplier that is prepared to grow.
J. Rettenmaier and Söhne brings a new depth to sustainability and generational planning, which allows us to pick initiatives with confidence that the resources requisite for success are at hand.
Tom: What sets the ökocat line apart from other cat litters?
Samuel: More than anything else, ökocat offers performance naturally. We invested a great deal of time and resources to research and truly understanding cats’ needs and instinctual behaviors while anlayzing what cat parents look for. The result is a growing line of ökocat litters that deliver a natural solution to what cat parents care most about: longer odor control, greater absorbency, a softer step and better clumping. ökocat litters also give clay users more reasons to trade up to natural choice, offering antibacterial benefits that are new to this category.
Traditionally, consumers have been forced to choose from the retail shelf’s “sea of sameness,” with many products shouting out claims over one another. ökocat doesn’t shout out from the shelf—instead, it stands out with a clean, modern look and a fresh approach.
Tom: What is Healthy Pet’s most popular product? What makes it so successful?
Samuel: There is no doubt that Healthy Pet’s aggressive growth in the natural cat litter category with ökocat has created a lot of buzz in the industry, but the brand that the company has probably been best known for its Carefresh paper-based small animal bedding. Healthy Pet’s new Carefresh Custom line contains pieces of paper that vary in size and are specially designed for different species.
The company’s focus on sustainable, high performance products for small animals and solutions for the care that they deserve demonstrate its commitment to a category that does not always get the same level of attention as higher-profile dog and cat products.
Tom: What initiatives does Healthy Pet have in place to be more environmentally friendly?
Samuel: Sustainability is a core value for our organization. Long before “going green” was a big deal, our company was founded specifically to create products from reclaimed fibers. Moreover, our parent company has a long-term focus on sustainability that comes directly from the ownership and from an unwavering history of this commitment.
We feel that Healthy Pet truly and fully embodies the idea of sustainability, both economically and ecologically. Our production facilities are located in the Pacific Northwest and the Southeast. Both sit in areas with large supplies of natural fiber and are along major transportation arteries near the large coastal populations. This means that our source material travels only a very short distance. Our products are not only made from sustainable materials, but the physical structure of our organization allows them to be made with an excellent cost structure and with reduced environmental impact.
Tom: What’s in the future for Healthy Pet? Can you tell me about any new products Healthy Pet has coming?
Samuel: Healthy Pet continues to dedicate time and research focusing on cat and small animal products and trends in providing a high level of care for pets and the people that love them. Our company’s focus remains on innovation and commitment to sustainable, high performance products and solutions for the care that they deserve.