March 31, 2015

So whether treats and chews are an impulse buy at the register or the reason the customer walked into the store in the first place, they are great perennial business and manufacturers are simply making the decision process more complex for consumers by adding a growing number of skus to the line-up on a continuing basis.

Increasing Variety

Merrick Pet Care taps into the anthropomorphic concept that our dogs love variety in texture and flavor by promoting four very distinct treat lines. Their Kitchen Bites are oven-baked biscuits made with deboned meat as the first ingredient and inspired by their classic canned food flavors.

Power Bites are soft and chewy treats made without sorbic acid. The Jerky Chip Treats are the doggie equivalent of the human chocolate chip cookies  and are available in chicken, beef, lamb and salmon. Finally, Merrick’s Dental Chews are a functional line that come in five different shapes including the classic Flossie and Texas Toothpick. Their selling feature is that they do not contain unnatural sodium copper chlorophylin.
New from Loving Pets is a line called Waggles, which are made from 100 percent natural U.S. grown chicken skins.

“They are being marketed to offer dogs a satisfyingly chewy treat with serious flavor,” said spokesperson Erin Terjesen. “They are also wheat-free and gluten-free to cater to allergy-prone dogs,” she said.

According to Tanya Tavares, marketing manager for Kennelmaster Foods, their line called Doggie Chicken Chips is the first of many flavors the company has in the pipeline.

“Sampling the chips is the best possible marketing tool,” said Tavares. “So often customers start off purchasing our small 4 oz. bag and then once it has both canine (and feline) approval, they continue to shop by purchasing the larger size.”

All-Natural, Low-Cal Treats

“The Jerky Medallions and Jerky Strips are free of hormones, antibiotics, grain-free, pesticides, preservatives and contain no artificial flavors,” said Stephanie Boone, the company’s CEO and founder. “We recognized a need to develop treats that are not only healthy but will support a holistic and safe approach to pet care,” said Boone, adding, “They have a shelf life of three weeks.”

The Jerky Medallions are available in chicken with carrots and sea salt and in rabbit with carrots and sea salt and the Jerky Strips are available in chicken breast with sea salt.

Skinny Bakes, Zuke’s original line contained 10 calories per treat. Now, their new treat line, namely the Skinny Bakes 5’s that debuted at the Global Pet Expo last month, are being marketed to highlight that they contain even fewer calories per crunchy treat.

“We believe that there is an opportunity in the marketplace for low-calorie treats that deliver both great taste and nutritional benefits,” said Chris Meiering, director of marketing for the Colorado-based company. “Our new Skinny Bakes 5’s fit the bill with delicious, whole food ingredients that weigh in at five calories each.”

The flavors are peanut butter and blueberries, peanut butter and apples and peanut butter and cranberries.

Fetch…for pets! recently entered into a licensing agreement with Small Dog Wonders Bakery LLC for their Bistro Bites, an all-natural dog treat.

“Bistro Bites adds significant value to our current treats and chews portfolio,” said Steve Shweky, whom company management refers to as the Top Dog. “The plan is to bring this high quality line to a wider audience.”

According to Paula Savarese, president of Dogs Love Kale based in Naples, Fla., her company has just added two new flavors to their product line namely a sweet potato and chickpea and a tropical delight which contains coconut and bananas.

“Our main ingredients are rice flour, kale, whole oats and flaxseed,” said Savarese. “Kale is a super antioxidant that contains essential vitamins including beta carotene, calcium, vitamin K, vitamin C, and lutein, that collectively make a dog’s coat softer and shinier. Flaxseed also provides fiber in a dog’s diet.

“The best way for retailers to educate consumers about such products is by keeping an open bag and handing out samples.We offer our retailers year-round discount as an incentive to promote the line,” she said.

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